You’ve chosen your cruise, now it’s time to find the best cabin to suit your needs. With such choice on offer, where do you begin?

Cabins on P&O Oceana

Choosing the right cabin, or stateroom as they’re commonly called, is a tricky business, especially if you’re new to cruising and are  suddenly faced with over 1,000 cabins in up to 20 different categories.

  • How much space will you need?
  • Is a balcony important, or will a window or porthole do?
  • Should you opt for the lower decks where the movement of the ship makes itself felt a little less, or the prestigious upper decks?
  • Is a cabin mid-ship a good option compared to the front (bow) or those at the back (stern), which may have a little vibration?

Keep in mind that cabins can be split into four main categories: Inside cabin, Outside cabin, Balcony cabin and Suite

Which cabin is right for me?

If you’re looking to keep costs down and won’t be spending much time in your room, then perhaps an inside cabin fits the bill.

If you’d rather have your own retreat and somewhere to watch the sun set in total peace and privacy, then a balcony cabin is a must.

Remember, aft cabins often have deeper balconies and a romantic view of the wake.

For longer cruises, or family cruises, perhaps interconnecting rooms, creating a spacious suite is more ideal.

And you can go as luxurious as you like, from penthouse to owner’s suites with spacious sitting areas, even the services of a private butler.

Inside Cabin – Best cruise cabin for those on a budget

Termed ‘inside’ because there’s no window, this is the most basic level of cabin, and as such, the smallest and cheapest. However, compromising on space and view does not mean compromising on facilities. It is also a good option for those cruising to Northern Europe in June, when the sun doesn’t set, and a balcony cabin never gets properly dark. If you really can’t bear the thought of not having a window, take a look at Royal Caribbean’s Promenade Staterooms, which are inside cabins with windows overlooking the Royal Arcade.

Expect an oversize single, double or twin beds, airconditioning, TV, radio, hairdryer, storage and seating, and the bathroom has a shower.

For a more luxurious option try Azamara’s Club Interior Staterooms which come with complimentary butler service,

daily fruit basket and Elemis bathroom products. Or, in 2011, Oceania will launch Marina, which boasts 174sq ft Inside Staterooms with marble and granite bathrooms, mini bar, complimentary 24-hour rooms service and flat-screen TV.

Price-wise for an inside cabin you’re looking at £500 for a week-long cruise in the Mediterranean.

Next step up: Go for an Outside Cabin.

They are usually of a similar size and layout but you have a proper window – normally a large picture wndow – although this can’t be opened.

This will usually add five to 10 per cent to the cost of your cruise.

Balcony Cabins – Best cruise cabin for a private retreat

Once you’ve had a balcony cabin you’ll never go back.

Balcony Cabins are hugely popular and as a result many of the sixstar cruise companies such as Silversea now boast 80 per cent of accommodation complemented with furnished, private teak verandas.

Balcony Cabins are large enough for two chairs and a small table and  inside you’ll find a queen-sized or twin beds and reasonably sized seating area. You’ll receive all the same appliances as in an inside cabin but depending on the cruise company you’ll often receive added extras such as oversized bath towels, canapés each evening or the services of a concierge who will book shore excursions and make reservations in the ship’s restaurant.

The price really does depend on the location of the balcony (midship, upper deck positions being the most expensive) and its size but expect to pay 20 to 35 per cent more than for a standard outside.

Next step up: try a Spa Cabin

Those in need of some extra pampering will want to explore this option, available on cruise lines such as Carnival, Celebrity and Costa.

Here you’ve got free access to the thermal suite (an area of saunas and steam rooms) and, depending on the cruise line, treatments thrown in too.

Suites: Best cruise cabin for Families or Groups

As cruise holidays become more popular with families and groups of friends, staterooms that sleep four, or possibly, five with bunk beds or single beds for children are increasingly in demand. Booking interconnecting cabins is another good option, or, if you want to push the boat out, why not treat yourselves to a two- or three-bedroomed suite?

Luxury cruise lines, such as Yachts of Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, are all-suite ships. As well as separate sleeping and living areas you’re also guaranteed a bigger balcony and fancier bathroom with a bath as well as a shower. Crystal Cruises Crystal Penthouse with Verandah includes a Jacuzzi bath with an ocean view.

From a queen-size bed and small lounge area, to a king-size bed and room for a writing desk, right up to the opulence of an Owner’s or Master Suite, which include the latest in hi-tech gadgets, private bar, gym and vast verandahs with hot tubs.

Lavish extras such as transport to and from your cruise, priority check-in and boarding, butler service, luxury toiletries and bathrobes are all included but be prepared to pay for the privilege.

At the ‘lower’ end you’re looking at around £1,000 for a suite, right up to £20,000 for a two bedroom, split-level stateroom.