Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Balcony Is You Best Cabin Value

There is an illusion out there that at Texas Cruise and Travel we are all
about and only about cruises. Truth is we do know a lot about cruising but it is not all we are about. Just so you know, we are also all about all-inclusive vacations as well. We are Texas Cruise and Travel because we intended to use the initials for our name in all our promotion but someone beat us to the TC&T and besides it sounds like a railroad. However, just to be clear our business is pretty evenly split between cruises and all-inclusive vacations.

Today I want to talk cruises . . . not just cruises in general but cabin choices. Now, right from the start let me say I have never had a bad experience on a cruise because of my cabin selection. Whether and inside cabin or a suite any cruise I get to experience is a good cruise.  

The choice of cabin is largely determined by what one expects in general from the particular cruise they are taking.  There are some people who on certain cruises should select an inside cabin. These are usually the least expensive cabins on the ship and provided the same basic creature comfort  Inside cabins are generally for single people who plan to do little more than bath and sleep in their cabin. It is for people who are on the ship more for the activities than the amenities. You get the basics in human comforts as you get in a suite. You get a room with a door that locks; a bed; a shower and toilet; a television; a small safe; and a few other creature comforts. Also, when you shut the door and turn out the light it is like sleeping in Carlsbad Caverns without the lights on . . . it is dark than a thousand midnights. So, if you don’t like it that dark, leave the light on in the toilet.

At the other end of the spectrum is the suite. These are large spacious cabins with large verandas. They usually have a mini-bar . . . not the little refrigerator with a few drinks and nuts in it but a full fledged bar with a sink, wine glasses etc. The toilet is separate from the shower/tub and the tub often doubles as a Jacuzzi.  There is room for entertaining without the feeling of being in a sardine can. It is far more than a place to bathe, shave and slumber (sleep it off?). It is your private refuge where you relax and rejuvenate.

 So, you don’t want that cramped inside bungalow and you’re not ready to drop a dime on that luxury suite . . . what to do. Do what I do . . . get a balcony cabin. Now it used to be that a balcony was twice the price of an ocean view cabin (An ocean view cabin is generally speaking an inside cabin along the hull of the ship with a window). By the way, these are a good alternative to an inside cabin for people short on cash and long on claustrophobia.  These days a window will cost you about a hundred dollars per person more than the inside cabin.

In my book the best buy on any cruise ship is the balcony (Veranda) cabin. It’s going to cost you about $15 per person per day more than the ocean view cabin (roughly $100 pp on a seven night cruise) but it’s going to give you everything you get in the inside cabin and about half what you get in a suite. What I am trying to say is that cost really should not be an issue in choosing a balcony cabin instead of one of the lower category cabins (inside or ocean view). Now if those best meet your other needs go for it but I’m here to tell you that a balcony cabin is your best cruise buy.

I cannot think of a seven days or longer cruise where a balcony isn’t the best choice (value). Trust me, the longer the cruise the more cramped that inside/ocean view cabin will become. You will discover, because of the balcony, you will spend more time in your cabin than you expected. Again, the longer the cruise the more you’ll find yourself enjoying that balcony.

It really doesn’t matter where you are going on your cruise a balcony is a good choice. However, it is an especially good choice if you are sailing where there is scenery. If you're sailing in the Mediterranean or any particularly scenic destination, the view is definitely worth the money. Even on an Alaskan cruise it's so refreshing to sit on your very own balcony watching the glaciers. Sitting on your very own balcony beats the fire out of standing on the rail of the Lido deck.  We often enjoy having breakfast on our balcony as the scenery passes. There is even something about having coffee on the balcony in the fresh sea air on sea days when land is out of sight.

 So take my advice, if you can make it work on your next cruise choose a balcony cabin. You’ll be glad you did.

Let me make a suggestion here that is totally aside from choosing a balcony on a cruise ship. If you are already a balcony or suite person when it comes to cruising and if you really enjoy watching the scenery go by let me suggest that you consider a river cruise. There are paddle-wheeler cruises all over America (especially the Mississippi River system) and in a couple of years Viking River Cruises will be offering a European style river cruise on the Mississippi. 

Many ocean cruisers never come back to the big ships after they do a river cruise . . . just warning you . . . River Cruising is addictive.