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So You'd Like A Balcony Stateroom, Would You?

World's Largest Cruise Ship Arrives In U.S. For First TimeOur previous post was about cruise-ship balconies. Something we didn't mention is that on cruise ships there are balconies…and there are balconies. Not one size fits all.

There are cove balconies, aft balconies, corner aft balconies, inward balconies, penthouse balconies…

The balcony staterooms most of us are accustomed to generally cost between $800 and $1,000 a week (per person), depending on the line, the ship and the time of year. There is, however, a whole world of options out there, some for less and most for more.

The cheapest (okay, least expensive) is the "cove balcony." It's built into the ship, on the lowest deck (usually Deck 2), and rumor has it you'll only find it on the Carnival Dream, Magic and Breeze. As a rule of thumb, you'll pay a little less than the higher regular balconies.

Available on most ships is the "aft balcony." It's at the back (duh, aft) and might cost $100 or so more than the regular balcony. This is not to be confused with the "corner aft" balcony, which has an L-shaped balcony and might more than double the cost of image014 copyyour cruise. And this is not to be confused with the "penthouse balcony." They're on the outside of large apartments that include extras like private hot tubs, private bars, extra beds and bathrooms and and a pricey tag that mitt be like taking 10 cruises in a normal balcony stateroom.

And if you're not hung up on seeing the sea and inhaling the fresh air, "inward balconies" that overlook the heart of the ship will save you a few dollars…usually on Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships.

As you might expect, each type has its fans and its detractors.

Well, okay, maybe not the penthouses…

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Riding the river from Budapest to Amsterdam

Celebrity Constellation
12 nights
July 20, 2014
Amsterdam (return): BerlinTallinnSt. PetersburgHelsinkiStockholmCopenhagen
Oceanview: $1,499
Cost per day: $124
www.celebritycruises.com

Changing World Of Cruise Ship Balconies

Many cruisers (including these two) will do everything possible to enjoy a balcony stateroom on a cruise. There are people, we're told, who simply won't go on a cruise if they can't get one.

How times have changed.

Once, balconies were at such a premium that they cost twice as much as an inside stateroom. Today, while they're still more expensive, they run about 25 per cent more.

Once, cruise ships had no balcony staterooms (i.e. The Love Boat or the Titanic), and the watershed date for that change was Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas, which increased the number available to five per cent of the staterooms. Today's new ships are built with 65 per cent, or more.

Once, the number of balconies depended on space available on the outside decks of ships. Some of today's ships have virtual (or will have) balconies on inside cabins…and balconies that face the inside of the ship.

Next month, we'll be getting a taste of that one when we board Allure of the Seas. The balcony rooms overlooking Central Park became popular after the arrivals of Allure and its sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, and Royal Caribbean has other ships with balconies that overlook the Promenade in the heart of the ship.

Stay tuned.

Later this month, the new Regal Princess will arrive in Europe. It will have a balcony-inside ratio of 80-20.

Indeed…how times have changed!

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
July 13, 2014
Bayonne (return): King’s Wharf
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $128
www.celebritycruises.com

 

In Case You're Looking For An Escape…

The pictures below are called a sneak preview. They're also called a way for cruise lines — namely, Norwegian — to get a little attention about new ships that nobody has yet seen.

Except for an artistic rendering of the ship's exterior, Norwegian's Escape is being developed in secret. The following pictures — also renderings, actually — give you a look at what staterooms on the line's first Breakaway Plus ship will look like when it arrives in October 2015.

Studio: There are 82 of these, up from 59 on the Breakaway, not as many as the Epic's 128.

Studio

Inside: 407 of them, with lower beds that convert to a queen (connecting staterooms are available for families).

Inside

Oceanview: The interesting thing here is of the 114 Oceanviews, 48 can accommodate up to five people.

Oceanview

Balconies: All 1,168 include lower beds that convert to a Queen and can accommodate two more passengers.

Balcony

Mini-Suites: The lowers convert to a King, to go with the other king, and a bathtub is among other indulgences.

Mini-Suite

Spa Mini-Suites: Include exclusive access to the spa and fitness center…and a pretty decor, and there are 20.

Spa Suite

The Haven: The variety of 95 suites for the rich and famous, or at least the rich, represent luxury at sea the Norwegian way.

Haven

If you already "cruise like a Norwegian" you'll be anxious to see the Escape in the flesh, so to speak.

Island Princess
7 nights
May 21, 2014 
VancouverKetchikanJuneauSkagwayGlacier Bay, College Fjord, Anchorage
Inside: $648
Cost per day: $92
www.princess.com

The Dreaded Inside Cabin on Ships: Deserving of Negative Reputation or Not?

The inside cabin. It's not as appealing as having inside information on something. Nor as valuable as drawing an inside straight in poker. Nor even as comforting as being inside when Mother Nature is hammering outside with driving rain or, worse yet, snow.

Maybe the inside cabin deserves better.

A friend recently asked us how much better we thought it was to have a balcony cabin, compared to going inside. The fact is, there is a big JEWELInsideStateroom_392x282difference…starting with the price. Balconies have been known to be twice as much (or more) than inside cabins. But if you're willing to sacrifice the ocean's fresh air, there can be some real benefits by taking an inside cabin.

Yes, starting with the financial one.

Two, our friend said he and his wife opted for an inside cabin because she had some seasickness issues, and they thought it would be better. That's one we'd heard before but never experience. When you think of rocking motions in rough seas, it probably makes sense.

Three, there's also no natural light, but if you're the type of sleeper who wakes up at dawn (as one of us is) that can be good. You'll sleep better…or at least longer!

Four, you're inclined to spend less time in your room without a view and enjoy all that ships have to offer — including the views in fresh air. If you have a balcony, you're probably going to be in your room more…have to get your money's worth, right?

Five, you might think you enjoy arriving and leaving ports more from your balcony, yet that's only one view, from one side of the ship. On cruises where we've had a balcony, it's probably been 50-50 where we went to watch arrivals and departures.

So maybe an inside cabin is as good as an inside straight after all.

Celebrity Millennium
17 nights
November 20, 2013
SydneyBrisbaneAirlie BeachCairns, Darwin, Benoa, Singapore
Oceanview: $999
Cost per day: $58
www.celebritycruises.com

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