5 Reasons to Think Twice About Booking An Inside Cabin

inside cabin balcony cruise ship upgrade
A typical inside cabin on Norwegian Gem. - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Inside cabins can be a fantastic deal, but you need to make sure staying in a small, windowless room isn't going to put a damper on your entire vacation. Here are five reasons you should consider upgrading from an inside cabin:

1. You might not be saving that much money.

royal caribbean virtual balcony inside stateroom
The "virtual balcony" staterooms on Royal Caribbean aren't too much cheaper than a real balcony. - Photo by Royal Caribbean

The rate varies widely, but balcony cabins can cost up to twice the price of an interior stateroom. If you’re trying to estimate the cost of your cruise, this means that a couple on a 7-night sailing can save up to $1,000 total by booking an inside cabin! But in other cases, upgrading to a balcony cabin (or even an oceanview stateroom) might only cost an extra $100 to $200 for the entire cruise. Sometimes, agencies or cruise lines will even have promotions with free cabin upgrades, and if the sailing is underbooked, the line might reach out and ask if you want to upgrade your cabin for a reduced price (or even for free!). 


2. You will probably spend more time in your cabin than you think.

carnival magic oceanview inside cabin
Oceanview cabins are a tad larger, and the window makes it feel even bigger. - Photo by Carnival

Plenty of first-time cruisers have every intention of experiencing everything the ship has to offer, from sipping lattes and catching the sunrise on the lido deck to partying well past midnight in the dance club. But after four or five days of constant activity, the fatigue can start to set in. Suddenly, spending a night in your cabin with room service sounds far more appealing than catching a show or dancing the night away. If that does happen (and there’s a good chance it will), it’s FAR more enjoyable to spend your evening on your private balcony than in a dark, windowless room. 


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3. There's a chance you're a bit claustrophobic.

epic inside cabin cruise ship
If this photo makes you a bit uncomfortable, don't book an inside cabin. - Photo by Norwegian

Remember that when you book a balcony cabin, you’re not just paying for the balcony itself. Balcony cabins are always larger than inside cabins, and even oceanview staterooms come with a few extra square feet of space. There are a few tricks you can do to make your inside cabin feel larger than it is, but small living spaces can affect people psychologically if they’re not used to it. After all, it’s called “cabin fever” for a reason.


4. You're traveling with a large party. 

norwegian bliss inside cabin
It's possible to fit 4 people in some inside cabins, but we really don't recommend it. - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

Couples (or solo cruisers paying single supplements) can usually handle an inside cabin. But cramming three or four passengers into most inside cabins can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare. Simple things like sharing a bathroom or finding enough storage space become complicated issues, and trying to get ready for a night out can feel like the worst game of Twister you’ve ever played in your life.


Related: 7 Worst Cruise Ship Cabin Locations 


5. Inside cabins are not ideal for scenic and extended itineraries. 

norwegian bliss inside cabin alaska
Seeing this view from your cabin is worth the upgrade. - Photo by Norwegian Cruise Line

For scenic itineraries like Alaska or New England, watching the beautiful coastline roll by from your cabin is a huge plus. The length of your itinerary is also something to keep in mind: It’s one thing to book an inside cabin for a short, 3-5 night sailing, but if your itinerary is longer than seven days, don’t be surprised if your cabin starts feeling a bit smaller every day.


Join the discussion

What's your opinion on inside cabins?


Posted by SallyKB

We have just returned from a 14 night Canada/New England cruise. We had cruised twice before with a balcony but this time decided to try an inside cabin for a few reasons, we spend very little time in our cabin, the noise from other people on their balconies, the constant banging of heavy doors, and of course the price! I was a little unsure as I am the type of person who has the bedroom window open 365 days of the year, however I was pleasantly surprised. It was the quietest cruise we had been on, didn't feel claustrophobic at all, literally no noise from other passengers and we had the best sleep ever because it was so dark.

Posted by aussiecouple

We have travelled on various decks, Balcony down to inside cabin. The reality is that it really depends on the cruise. Last cruise was 14 days of Norway from Southampton. We deliberately chose an inside cabin, and declined an upgrade. The reason? The Midnight Sun. Towards the end of the cruise we saw people getting around that clearly weren't handling the light coming into the cabin 24/7. Curtains can mitigate, but as a former shift-worker I appreciate the value of good sleep. If we do it again at a different time to see the Northern Lights, then our choice would be different. When we did Asia we also found that in the Tropics the Balcony felt sticky and in need of a washdown. So we actually spent more hours by the pool, where the deck was kept washed down and not sticky.

Posted by iaincarver

I always now go for inside. Never a problem. Prefer to watch the scenery up top where I can interact or wander.

Posted by Jackieanne

Just come back from a Norwegian Cruise if the fjords on the Columbus with CMV ... we chose an interior cabin and it was so well sound insulated and dark I slept soundly ... I looked through the entire accommodation range (15 different types)on the Columbus and with the exception of the the very top end priced cabins they were all the same floor space in size, talking to an American couple who paid $2000 each for a junior suit to myself and my friend who paid £499 each... I think we got the better deal!!!!!

Posted by kel400

i think i've done everything from inside cabins to junior suites. it just depends how much you care about being in the dark when the light is off, and how long your cruise is and if you are going to miss anything by not being able to see the scenery. and of course if its super cheap to be inside then sometimes that can be a draw as well. with just one other person the space didn't bother me, but i only did it for a short cruise. i think the points made in this article were spot on.

Posted by islandmates

Love the insider comments. We can cruise twice paying inside rates compared even to a window. Everybody has a preference, that’s why so many choices. We make our inside room homey and always have a wonderful cruise for all the above reasons.

Posted by jennydeer74

I have sailed an inside cabin twice and a suite once. I might go for an inside again for a shorter cruise but the space of the suite and the balcony were so wonderful that I didn't mind paying extra for it. For us, it was completely worth it. I don't think there's anything wrong with any type of cabin; to each their own as everyone enjoys a vacation differently. Cheers!

Posted by tricolours

We've booked the lowest grade, inside cabins, all the way up to junior blacony suites. I actually prefer the inside cabins as you really do get a better night's sleep in total darkness. That being said, on NCL their junior balcony suites have a bathtub/shower combo which is difficult to climb in and out of. (Especially in rough seas!)

Posted by 5bats

While the points are all valid and should be taken into consideration, I've sailed in both. If money is no object by all means go for balcony suites but my general rule of thumb is if the delta is more than $100 or the value of the perk included with the upgraded room results in a less than $100 delta for me then I go for inside. I'd rather spend the money on more excursion experiences or another cruise! As others have noted, the insulated cave like atmosphere of the inside room results in a wonderful night's sleep. I sometimes get disoriented because I can't tell if it's day or night when I awake but I sure sleep soundly. I don't mind it at all and my claustrophobic husband isn't bothered by it either. The longest cruise we've been on is 13 days but we have a 15 day transatlantic coming up. It will be interesting to see if it becomes confining without the daily cruise stops to get off the ship or if it's kind of nice for that mid-day nap!

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