8 best balcony cabins on cruise ships that you will want to book for your next vacation (2024)

Balcony cabins are some of the most popular cruise ship accommodations. Who doesn't dream of opening a door and stepping out onto a private verandah where you can peacefully watch the ocean pass you by while you sip on a cup of coffee or catch up on your reading list.

These staterooms, however, vary. In other words, not all balcony cabins are designed the same. Some have more outdoor space, while others have their balconies built into the living space. With the push of a single button, a window opens up and allows you to soak in the fresh air from the comfort of your stateroom, rather than outside.

So, what are the best balcony staterooms to book? Here's a list of the 8 best balcony cabins on cruise ships that you will want to book for your next vacation.

Read more: Balcony cruise ship rooms: are they worth the splurge?

Aft balcony cabins

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Aft balcony cabins provide you with more space and better views than standard balconies.

Aft is a nautical adjective that means “toward the back of the ship.” In other words, aft balcony staterooms are located at the back of the ship. Due to the shape of the ship's stern, these staterooms are often elongated and stray from the cookie-cutter design of standard balcony cabins.

Typically, they provide guests with extra-large balconies and are a great choice for those who want more space. Plus, the verandas overlook the ship’s wake, the trail of churned waters a boat or ship leaves behind when sailing.

Many cruisers find wake views relaxing, even though you are technically facing backward and looking out at where you have just been. If you love to stand at the railing at the back of the ship and gaze out at that wake, an aft balcony cabin is the best choice for you.

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Hump balcony cabins

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When perusing cruise ship deck plans, you will not find any cabins listed as "hump balconies." Cruise fans, however, know where to look for these extra-roomy verandas on specific ships in the Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises fleets.

Some vessels, including those in Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class and Celebrity’s Solstice Class, are not entirely straight along the sides. In certain areas, the ship’s design bulges outward, creating "a hump." Cabins located where the ship begins to jut out often have extra-large balconies to accommodate the curve or angle of the ship’s superstructure.

To find these balcony rooms, look at the deck plans, and you will see where these special balcony cabins are located. If you are unsure, you can always research message boards and ask other cruisers to confirm that the specific cabin you are looking at is, in fact, a hump balcony.

Infinite balcony cabins

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Celebrity, MSC Cruises, and Royal Caribbean are the only big-ship cruise lines to sport infinite veranda cabins, though some river cruise ships offer them as well. They are found exclusively on Celebrity's Edge Class of ships, as well as Royal Caribbean's Icon Class and MSC's World Class. They represent the next generation of cruise ship balcony design.

Balconies are great when the sun is out, but on rainy or cold itineraries, they are wasted space. Infinite balconies are versatile areas that can transform from a balcony into a sun room fully enclosed within your cabin. These cabins are excellent for cruisers on colder-weather itineraries, or who want the option of fresh air but do not tend to spend much time outside on their balcony.

With an infinite veranda, there is no permanent wall between the cabin and the balcony. Instead, the balcony area is enclosed on its outer edges with glass windows; the one facing the sea can roll down just like a car window at the touch of a button. When not in use, roll up the windows, open the doors, and you have a roomier cabin with a sunny seating area at one end.

Cove balcony cabins

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Cove balconies are a Carnival Cruise Line specialty that are best for cruisers who are looking for privacy but want to be as close as possible to the water line.

Because these rooms are located on low decks -- as low as Deck 2 on some ships -- the balconies are fully enclosed by the ship’s steel structure with a large cut-out open to the sea breeze. Your neighbors can’t peek around and spy on you from their balconies, so your private alfresco space really is private!

These balconies are larger than the standard verandas on the decks above, so you get more space to enjoy all that fresh air. They are also closer to the water, so if you want a chance to feel that sea splash on your face or scan the waves for dolphins, the cove balconies are the ones to book. Oftentimes, they are cheaper than standard balcony cabins, too.

If these staterooms interest you, you will want to consider sailing onboard Carnival Excel, Vista, or Dream Class ships. Luckily for you, these are some of the newest ships in their fleet!

Read more: Guide to staying in a Carnival cruise balcony cabin

Family balcony cabins

If you’re traveling with the kids, the best balcony cabin for you is one designed with families in mind. Many ships have fancy family suites, but you can also find more affordable balcony cabins that can sleep up to five.

Disney Cruise Line’s Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Veranda can sleep five. These rooms cater to families with split baths, meaning that there's a sink and shower-tub combo in one room, with a separate toilet and sink in another. Plus, they are outfitted with childproof balcony locks and a privacy curtain to create separate sleeping areas.

Carnival’s Family Harbor balcony cabins are typically cove balconies or aft balconies, so they combine family-friendly perks with excellent locations. These cabins are great options because they give families access to the Family Harbor lounge. Here, you will be able to enjoy snacks, games, a concierge, and one free night of Carnival’s late-night group babysitting.

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Moreover, Celebrity’s Family Veranda Staterooms can sleep five on Solstice Class ships and feature a separate inside kids’ room with bunk beds plus a pullout sofa in the living area. Royal Caribbean has similar cabins that are usually dubbed "Ultra Spacious Balconies."

Look for these and other family-designated balcony cabins when you want the best digs for the kids.

Corner wrap balcony cabins

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Where can you find some of the biggest and best cruise ship balcony cabins? At the corners of the ship.

Corner cabins are like the coveted corner office, with windows facing either forward or backward, as well as to one side. This location leads to cabins with lots of light and balconies that wrap around the corners of the ship.

For example, Carnival has premium vista balcony cabins located on the aft corners of certain ships. These extra-long balconies are a boon for veranda fans.

The extra space can often accommodate a full-sizer lounger, in addition to regular balcony chairs and a table. That makes these corner wrap balconies ideal for cruisers who want to stretch out and nap in the sun.

Many newer ships place their swanky suites at the corners of the ship, so the wrap balconies may only be available to travelers booking the highest tiers of accommodations.

If you are wanting a wraparound balcony without splurging on a suite, speak with a travel agent. They will be able to assist you in telling you what ships have standard cabins with corner wrap balconies.

Read more: What to look for in a travel agent for a cruise

Spa balcony cabins

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When you need a Zen-like retreat at sea, a spa balcony cabin is the way to go. While these balconies tend to be the same size as standard balconies, it’s the interior portion of the cabin that rates them among the best.

Spa cabins are located close to the spa, which on most ships is on the upper decks (the higher the deck, the better the balcony view). The décor in spa balcony cabins is often outfitted with a color palette of earth tones to create a calming ambiance. Bathrooms may feature rain showers or massaging jets and spa-brand in-cabin toiletries.

Plus, spa balcony cabins come with all kinds of perks, which vary based on which cruise line you are sailing with. These may include fancier robes and slippers, a pillow menu, complimentary thermal suite or exercise class passes, and yoga mats.

Read more: Norwegian drops a stateroom perk and doubles down on solo cabins

Suites with balconies

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For the most over-the-top balconies, you do need to book a suite. It makes sense that the nicest cabins onboard should have the best balconies, and you would be amazed at some of these tricked-out verandas.

The best suite balconies feature full loungers or padded patio furniture, dining areas, bars, and hot tubs. Some suites, such as Royal Caribbean’s two-story lofts, have access to two or even three private balconies.

But it gets crazier than that! Enchanted Princess’ Sky Suite has a dining table, daybed, telescope, bar, and television on its veranda, and Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate Family Suite has a Jacuzzi, ping-pong table, and kiddie climbing wall on its balcony.

Similarly, the line’s AquaTheater Suites found onboard Oasis Class ships have large balconies that offer some of the best views of all the AquaTheater shows, with no tickets or queuing required.

In addition to the extra interior and exterior space, suites come with some pretty neat perks that will elevate your cruising experience. From priority boarding to being able to access suite-only sun decks and restaurants, there are more reasons to splurge on a suite than just for a larger balcony.

Read more: 7 best suites on big-ship cruises

8 best balcony cabins on cruise ships that you will want to book for your next vacation (2024)
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