How to Choose the Best Cruise Cabin for Your Family

comfortable bed in boat cabin during cruise
Photo by Lachlan Ross on

Before we decided to cruise, with four kids, I did a ton of research on a variety of topics. One of the biggest items that kept popping up was not to choose a “bad” room. Don’t get the noisy one, or the one near the elevator, or the one over the casino, and stay near the middle of the ship if you worry about sea sickness. There were so many suggestions that I kept wondering if there were any good rooms for our family of six that were also affordable.

Most cruise ships have a maximum capacity per room of four people, even in suites. Every now and then a five or six person room pops up but unless you book far in advance the options for large families can be slim. Once you surpass five people in your family choosing the right room or rooms can be much more difficult.

We took the chance on two side by side rooms, in the lower middle of the ship, that did not connect, and were right next to the elevators. Here is what we learned:

A “noisy” room near propellers at the bottom of the ship- Well that’s what the other blogs said. This made NO difference at all for us. We brought the noise machine for white noise at night anyway. We found that the room was not loud at all. I mean we are used to complete chaos on a daily basis anyway. So don’t count out the room because people say it’s noisy.

A “noisy” room near the elevator- This also made NO difference. We were on the second level and traffic at the elevator was not bad. People don’t really go back to their rooms a ton and when they did they were not thrashing around. Maybe we were the loud ones? It was actually great to be near the elevator because there were times when we left things in the room, and it was easy to get back quickly.

The ocean view room- This was perfect for us. I did not have to be nervous about the kids being on a balcony. They couldn’t climb on a table to “see” the water or act like they were on the Titanic but they could still see outside the room. They could watch us coming into the ports and look for sharks in the open water. It made for some really great pictures!

child in cruise window

Separate rooms that did not connect- This actually made things slightly difficult. The doors on cruise ships are heavy and the kids wanted to go between rooms. We worried a lot about losing a finger. We kept the dead bolts open and the rooms were right beside each other but having rooms that connect is a must on our next cruise. It was great to have two rooms though. That meant two bathrooms and extra space, which was much needed!

Rooms that are near dining- This was probably the BEST location we could have chosen. The elevators on the ship get busy when it is time to eat and you can end up waiting for a LONG time or taking MANY flights of stairs. Our room was on the 2nd floor and we only had to go up one flight of stairs to be in the dining room for breakfast or lunch. There were many times we “forgot” something in the room and someone had to run back so overall, being near the dining area is a win!

Rooms with pullman beds- Pullman beds are beds that pull down from the ceiling and create a “bunk”. We ended up liking the fact that we had these. The sofa in the room was NOT comfortable and nobody wanted to sleep on it. The kids also wanted their own bed and space. We WERE on vacation after all. With the pullman, we could just pull it down at night and allow the older kids to sleep on them. It was a cool experience for them. We did put them up during the day to save space and so that the little ones didn’t decide to play Superman. They do not have large railings to prevent falling.

child on pullman bed in cruise ship room

Choosing the room(s) can be one of the most difficult parts of planning to cruise with kids and I agree, it’s important! In the end, think about what is important to YOUR family. Maybe it’s sleep, dining, or being near the fun. Whatever it is, keep those things in mind when you book your room(s). Most of all, take what you read as a grain of salt. Our rooms were supposedly on the “bad” list but turned out to be a great choice for our family.

Also, check out my posts on how to cruise without using the kid programs and great tips to help you cruise with kids.

-Kristy M., The Mommy to Many

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