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How to Choose The Best Deck on Cruise Ship

So you’ve decided to go on a cruise vacation with your favorite cruise line, whether that is Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, or Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, but how do you find the best deck on a cruise ship to enjoy your voyage as much as you can?

If motion sickness is a challenge you face, you may be concerned about the movement of the ship. Maybe you want a panoramic view, but you certainly don’t want other cruisers to interrupt the experience. Whatever your needs, we will discuss the best cruise ship decks that meet all of them so you can have a wonderful trip.

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If you suffer from motion sickness, the lower decks of cruise ships are best for minimizing that problem. These rooms sell out fast, but try to get as close to the ship’s center on one of the lower decks as possible.

On the lower decks, the swaying and rolling of the ship won’t be as noteworthy as on the upper decks, so if motion sickness is your biggest concern, these are the best deck options for you.

The upper deck areas, the front of the cruise ship, and the end of the cruise ship are most affected by the movement of the cruise ship. You would, therefore, do well choosing balcony cabins and any cruise ship cabins located on the higher decks.

There are so many other things to consider when choosing a cabin location that will make a significant difference. This guide will help you cruise smarter and become aware of all the benefits and pitfalls of a particular cruise ship cabin so you can figure out which deck on a cruise ship is best for you.

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How Many Decks Do Cruise Ships Have?

The decks on a cruise ship are the “floors” of the ship. Compared to a building, the decks represent the stories. Most cruise ships have between 12 and 16 decks in total.

Cruise ship decks are numbered according to the primary deck. Generally, the decks on cruise ships are numbered from the bottom to the top deck, starting from Deck 1 and going up as high as 20. The lowest decks on most cruise ships are not available for passengers, and more often than not, you will board the cruise ship on Deck 4 or 5.

Many cruise ships give both a number and a name to each deck. For instance, the decks on Costa Deliziosa are named after flowers, and the decks on MSC Grandiosa are named after renowned artists.

Many cruise ships also give decks numbers along with letters based on the primary deck. The primary deck on a cruise would be 1, and those above it will be named A2, A3, and so on. The decks below the primary deck will be named B2, B3, and so forth.

Some cruise ships use words that describe the purpose of the deck, such as:

  • Sun Deck (The deck on a cruise where everyone sunbathes and loungers are abundant.)
  • Sports Deck (The top deck, featuring sports facilities, including golf nets and basketball courts.)
  • Lido Deck (Also called the Pool Deck, the Lido Deck features the swimming pool and is often set just underneath the Sun Deck.)
  • Landing Deck (You will board and debark the ship on this deck. It is the lowest deck that passengers may access.)
  • Promenade Deck (The deck in the middle of the cruise ship that allows you to walk around the entire cruise ship.)
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The Best Deck On a Cruise for Motion Sickness and Accessible Amenities

In the center of the cruise ship and on a lower deck is undoubtedly the best cabin location if you suffer from motion sickness. The lower decks experience much less movement than upper deck cabins, so you will have a better chance of mitigating nausea here.

The central decks are also beneficial because they are close to all the basic amenities and activities on the cruise ship. If motion sickness is not an issue for you, you can go with a cabin located on the upper decks in the midship area to still have easy access to all the activities on the ship.

Balcony cabins are also great for seasickness, as you can open the doors to let some fresh air in when you’re not feeling too well. Contrarily, an inside cabin with no windows might just add to your nausea.

It is worth noting that the lower decks don’t necessarily have balcony cabins, as they are too close to the waterline, so you will have to opt for a cabin on Deck 3 or 4.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a balcony cabin, the next best thing is a room with a cabin window. There are window cabins on the lowest decks of the cruise ship, and looking out onto the horizon might stabilize you a bit, so you’ll feel less uneasy about the rough seas.

Apart from a balcony cabin, an ocean-view cabin on the lowest deck is the best option for battling motion sickness on a cruise ship.

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The Best Deck On a Cruise Ship for Enjoying Views

The far end of the cruise ship is the perfect spot to enjoy the mesmerizing ocean waves and views. The crowd of passengers will be in the front of the ship, as most other cabins are located there, so you will be able to take in the scenery in peace.

Another great advantage of the cruise cabins at the back of the ship is that they often have more space and less traffic.

Choosing the best deck and cabin location is entirely up to personal preference. The perfect deck for you will depend on what you are looking for specifically and whether or not you suffer from seasickness.

However, it is well-known that the balcony cabins on the high decks offer the very best views. The higher you go, the better view you’ll have.

That is not to say that the lower deck views are underwhelming. The upper decks simply offer the furthest views. If you have a cabin on one of the lower decks, you can always take the stairs to the top deck for panoramic views and the refreshing sea air.

Moreover, staying on the lower deck might give you a chance to get up close to the sea life. Some have even reported seeing dolphins a stone’s throw away from the lower decks.

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The Best Deck On a Cruise For Peace and Quiet

Most cruise lines continuously increase the number of fun activities and eventful areas they offer. Today’s cruise industry is all about socializing and participating in all the events and activities onboard.

However, you may not be too fond of the nightlife scene and would prefer to enjoy a quiet evening in your cabin. If this is the case, you will do well choosing a cruise cabin location far away from the pool, nightclub, sports bar, lounges, main dining rooms, casinos, hot tubs, and any other area that attracts crowds of passengers.

A cabin near other cabins rather than the bustling areas is the best spot for a relaxing experience. Most passengers staying in these cabins will either also be relaxing or socializing away from their rooms.

You may also want to avoid family cabins if you are looking for a quiet stay, as big families with many children will surely make some noise at times.

The engine room may be another source of noise. The engine noise often fills the surrounding area with mechanical roars, so you will have a much better chance of getting a good night’s sleep away from this area.

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Decks on a Cruise Ship You Should Avoid

Even if motion sickness isn’t an issue for you, there are many other factors to consider when deciding on a cruise ship cabin and deck.

Maybe you like to go to bed early or are a very light sleeper. A long walk to the elevator may not be what you want, or you would like to have a bit more privacy in your cabin. Whatever you are looking for, the following decks are not ideal for a pleasant trip.

The Deck Directly Below the Lido Deck

When passengers complain about the noise on cruise ships, they are more than likely staying just below the pool deck. There is almost always a party with loud music on the Lido Deck, and people are always dragging loungers across the floors in the early morning hours.

If you are not one of those people and would like to sleep in once in a while, choose a deck farther down from the Lido deck. If you are dead set on a high deck cabin near the sun decks, carefully study the deck plans to avoid falling victim to a very loud deck.

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The Lowest Deck on the Ship

The cabins located on the lowest decks accessible to passengers are usually very affordable, but there is a reason for that. The amount of noise in this part of the cruise ship is very annoying, to say the least. You may hear the bow thrusters blow, the engine noise, and even the movement of the anchor chain.

The lower decks aren’t ALWAYS unpleasantly noisy, but certain conditions definitely contribute to a louder environment, bad weather and the porting procedure being but two.

The Ship’s Landing Deck

Many first-time cruisers believe the landing deck is the perfect place to be, as you will debark the fastest. Realistically, you will likely go to the top deck for your breakfast before embarking anyway and will have to go all the way back down to leave the ship for shore excursions.

Moreover, a cabin near the exit door may be a very loud area, with passengers moving around and making noise as they get off the cruise ship. This should be fine if you’re an early bird, though.

The Ship’s Promenade Deck

A promenade deck is a great place for a morning or evening walk, but sleeping here is not very desirable.

The biggest problem with cabins located on the promenade deck is that other passengers can see right into the rooms. On cruise ships with hot tubs, chances are the hot tubs are all set on the promenade deck, blocking the sea view of many cabins.

If you choose a cabin on the promenade deck, opt for a cabin with a window rather than a balcony, as the window consists of one-way glass, preventing people from looking straight into your cabin.

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Best Cabin Locations FAQs

Are guarantee cabins a good option?

Some cruise lines allow you to save money by letting them choose your cabin for you. This is called a guarantee cabin because you are sure to get a cabin in your choice of grade or even higher.

For instance, suppose you booked an inside cabin, and they end up selling out. The cruise line can then upgrade you to an outside cabin for no extra charge. It is worth noting that guarantee cabins aren’t always located in the best places because they are unbooked cabins. Therefore, you’re most likely to get a midship cabin. If you are not too bothered with the deck your cabin is located on, a guarantee cabin is a great way to get an upgrade for free.

Which deck on a cruise is the best?

The best deck for you depends on which qualities you value. There is no right or wrong answer. If you are worried about seasickness, a lower deck will be your best bet, and a high deck is more suitable if you are looking for the best views. If you’re not fond of taking the elevator, midship cabins are the best options.

You also need to consider the location of your cabin in relation to the front and rear of the ship based on your sleeping habits. If you’re a first-time cruiser, you will probably only be able to make a more informed decision on your next cruise, according to previous experiences.

Which cabins are the best for relaxation?

Cabins located far enough away from the social areas are best for a relaxing experience without being interrupted by other cruisers and unpleasant noises. The aft cabins are generally more peaceful that those at the front of the ship, where the main dining room and most onboard activities are set.

If you want to take relaxation a step further, check out the spa cabins available on the ship. Spa cabins often include many fantastic benefits, such as access to the sauna, spa pool, fitness classes, and priority spa treatments, among others.