8 Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid

cruise ship cabins to avoid

Updated June 6, 2019

When it comes to booking a cruise, a major rookie mistake is not taking the time to pick the right cabin. Just like staying in a bad hotel room, a bad cabin on your cruise can put a damper on your entire vacation.

On an ideal cruise, you’re going to spend most of your time experiencing all of the activities, entertainment, and dining the ship has to offer, but after a long day of all the excitement, you'll want a relaxing environment to recharge your batteries.

Unfortunately, plenty of cruisers have found themselves in a bad cabin situation. When choosing a cabin, it’s essential to know which cabins to avoid. Here’s our list of cabins should never book if you value your sleep:



1. By a Door to the Crew’s Quarters

The crew works around the clock to keep the ship going and prepare for the next day. That means that there will be foot traffic, doors opening and closing, conversations going on and more during the day and throughout the night. The crew members on the late night shift are usually really good about keeping the noise down, but they’re human. This is mainly an area to avoid for the light sleepers or if you’re traveling with small children.

2. Above Mechanical Equipment and Engine Room

Cruise ships have some heavy machinery, and with that can come some heavy noise. Construction like noises can usually be heard from these areas. You will most likely hear them when entering a port, which can be very early in the morning. They’re not clearly marked (for obvious reasons), so look for large white (unmarked) areas of the deck plan when you’re choosing your cabin location. If you do see a space like that, call the cruise line for more information.

3. Near elevators or stairs

There are all types of crowds on a cruise ship, including early risers and late-night partiers. This means that throughout the night (and early in the morning), passengers will be gathered around the elevators and traveling the stairs. You might catch a few crowds that have indulged in a few spirts as well, and they can be, well, just a tad noisy. There’s nothing like the sound of a dinging elevator to help you go to sleep, right?

You can find these areas on your ship’s deck plan as they are usually labeled: ELEV., E or EL.

4. Right Below a Public Deck or Busy Area

Have you had an upstairs neighbor that decided to rearrange their furniture at 6 AM on a Saturday?. You could find yourself in a similar situation if your cabin is below a public deck or busy areas such as a bar or club.

Check the deck plan to make sure you’re not directly underneath a Lido deck, sports court, night clubs, and 24-hour dining venues. And keep in mind that just because a venue closes doesn’t mean that there won’t be noise while the crew is cleaning up and preparing for the next day.

Suggestion: Thinking of a spa cabin for your next cruise? We break down whether spa cabins on cruises are worth the money.

5. Cabins Prone to Motion

Even if it’s not the season for rough waters, seasickness can still be a problem. If you’re susceptible to motion sickness, (or if this your first cruise and you’re not sure) you should choose a cabin that is a little more stable.

The most stable cabins are those located more mid-ship, on a lower deck and closer to the interior. Being in a balcony cabin and higher on the ship means you are going to experience some rocking. You also can anticipate rough seas based on the timing of your cruise itinerary as well as the ocean you will be sailing.

6. Family Suite Areas

Kids are loud and babies cry. We're not telling you anything you don’t know already, but if you want to avoid screaming kids on your vacation, you might want to consider staying away from the family suite areas. They are usually labeled on your ship’s deck plan. These style cabins are typically located near kid-friendly activities and areas on the ship.

7. Obstructed Views

Just because you booked a balcony cabins doesn’t mean you’re going to have an amazing view. We’ve read plenty of reviews from cruisers excited to watch the sunset from their balcony only to find a lifeboat right outside their window blocking the view.

Each cruise line may have their own definition of “obstructed view”, but in most cases, it means that your cabin faces machinery or a lifeboat. If you’re willing to compromise, you might be able to get a good deal on your cruise and save some money by booking one of these cabins. You can still get some fresh air, but you won't have the most desirable view.

Cabins with an obstructed view will be labeled on the deck plan for your ship. If you’re considering booking this type of cabin, call the cruise line and see if you can work out a deal.

8. Extra-Small Cabins

“Spacious” is not a word you’ll hear often when talking about cruise ship cabins, but some are especially cramped. Some cabins might have a weird layout making for tight quarters, and be sure to check the details a balcony cabins’ square footage as the balcony can sometimes be included in the whole number that’s provided.

You might think that booking a smaller inside cabin is a great way to save some money, but you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. A cabin that seriously lacks space might be fine for a weekend cruise, but if your sailing is a full week (or more), the walls could start closing in fast.


Join the discussion

Have you ever gotten stuck in a loud cabin? Tell us about it!


Posted by Katieohio

We just came back from 3rd NCL cruise. We chose Getaway and hated it. Food at buffet substantial dard, last night was leftover hotdogs in BBQ sauce and cold cuts. Debarkation was a terror. Only one gangway open! No one at elevators to direct you, pasengers milling everywhere with no clue where to ho. People cutting in line, went through crowded floor only to be told we had gone the wrong way! Took over 1 1/2 hrs to get off ship with tempers flaring. Smoking areas miniscule and closed in, smokehouse more like it. Would never book on Getaway, 11 in our party, all felt same way

Posted by Jules57

We were under the shops on our last cruise and every night around midnight for around an hour, they moved things around - very hard to sleep!

Posted by rabyjames

Our room was right under the pool, on the Enchantment of the Seas and we slept like rocks.

Posted by Happylada

Where did my comment go?

Posted by Cruisesinc

Most cruise lines also have a limited number of fans that you can request once onboard to put in your cabin so you don't have to carry it with you. They usually only have a limited number to call for it as soon as you get on board. Happy Sailing

Posted by NHguy

We just sailed on the newest ship, the "Norwegian Getaway" Our cabin was 14220, just below the buffet floor and across the hall from the supply closet. We never head a thing and slept like babies. Must be in the building of the ship. Soundproofing must have been A+ because the only time we heard extra noise was when we had the balcony door open.

Posted by Wan

I cruised on Royal Caribbean and they confiscated my fan. My room was over the gangway so the noises from opening the doors and loading/unloading supplies was bad.

Posted by maturetravel

if you purchase a guaranteed cabin, even an ocean view, if YOU TRAVEL SOLO, there is a slim chance you will ever get a full view..... now I don't bother paying more, they already make me pay far more than every other passeger

Posted by Doseibel

On our last cruise we were "upgraded" to a floor right below the buffet. There was a tile logo on the floor in the buffet and the serving carts started rolling intermittently over that logo about 5:30 a.m. Waking us up! Also there was a dish washing station across from our room and while we couldn't smell anything or hear the noise from INSIDE our room, the smell from garbage was pretty rank when coming down the hall to our room and it was very noisy each time we opened our door.

Posted by Buck67890209

I was on Holland America ship ms Oosterdam, and discovered the entrance to crew quarters. It was nowhere close to any passenger cabins. There is no way in the world a single passenger could have been bothered no matter how loud the music may have been.

Posted by EJSmith

Key is a cabin mid ship and not real high up, pending if your route can have heavy seas. Mid ship is best and fore and aft bad, like noted, under the theatre, kitchen or if a bad storm, aft when props come part out of the water and spin. Since I used to lecture on cruise ships, many funny tales from the past and present, almost always apply. People do not change. Just the ships, way too big. Have a walkie talkie to keep in touch with friends too, since with 3500 or more on 15 plus decks, you'll never find them unless a "timed meeting place" like lunch, buffet, starboard aft. And a note pad if you meet someone you want to see later. Name and cabin # makes that possible or you'll never seen them again. Bon Voyage.

Posted by Kinch

Fans are a great idea, but if you don't have room in your suitcase, you can always bring a couple pairs of those in-ear foam earplugs. Not super comfortable, but for a light sleeper like me, it's better than dealing with noise.

Posted by slara1961

Great tips. Also, if the cruise line calls you to say you've been "upgraded", think again. Many times they upgrade you to a cabin that stinks! Look twice before you say yes. Follow me on Twitter @scottlara1961

Posted by CruisingDivaGal

We brought two small fans in our suitcase but yet strong ones. We slept like babies and didn't hear a thing.

Posted by Donna712

Sorry if stupid question- what are fans for- noise reduction? Are state rooms air conditioned?

Posted by SimonTravels

Yes, staterooms are air-conditioned on any modern cruise ship. Not sure what purpose the fans that others suggest would serve.

Posted by 20cruises

We had a room directly under a pool and the water sloshed all night because of rough seas. The porthole room was awesome as we went through the Panama Canal.

Posted by Grandmitz

We have had rooms across from the laundry room and it was very quiet. I don't mind a room in that area. Makes it easy to use the laundry. You can watch a movie in your room and get your laundry done.

Posted by djlasvegas

I'm about to book my cruise and mid-ship cabins are all full. I'm choosing aft because its closest to dining. There's two cabins left. One is located in the far back of the ship with the window looking out the back of the ship. The other is the second to last cabin on the starboard side. Has anyone ever stayed in one of the back facing cabins? And, if so, what are their pros and cons?

Posted by deconz

Found the top floors can be a problem with deck chairs being moved and near the lefts the doors opening

Posted by EdFLondon

under the gym. you forgot under the gym. (Side comment: still not getting my head around why people insist on upper decks where they are more likely to encounter noise and large public areas overhead ... not to mention the exaggerated movements of the ship. Group think? Just saying)

Posted by lovcruisinlife

I will be taking a cruise and have a forward cabin. I usually sail mid ship but everything is already booked 16 months ahead of sailing. Has anyone sailed deck 7 forward on the Anthem of the sea? Wondering how the noise is. I think we are close the the docking equiptment. Also how are the waves hitting the boat? I hear forward on a ship can be a rocky cruise

Posted by TaraBelle

I have a travel white noise machine. It's more convenient than a fan.

Posted by cruiseingall

we are going on our first cruise in just 18 days carnival Triumph we are on the 10 deck number 1003 any good are bad thing about this please tell me what you think

Posted by mladkins1

Fans are to help drown out any noises which you find disturbing. Consider it a little "white noise." Plus, it helps to move the air around if that ever becomes an issue.

Posted by Npressme

Have anyone been on the carnival triumph and stay mid-ship on deck 2 what is above it and the pros and cons. We are first timer


We cruise HAL often and always take a Neptune Suite on very back of ship usually on deck 6. Love the wrap around deck and super quiet! Food is awesome, even buffet is good. Free upgraded room service breakfast & dining room menu is amazing. Free laundry is such a great perk especially traveling with the family. My 12 year old son LOVES club HAL. Shows are not super top notch but enjoyable. We made same mistake trying NCL Dawn by booking Jr Suite on very back of ship and guess what! right below the nightclub! Nobody told us. At least around 1am it wasn't too bad and thumping music was turned down. Food was awful, especially the buffet. No free laundry and no room service even for suite guests. Shows were great. It was back to HAL for us!

Posted by Aftcruisers

We love the aft balcony cabins. From that vantage point you can view the scenery on both sides of the ship. The balcony is usually a little larger than those on the sides. If you like to take photos you will love the aft balconies

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