Best Cruise Lines for Cabins in 2020 - Members' Choice Awards
We analyzed thousands of cruise reviews from the past year as a part of our endless search to determine which cruise lines have the best cabins. Here are the lines that should be on your radar in 2020 if a comfortable, spacious cabin is one of your highest priorities:
The Celebrity Revolution program is still in its infancy, but we’re already starting to see effects of the massive $500 million undertaking that, among other things, aims to completely overhaul every single stateroom in the fleet. The plan seems to be working: Summit, Equinox, and Edge were the highest scoring Celebrity ships in the cabin category, all of them finishing in the top 10 overall. Summit and Equinox were among the first to undergo the refurbishments, while the brand-new Edge was built with the new vision for cabins in mind. Inspired by the design of “the world’s best boutique hotels,” the new cabins feature eXhale bedding with a cashmere mattress, optimized storage, and numerous other improvements.
Meanwhile, Disney repeated their second-place finish from last year thanks to a wide variety of staterooms designed with families in mind. Holland America’s classic take on cruise staterooms remains popular as well, as their larger cabins are almost a necessity for the longer 12+ night itineraries often sailed by their ships.
Celebrity’s Revolution Program overhauled every single cabin in the fleet, not just the high-priced balcony and suite cabins. Sailing in a windowless stateroom may be too much to ask for cruisers prone to feeling cramped and claustrophobic, but for those who do, Celebrity’s high-end touches like improved bedding and modern tones beige and grey can greatly improve the experience and make those cabins feel like less of an afterthought.
Just like everything else on a Disney cruise, the inside cabins were designed specifically with families in mind. From the iconic cabin portholes screen with cameos from Disney characters that function as a virtual window to the fabulous and completely unique 1.5 bathroom design, it’s no surprise that families traveling on a budget are happy to make use of Disney’s interior staterooms.
There were two lines that were noticeably absent from this category. Despite innovations like virtual balconies and a focus on studio staterooms for solo cruisers, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian failed to make the top 5. (Although to be fair, those cabin types make up only a small percentage of their total inside offerings.) We also weren’t surprised to see Carnival sneak in for a fifth-place finish, as their standard inside cabins are surprisingly spacious at around 185 square feet, while other competitors generally average around 140.
The vanilla ice cream of cruising, oceanview cabins are all pretty much the same. While the size of the window may vary by cruise line and category, overall it’s a window with an ocean view. Certainly, a step up from an inside cabin, the number of oceanview cabins offered is shrinking across the industry as newer ships focus on offering as many balcony cabins as possible. We are going to call here and now that in several more years, the oceanview stateroom will be the unicorn of cabins. Still, the trend from earlier categories continues as Celebrity and Disney lead the pack (although it’s worth noting this is the one category Celebrity didn’t win) with Princess, Royal, and Carnival nipping at their heels.
Celebrity’s Revolution improvements have clearly benefited every single one of their cabin categories, but there’s no better indication of their innovation and cutting-edge approach to cruise ship cabins than the Infinite Veranda rooms found on Celebrity Edge. A push of a button opens the already impressive floor-to-ceiling window to a balcony, and the two chairs and a cocktail table by the window make a perfect spot for a sunny breakfast nook. The large windows make the room feel significantly more spacious, but it also helps that they are, in fact, larger than a typical balcony cabin.
While every other cabin category had a top score in range of 4.3-4.5, the suite experience delivered a whole other level of customer satisfaction. Thanks to their wide variety of suite categories and sizes, Celebrity once again landed a first-place finish with a razor-thin win over Disney. Celebrity’s entry-level Sky Suite is one of the most popular in the industry, thanks to beautiful accommodations and exclusive access to the Retreat Sundeck, the Retreat Lounge, and the suites-only restaurant Luminae. Disney's second-place finish was certainly well-deserved considering the excellent design of their concierge suites, but it’s worth noting that since Disney has fewer ships carrying fewer passengers, we only received a handful of suite reviews.
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