9 Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid

9 cruise cabins you need to avoid

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9 Worst Cabins on a Cruise

If you’re a new cruiser, you might be wondering what’s the best cruise cabin to book, and which are the worst cabins that you want to avoid.

Being honest, my attitude is usually that as long as I’m on a cruise, I’m pretty happy. But still, if you’re a light sleeper, or having difficulty walking, or are worried about motion sickness, there really are some cabins that are better than others.

In this post, I’ll go through the 9 worst cabins on a cruise, and give you some easy tips on how you can book the best possible cabin for you.

9 cabins to avoid on your cruise vacation

1. Some Cabin Types – Inside or Balcony (and more)

Inside Cabin vs balcony cabin 6 x 4

I’ll get this one out of the way first, because choosing your type of cabin is a personal one, but it can make a huge impact on your cruise vacation enjoyment.

Some people say you must cruise in a balcony cabin while others insist an inside is best.

Should you take a balcony, ocean view or interior cabin or even splurge for a suite? This is a matter of budget and expectation for this cruise vacation.

If you know that you’ll love the extra space and your own romantic ocean view veranda, choose this and you won’t regret it.

If you don’t think you’ll be in the cabin much and would rather use your vacation dollars on excursions and extras you like, consider an inside stateroom.

In my Life Well Cruised Facebook Community, people left their passionate reasons why they preferred one cabin type over the other. All the reasons are valid, but subjective and personal.

What I’ve learned is that there isn’t a right or wrong answer on this one, so choose the option that’s best for you.

Don't book these cabins on your cruise
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2. Less desirable cabin locations

You cabin location and type of cabin may have a large impact on your overall cruise experience, so best to choose wisely on this one. I’ll go through the best to the “worst” cabin locations on the cruise ship.

Best cabin location option – Mid-ship

If this is your first cruise and you’re concerned about getting motion sickness, remember these 2 words – middle/middle.

Pick a mid-ship cabin, that is not too high and not too low.

By choosing the center area you’ll have the best chance of the most stability on the cruise ship.

The very top deck tends to catch the wind and will have more movement than other decks.

Second best cabin location – Aft (back of ship) or mid-aft

When mid-ship cabins aren’t possible (staterooms may be sold out or much higher priced), opt for a mid-aft or aft cabin (in the back of the ship)

The back of the ship, will usually have only slightly more movement than the middle. In our personal experience it has been a very good location.

Cabin location to avoid – Forward cabins

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If at all possible, avoid forward cabins. Staterooms in the front of the ship will pick up on more movement of the ship as it goes through the sea.

This won’t be an issue most of the time, but if your ship has some rougher seas, which does happen sometimes, unfortunately forward cabins feel it most.

We experienced this a few years ago cruising from Cape Liberty, New Jersey to the Caribbean. We had one day at sea where the waters just weren’t very calm, and we used all our natural seasickness prevention tips and tricks (like green apples).

Well, we had to avoid going back to our forward cabin for hours, and stay within the mid section public areas. Our cabin seemed to be rocking and rolling, and yet in the ship atrium it was hardly noticeable.

Tip: If you are in the forward section, try finding a cabin that’s mid-forward for less potential movement

Recommended: 10 Tips to Prevent Motion Sickness on a Cruise

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3. Guarantee Cabins

Guarantee cabins are unassigned cabins that are often sold for less than an assigned cabin.

Basically you choose either an inside, ocean view, balcony, mini-suite or other cabin type and categoty, and the cruise line guarantees you that type of cabin or higher.

So if you book an inside, technically you have a chance of being upgraded to an oceanview for instance. However, if you book an ocean view, they can’t give you an inside. It must be your category or higher.

To be clear, Guarantee cabins aren’t necessarily bad.

The problem is that you really have no control over cabin location. Plus, most of the time the cruise line won’t move your cabin if you’re not happy, as that’s part of the terms and conditions.

If this doesn’t bother you, it can be a great way to save money on your cruise.

This post explains more about the benefits of guarantee cabins: The Pros and Cons of Booking a Guarantee Cabin

4. Obstructed cabins

These are the worst, in my opinion, especially if you don’t really understanding what you are booking.

To be fair, they aren’t really that bad… but they can be a bit disappointing.

Our family had an obstructed balcony cabin on the Regal Princess (I’ll leave a photo below) and it was great to have the extra balcony space and a place to feel the fresh air and ocean breeze. We did enjoy coffee on our balcony and were able to relax on our own space.

We totally knew what we were booking – an Obstructed balcony guarantee cabin, so this isn’t a complaint. But I did wonder, how obstructed can it really be? Take a look… 

Obstucted balcony cabin Regal Princess Ilana Life Well Cruised
This is our Obstructed Balcony Cabin on the Regal Princess

I know someone who booked a ocean-view obstructed guarantee who was even less happy that me. Why? Her view was the full side of the lifeboat. She told me that she would have preferred an inside cabin as she literally saw nothing outside her window.

So, the lesson here is just know what you’re booking. It’s likely to be a very good price, so it can be worth it, but you’ll want to make an informed decision.

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5. Cabins next to the laundry room

Some cruise ships have a couple of laundry rooms on passenger decks. While it might be convenient to be close by if you’re doing a long cruise, you probably don’t want to be too close and be woken up by the early birds.

In addition to laundry rooms, check the cruise ship deck plan to see what else may be nearby your cruise cabin location that might be noisy.

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6. Cabins under the disco or near other “noisy” public areas

Cruise cabins near theaters, close by the disco or even right under the pool deck can be noisy at different times of the day.

You may want to avoid cabins right next to the kid’s club (for obvious reasons).

To find the best cabin location, use this trick.

Choose a cabin that’s between 2 passenger decks. So, if deck 12 is the pool, choose deck 10, rather than 11.

Keep in mind that many cruise ships don’t have a deck 13. So if the pool is on deck 14, and you choose a cabin on deck 12, you are likely right under the pool. Do check on that.

The article below shares why if you’re curious.

Recommended: 25 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Cruise Ships

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7. Cabins too close or too far from the elevator

Everyone is different. Some people have some difficulty walking too far and really don’t want to be 30 cabins down the hall.

Others would rather stay farther away from the main stairway and elevator area. It’s not overly noisy, but it’s a matter of choice.

A good rule of thumb is if you are 5-10 cabins away, you really are unlikely to hear anything at all.

8. Connecting cabins

Avoid connecting cabins unless you need one 6 x 4

Unless you’re in need of connecting cabins your family cruise, avoid these cabins if at all possible. There’s a door in between, and although cruise lines say they are sound proof, many who’ve stayed in these cabins would disagree.

You can be next a family with 1 year old twins who aren’t sleeping through the night, a couple that has the tv on too loud or any other bedroom sounds.

If you prefer quiet, or just the noise of your own family, avoid connecting staterooms.

9. Cabin upgrades

This one might sound surprising, but many cruise passengers who receive a “free upgrade” end up being disappointed in their new cabin.

If you’re not picky, this can be great. If you are even a little bit picky… not so much.

Once you’ve taken the time to find your perfect cabin and book it, make sure you mark it “no upgrade” with the cruise line or travel agent.

As you can imagine, many people think they want a free upgrade. Who wouldn’t, right? So when the travel agent or cruise line asks “would you like an upgrade if one becomes available”, most people say yes.

The problem is that just like the guarantee cabin, this means that the cruise line can upgrade you to a higher category, but it may be anywhere on the ship.

Plus, a higher category doesn’t necessarily mean a balcony to a suite. It can simply be what the cruise line categorizes as higher.

If you’re in any cruise Facebook groups, you know that this comes up every few weeks.

Most of the time, once the cruise line changes your original cabin by upgrading you, you can’t change back, so beware of this when picking a cabin.

Here’s a YouTube video where we go through some updated tips for avoid bad cabins on cruise ships.

 BONUS – #10 Cruise cabins near the ship’s anchor

I had to add in this extra tip! In truth, I hadn’t heard it before, but it seems it can be a real problem, especially if you’re bothered by noise and vibrations.

A member of my Life Well Cruised community shared this tip, which unfortunately was experience gained from her own cruise experience. She explained how she could hear the anchor (loudly) early in the morning when docking at ports, as well as when departing.

If you think this might bother you, check with the cruise line or travel agent to try and avoid this cabin location


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Recap: 9 Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid

In this post we’ve gone over 9 tips to avoid the least desirable cabins on a cruise ship. From not-so-great cabin locations to obstructed cabins and beyond, I hope that this post can help you to identify which staterooms you’ll most enjoy.

One of the most important things when booking a cruise, is choosing the cabin that works best for you. If you’re booking early and have a lot of choice, why not avoid the worst ones and pick the very best!

Have you ever had a cabin that you were disappointed in? Is there a cabin location or type that I should add to this list of worst cruise cabins?

Happy Cruising!!

Ilana xoxo

P.S. If you found this helpful, please don’t keep it to yourself ;-). Please share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

Read more:

30 Cruise Cabin Hacks Every Cruiser Needs to Know

25 most recommended Amazon Items to Bring on a cruise

20 Cruise Packing Tips all Cruisers Need

21 Essential Things to Pack in Your Cruise Carry-On

Let’s connect:

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  1. Walter
    October 30, 2019 / 1:37 pm

    I must take exception to the advice regarding cabin location ans ship movement. Before any comparison can be made, it is necessary to determine why the ship is moving, and in what direction.
    The two causes of discernible motion are wave height/swells and wind. Given the enormity of ships these days, any executive officer will tell you that the entire side of the ship acts like a sail, catching the wind which causes side-to-side motion. Whether you are forward, midship or aft on the ship, the motion is exactly the same. And because of the sheer mass of the ship, such movement is relatively slow, and would require sensitive instruments to measure any significant difference in that sensation between lower and upper decks.
    As for wave height and swells which cause more of an up-and-down motion on the ship’s front-to-back axis, it could be argued that the bow of the ship takes the brunt of the motion as it rises and falls with the ocean’s surface. But the fact is that as the bow rises, the stern drops, and as the bow falls, the stern rises, all rotating around a fulcrum or pivot point somewhere midship. To truly state that there’s less motion the further aft you go would require being in the aft and forward parts of the ship at the same time through the exact same sea conditions, Scientifically speaking, I don’t think that anyone has ever been able to do this.

    • October 30, 2019 / 1:57 pm

      Hi Walter,

      Thanks for the explanation, scientifically speaking. I can say, anecdotally, that in our experience and those of many others, that forward cabins generally do feel more movement, when there are rougher seas and wind.

      I can’t speak as a seaman, so I’ll defer to you on this. But as a cruise passenger and speaking from this perspective, I do believe forward cabins can feel more motion.

      That said, I’ll keep this in mind and see what others think. You brought up an interesting point!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!


  2. Cindy
    January 21, 2020 / 12:43 am

    Completely agree with the Bonus #10 – the anchor. We were awaken every morning between 6:00 and 7:00 every time we docked. It was a beautiful large aft cabin with a balcony (great for pictures when leaving) that was not worth it.

    • February 3, 2020 / 4:22 am

      Hi Cindy,

      That’s really too bad, and not something obvious when booking the cabin either. Thanks for sharing!


  3. Cathy
    January 31, 2020 / 3:35 am

    Thanks for the advice, but I want to tell about one of our cruise experiences that was impacted by our location on the ship. To get the best price, we didn’t have a choice of location, so we rolled the dice and hoped for the beat. We were in the aft portion of the ship right over the propellers and our room shook day and night! The closet rattled continually and there was a squeak somewhere in the ceiling that was very annoying when trying to get to sleep. Never again! I agree that the best place is in the middle of the ship and just a few cabins down from the stairs & elevators.

    • January 31, 2020 / 4:32 am

      Oh my goodness Cathy, poor you!! Definitely wasn’t the best cabin location – it’s really too bad that it even affected the nights on board.

      Thanks for sharing your cruise story 🙂


  4. Lydia
    May 30, 2020 / 8:52 pm

    You were right about deck choice as well as cabin location. We cruised with 8 friends and wanted same deck close proximity cabins. We didn’t realize it until later in the day that we were right under the enormous water slide and bucket dump. It compared to the loud and sudden flushing sound of the toilet but magnified by 5 or 6. It was bad enough for them to issue a 50% refund.

    • May 31, 2020 / 7:15 pm

      Hi Lydia,

      OMG you really have a “bad cabin” story! I can’t imagine the “bucket dump”. I’m glad that you did get some compensation.

      Thanks for warning others!!


  5. Elaine
    March 12, 2021 / 2:29 pm

    Hi this is our 1st cruise and have been given a balcony room at the front of the ship but what I am worried about is we have the world stage show room below us and as I am a light sleeper will it be noisy

    • March 18, 2021 / 1:30 am

      Hi Elaine,

      There is a good chance that you will not hear noise even above the theater. The shows don’t run very late or very early. That said, the front of the ship is more likely to have more movement. It might be just fine, or it might bother you if seas get a bit rough. If you can talk with the cruise line or your travel agent and see if there is a cabin slightly more mid ship, you might be happier. Just chat with them about it to see if they can advise you on your specific ship. I’m sure they want you to have the best experience possible. Don’t stress 🙂


  6. Jane
    April 28, 2021 / 11:33 pm

    As we have to have an adapted cabin we have very little choice in type or location. A cruise ship never has many adapted cabins and they sell out very quickly. I tried to book a cruise recently and of the 3 I’d short listed I got the final cabin on the third choice 2 hours after the cruise went on general sale.

    • April 29, 2021 / 10:26 pm

      Hi Jane,

      I’m glad you were able to get an adapted cabin. You brought up a good point and tip for people. Booking early for these cabins is definitely beneficial.

      Have a great cruise,


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