Size – A big ship has lots of activities, smaller vessels are quieter and more intimate. The biggest cruise ship in the world is RCI’s Oasis of the Seas, which holds 5,400 passengers. At the the other end of the scales there’s Hebridean Island Cruises’ Hebridean Princess with room for just 49 people.
Cabins – Lower cabins at the centre of the ship are most stable. Conversely, the most sought-after rooms are those with balconies higher up the ship. If mal e mer is not a problem, cabins at the back are often a good choice as they tend to be bigger, with large balconies.
Noise – Cabins near lifts are handy but can be noisy especially on a big ship. Likewise, having a cabin just below the buffet, usually at the back of the ship, can be hell if you are trying to have a lie-in
Dining – Traditional fixed dining is where you are allocated a time, table and seating companions for the duration of the cruise. Open dining allows you to eat when you want and with whom you want. Most cruise lines offer both options, but some are less flexible over dining times than others, so do ask.
Dress Codes – Most cruise lines have a coupe of formal nights per seven-night cruises, when dinner jackets and cocktail dresses are expected. A few allow smart casual all the time. Your travel agent will be able to advice you.