17 Worst Cruise Ship Cabins to Avoid

Worst Cruise Cabins to Avoid

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If you’re planning a cruise, you might be wondering about the best and worst cabin locations, and which staterooms you should avoid.

I’ve been on more than 25 cruises, and while I’ll take any room as long as I can cruise, there have definitely been a couple of cruise cabins that I’ll try to never book again.

In this post, I share the 17 worst cabins on a cruise, including which cabin locations you should avoid on a cruise ship. I’ll also share a few cruise tips to help you as you’re deciding on the best cabin to book on your next cruise.

Cabins to Avoid on a Cruise

1. Some Cabin Types – Inside or Balcony?

Inside Cabin vs balcony cabin 6 x 4

Many people have strong opinions about the best type of cruise cabin. Some will say you must cruise in a balcony cabin or not at all! Others insist they’re only there to sleep, and an inside cabin is perfect.

However, this is always a personal choice and there’s no right or wrong answer here.

For some people, an inside cabin will be a mistake. You may feel claustrophobic and miss the natural light that will come from a window or balcony door. Others won’t be bothered at all.

Wondering is an inside stateroom is for you? Read this post about the benefits of inside cabins to find out: 7 Reasons to Book an Inside Cabin

Related: Are Balcony Cabins Worth it on a Cruise?

Don't book these cabins on your cruise
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2. Cabins Under the Lido Deck

When it comes to some of the worst cruise ship cabin locations, cabins under the lido or pool deck should be avoided. This is especially true if you have a balcony cabin.

Why are these cabins so bad? Early in the morning, crew will be cleaning the pool deck and it down. Then, they’ll be placing the lounge and deck chairs around the pool and deck space. This shuffling and scraping can go on for an hour or more.

Add to this the noise of the cruise music by the pool, you may find this disturbing if you’d like to read a book or quietly relax on your private balcony during the day.

The best and most desirable cruise cabins will be on decks sandwiched between two passenger decks. In other words, make sure to have cabins above and below your stateroom.

Related: Aft Balcony Cruise Ship Cabins Pros & Cons

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3. Cabins at the Front of the Ship

Celebrity Summit Ocean view Cabin forward view
Forward facing ocean view cabin on Celebrity Summit

If you tend to get seasick, avoid booking cabins that are all the way forward on a cruise. Cabins at the front of the ship tend to have the most movement, especially in rough seas.

Although I’m not usually affected by motion sickness while cruising, on a past cruise leaving from New York, I could definitely feel the swaying and rocking in my forward cabin, much more than elsewhere on the cruise ship.

The best cruise cabin locations in terms of movement will be those that are midship. If you want to prevent motion sickness, make sure to book cabins in the middle of the cruise ship.

Related: Bonine vs Dramamine: Which is the Best Motion Sickness Medicine on a Cruise

4. Guarantee Cabins

While guarantee cabins aren’t always bad, they do come with some risk. When you decide to book a guarantee cabin, you’re booking an unassigned cabin in a certain category, such as inside, oceanview or balcony.

These cabins are less expensive, as the cruise line will choose the cabin for you. You may get a cabin upgrade, but you have no control over your cabin location. If you don’t like your cabin or it’s location, there’s very little you can do.

So, if you’re picky about your cabin for any reason, never book a guarantee cabin!

Related: The Pros and Cons of Booking a Guarantee Cabin

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5. Obstructed cabins

Some of the worst cruise ship cabins are obstructed cabins. In fact, if there’s any cabin I definitely try to avoid, it’s these.

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 (see 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 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 an ocean-view obstructed guarantee cabin 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.

Related: How to Save Money on a Cruise: 27 Tips, Tricks & Hacks

6. Connecting Cabins

Avoid connecting cabins unless you need one 6 x 4

Unless you’re in need of connecting cabins for your own family cruise, avoid these cabins if at all possible. Connecting cabins have a door in between, and it’s far from soundproof! Just imagine the sounds of a loud TV or music playing, couples arguing or a baby that doesn’t sleep.

In speaking with many cruisers who’ve unfortunately had these types of cabins, we know to check the cruise ship deck plan and avoid these cabins at all costs! Your travel agent can also help you with this, just make sure to ask.

Related: 17 Cruise Cabin Essentials Every Cruiser Needs

7. Cabins too Near or Far from the Elevator

Cabins too close to the elevators do have some drawbacks. On most cruise ships, the area in front of the stairway and elevators can be a gathering place and it may get loud at different times of the day or night.

If you think this might bother you, you’re best avoiding cabins close to the elevators.

However, these days cruise ships can be really big with long hallways. Having a cabin near the elevator or stairs may be really convenient. If you have some difficulty walking, you may even prefer cabins in this area of the cruise ship.

8. Cabins Next to the Laundry Room

Some cruise ships have a couple of self service laundry rooms on passenger decks. Before you book your cabin, make sure to check where these are located on the cruise ship deck plan.

While it can be convenient to have a place to wash and iron clothes during your cruise, you probably want to avoid cabins that are just too close!

9. Cabins Near the Kid’s Club

Kids in a cruise cabin near kid's club

Did you know that many cruise ship have some cabins located near the kid’s club? While these staterooms can be fantastic for families with kids and teens, they are best avoided by everyone else!

Cabins located near the cruise ship kid’s camp will have kids coming and going, parents chatting, babies crying… you get the idea. The kid’s club can usually be found at the back of the ship, on the highest decks.

Related: 20 Ways to Save on Your Family Cruise

10. Cabins Under the Disco or Night Club

Are you a light sleeper? Another bad cruise cabin location is directly under the disco or nightclub. While cabins are relatively soundproof, you will probably still hear the thumping of the music. Unless you’re going to be partying all night, you can find a better cabin to book.

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

11. Cabins Near Designated Smoking Areas

I don’t like the smell of smoke much, so I try to avoid it when I can. While most cruise ships don’t allow smoking on balconies, they do have some designated smoking areas around the ship. Often, there will be one located on the port or starboard side of the main pool, and one at the aft pool area.

If you’re sensitive to the smell of smoke, take this into account when picking your cruise cabin. Avoid balcony cabins located near smoking areas.

12. Cabins Under or Over the Casino

Cruise ship casino - avoid cabins nearby

Cabins near the casino can be noisy and sometimes smoky. Try to avoid cabins above, below or nearby the casino for the most comfort.

13. Cabins Under the Buffet

Cabins located under the buffet can be noisy with foot traffic during the day, and it may be noticeable during the morning, especially if you’re a light sleeper.

We actually had a funny situation that happened to us on a past cruise, in our cabin under Princess Cruises Caribe Cafe. There must have been a rolling cart that wasn’t attached, as one night we kept hearing the sound of rollin back and forth above our heads!

It was really the only time during all our cruises, so this doesn’t happen often. However, it’s a good reminder that booking cabins flanked between two passenger decks is always a good idea.

best and worst cruise cabins
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14. Cabins Near Crew Stairs & Work Areas

These cabins be a tricky to spot, but you’ll want to try not to book any cabins located near crew doors, entrances and work areas. Crew will often use their own stairways to access passenger hallways, and if this door opens a lot, it can be a bit noisy.

Another area to avoid is anywhere near crew work areas or entrances. Sometimes, there are small work areas tucked into passenger hallways, where the crew and housekeeping may wash or store items. The way to find these spaces is to look on the deck plan and see where there are empty spaces that are undefined.

Related: Tipping on a Cruise Ship – The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Gratuities

15. Cabins Near the Ship’s Anchor

Cruise Ship Anchor
Avoid cabins near the ship’s anchor

Having a cabin located near the ship’s anchor might be disturbing on port days. If you’re bothered by noise and vibrations, this can be a real problem.

A member of my Life Well Cruised community shared this tip, which she unfortunately experienced on a past cruise. She explained how she could hear the anchor (loudly) early in the morning when docking at ports, as well as when departing.

I’ve also been told that you may hear the pop down platform door, and crew talking loudly as they manoeuvre in and out of port.

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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16. Interior Facing Balcony Cabins

Oasis of the Seas Central Park Balcony cabins
Balcony cabins facing into the Central Park on Oasis of the Seas

On Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class cruise ships, there are some unique balcony cabins that you may just want to avoid. These balcony cabins face into the “neighbourhoods” of the cruise ship. While these cabins certainly have an appeal, if you like any privacy or enjoy an ocean view, these just aren’t the best.

In fact, when we cruised on Oasis of the Seas, we consider booking a Boardwalk balcony cabin to be one of our past cruise mistakes, that we wouldn’t repeat.

Related: 17 First Time Cruiser Mistakes to Avoid

17. Free Cabin Upgrades

This might be surprising, but many cruise passengers who receive a free cabin upgrade end up being disappointed in their new cabin. If you’re not picky about your cabin, this can be great. However, if you’re even a bit choosy, not so much.

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

As you can imagine, many people think they want a free upgrade. 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 can be in any location on the cruise ship.

Plus, a higher cabin category doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be upgraded to a balcony or a suite. You may only be upgraded to a higher category within the same cabin type.

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.

Video: Best and Worst Cabins on a Cruise

Need more information about how to avoid the worst cruise cabins and choose the best? In this video we share the tips and secrets you want to know.

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Regular price: $27 Now just $17!

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Final Thoughts on the Worst Cruise Cabins to Avoid

In this post we’ve gone over 7 tips to avoid the worst 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 not to book.

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!


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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,


  7. April R.
    May 19, 2022 / 7:46 pm

    I’m so glad you mentioned connecting rooms. We are a family of six and every time I look for connecting rooms, one of the rooms is booked. If I wasn’t so vacation-starved, I would quit looking. (LOL)

    Instead, we always settle for two rooms next to each other and we get extra key cards for everyone in our group.

    • May 24, 2022 / 3:20 pm

      They aren’t always easy to find, especially when you need them. Good tip though about neighboring cabins and key cards.


  8. h price
    July 3, 2022 / 4:49 pm

    Intrigued by your web page and the various passengers’ comments. I’ve only taken holidays in very small boats (old Hurtiruter , DFDS and current Stena inshore ferries and Red Sea diving liveaboards). Personally I loved feeling these boats move, even some engine hum. Secret is that these boats don’t DO onboard ‘entertainment’ other than a cabin TV and a small cinema, so people are nearly as quiet as in a Premier Inn. 5 dives a day leaves even the Young flattened enough to sleep the night through. Babies on ferries seldom seem to cry. I’d recommend any of these rather than a big ship journey – and on diving trips you even get into the sea.

    • July 11, 2022 / 1:31 pm

      Very interesting. There are smaller cruise ships, but it sound like you enjoy the experiences you’re doing now.

  9. Maggie Sandecki
    July 21, 2022 / 10:53 pm

    Thank you for your advice. We took a cruise on the Norwegian cruise line and booked an inside cabin and when we open the door all you could smell was a sewer line overflowing. We complained and they would give us a little bit off another cruise. No thanks. We then decided we would always book a balcony room overlooking the ocean. Well, what we got with Royal Caribbean was an inside balcony overlooking people eating at a restaurant.

    • July 26, 2022 / 3:42 pm

      Oh no! Yes, those Oasis class ships have interior facing balconies. Some people love them, but they are not the ocean! I make sure to ask, on these ships, for ocean view balconies.

      Really appreciate you sharing this Maggie!


  10. Laura
    September 12, 2022 / 12:16 am

    My friend got a cabin over the IMAX. Said he could feel the sound vibrations. He would definitely avoid this room from now on

    • September 19, 2022 / 3:01 pm

      Oh no! Thanks for sharing. This is definitely one to add to the list

  11. harry
    November 28, 2022 / 1:48 am

    first cruise was below ice cream parlor. Late night scraping of wrought iron chairs against the floor.

  12. Anselmo R Estrada III
    November 28, 2022 / 3:31 am

    I am a TA and I always tell my clients that I will keep them away from the noisy decks and book them in between sleep deck cabins. Thank you for this list

    October 24, 2023 / 2:01 pm

    Are cabin was at the front of the ship the deck above was a gym every morning we get woke up by some one using a runnying machine which we could hear direcltly above are cabin Ventura Lido deck 7 to 17 October 2023

    • October 26, 2023 / 1:03 am

      Thanks for sharing. Under the gym can definitely be a less than desirable cabin location

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