Differences between Cruise Suites and Balcony Cabins

Cruise Suites and Balcony Cabins: There are undoubtedly more possibilities than you can ever consider while looking for a cruise. Though the room combinations on modern cruise ships seem unlimited, they can be divided into four primary categories: interior, balcony, oceanview, and suite.

Differentiating between a balcony cabin and an inner room is not too difficult to do. But there’s a difference between a balcony room and a suite that can be confusing. Both rooms are designed to be the best on the ship and provide guests with an outdoor balcony.

What precisely are the distinctions between lodging in a balcony room and a suite, then? It can have a big impact. Below is a comparison of the two to help you get an idea.

Prepare for a Great Deal of Suite Variance

The first thing to be aware of is the huge range of variations in suite cabins. Some are somewhat larger balcony cabins. Others may be lavish, opulent staterooms that resemble penthouse apartments in upscale hotels rather than cruise cabins.

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This is something to consider while looking for a suite or balcony stateroom.

Suites provide more space

Suites have larger living areas, bedrooms, and even bathrooms than balcony cabins. Suite sizes, however, will differ greatly, ranging from enormous rooms to ones that are only marginally bigger than a regular room.
The fact that a suite cabin always offers greater space than a standard balcony room is one feature that sets it apart from the others. The suite you choose will determine how much extra space you get.

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Balcony cabins typically measure between 160 and 200 square feet, plus an extra 50 square feet for the outdoor area. Although it’s not much room, it’s more than sufficient for two people to feel at ease. Having a third or fourth person, like children, might make it feel quite crowded.

But suites begin there and continue far higher. There may be a large range. A junior suite, for example, could be about 300 square feet, while the largest suite on the ship (the exact amount would depend on the ship) could be thousands of square feet.

(Credit: Royal Caribbean Blog)

The stateroom’s square footage is mentioned when you’re shopping to assist you in selecting the right one.

Suites Come With Additional Amenities Comparing Rooms with Balconies

You typically get more than just a little larger or nicer accommodation when you reserve a suite. Generally speaking, guests staying in suites get additional privileges.

Benefits differ depending on the cruise line and room type. If you reserve the most opulent suite, you may anticipate a personal butler who will attend to all of your needs. Additional features that some rooms might offer include drink packages and/or free wi-fi. Priority reservations for restaurants and priority boarding are typical benefits. Additionally, your room typically has little extras like bathrobes and plusher mattresses that aren’t seen in standard cabins.

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Put another way, compared to other staterooms on the ship, the suite experience offers more. Check the facilities that come with a suite before making a reservation, and don’t forget to factor them in when comparing costs with a regular room.

Passengers in suites have access to designated areas.

Newer ships, like Celebrity’s The Retreat, include special accommodations for suite customers. Only travelers booking suite accommodations are permitted to utilize the sundecks, pools, and hot tubs in these areas.
Regardless of the cruise line, we advise booking a suite on a more recent ship if that is your preference. Along with the newest ships’ state-of-the-art accommodations and unique features, cruise lines are increasingly incorporating exclusive areas just for travelers staying in suites. You should take this significant benefit of staying in a suite into account.

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These spaces are designated as The Retreat on Celebrity Cruises, among other names. These are special spaces that guests staying in suites can only access. They frequently have a sundeck, a separate pool/bar area, and hot tubs that get less use than other areas of the ship.

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Additionally, some ships offer free snacks and drinks during the day in internal lounge areas for suite guests. Older ships might not have these kinds of amenities because this trend of having separate rooms is very recent.

Things to Know About Locations of Rooms

If a suite has a downside, it’s that there aren’t many places to choose from throughout the ship—aside from price, which we address below.

First off, there are significantly fewer suite staterooms. If you choose this accommodation type, your options for where to stay are significantly reduced. Do you like to hang out at one end of the ship or on the lower decks? You’ll probably have to make a locational concession.

The suites are typically located higher up on the ship, in a cluster, and are generally thought to be more attractive. However, these accommodations are typically not in the middle of things, if that’s your preference.

What distinctions exist between a suite and a balcony?

Cost: It should come as no surprise that a suite often costs several hundred to several thousand dollars more than a balcony cabin. For instance, a normal balcony cabin on a September Norwegian cruise to the Caribbean starts at $699, whereas a suite and a Haven suite start at $1,546 and $2,197, respectively.

Size: The fact that suites are larger than balcony cabins contributes to their higher price. Disney Dream, for instance, has balcony cabins that are 246 square feet in size (including the verandah area). The Royal Suite is 1,781 square feet, while a one-bedroom suite is 622 square feet.

2 587 feet is the total area of the Royal Loft Suite on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas (1,744 square feet indoors plus an 843 square foot veranda). On the same ship, a regular balcony is 232 square feet, consisting of an 182-square-foot cabin and a 50-square-foot veranda. A 476-square-foot grand suite with one bedroom is located in the center (371 inside, 105 outside).

While balcony cabins usually consist of one large room with a desk or vanity, closet, sitting area, and bed, some suites feature additional rooms, including a separate bedroom from the living room or even a second bedroom. Some may also feature a second bathroom.

Amenities: Both inside and outside cabins have the same amenities available to balcony cabins. The improved toiletries, bathrobes and slippers, in-cabin coffee or espresso maker, luxurious showerhead or whirlpool tub, and several televisions may vary depending on the cruise line, ship, and suite type. The greater the amenities, the more expensive suite you reserve.

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Benefits: This also applies to benefits. Balcony cabin occupants do not receive the VIP treatment that suite visitors do, with a variety of exclusive benefits and amenities. You might be able to enjoy priority boarding, disembarkation, and tendering; private dining spaces and lounges, with the possibility of pools and sun decks; and butler or concierge service, depending on the cruise company and type of suite.

It is also possible for your fare to include what other passengers pay on an a la carte basis. Free gratuities, Wi-Fi, speciality meals, drink packages, and room service are a few examples of these extras. While all the benefits are usually free for suite guests during promotions like Norwegian’s Free at Sea, balcony passengers might only be allowed to select a few items from the list.

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Is it worthwhile to get a suite when cruising?

When choosing between the suite and the balcony, there are a few things to take into account. While a balcony works very well for many cruisers, there are occasions when it makes sense to upgrade to a suite.

Consider the following questions for yourself:

Could I buy a suite? The most crucial factor when choosing whether to reserve a suite or a balcony cabin is your budget. The decision is yours if you are unable to pay for a suite. You might conclude that a suite isn’t worth it if paying the higher tickets for it means forgoing other fees. Examples of such expenses include those for those guitar lessons you’ve always wanted, exciting shore excursions in port, or a second vacation later that year.

Before making your choice, make sure to do the math and figure out how much the holiday will cost overall. Cruisers may discover that their a la carte purchases of an internet package, a beverages package, multiple meals at specialty restaurants, and a priority boarding package (such as Carnival’s Faster to the Fun) result in higher overall costs. Booking a suite could result in a lower fare difference and so save you money on your overall holiday expenses.

Is a suite necessary? You may just spend time in your cabin for getting dressed and going to bed if you’re a couple that spends their entire holiday sightseeing in ports and taking advantage of onboard activities. If you don’t intend to spend much time in your gorgeous, spacious suite, it’s hardly worth the reservation. Choosing the balcony cabin would be a wiser decision.

The same reasoning holds for an itinerary that has a lot of ports but no sea days. You won’t be able to enjoy your suite’s wonderful sitting space or veranda if you’re going to be off the ship all day every day. Spending money on a suite that you won’t use is a waste.

However, if you’re traveling with children and require additional room for them and their belongings, a suite—especially a family suite—might be useful. Booking at least one suite will allow large families or groups vacationing together to meet together for pre-dinner beverages and group hangouts. The additional space of a suite is necessary for hosting social butterflies who enjoy making friends while on board and inviting them back to their cabin for intimate cocktail parties.

You should use the answers to these questions to help you decide between booking a suite or a balcony cabin. In either case, you’ll have a private outside area for leisurely days by the sea and picturesque sails.

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