Have you ever cruised and wondered if you should spend the extra money to upgrade your cabin? You read the descriptions and try to ascertain from the photos what the difference in cost and space really gets you? Well, for me who could only afford the inside cabin (reluctantly with the 100% single supplement), I had to just dream of what the balcony room (and others) looked like knowing I’d never see the inside traveling solo. But low and behold, there is a way to peek inside the door and see what you are (or are not) missing as I recently found out. It’s called the Cabin Crawl, similar to a pub crawl if you use your imagination and bring your own drink if you want to.
Key to any cruise is joining Cruise Critic and the roll call. A roll call is specific to your cruise line, boat and sailing date. You can virtually meet hundreds of travelers prior to the sailing and plan out meetups, private tours and such. While Cruise Critic is a great source of information (secret spots on the ship, foods to avoid, tours to do, etc.), if you amass enough folks on the roll call you can often get the ship to provide space for a meet up. On my past cruises, we had meet ups on the ship which was good to put a screen name to a face in real life and organize tours details. The organizers on our roll call planned a cabin crawl for Day 2 of our transatlantic cruise on the Norwegian EPIC.
A cabin crawl is a tour of people’s staterooms. They kindly offer to let you into their cabin and on their balconies (if they have one) so that you can see what each category of cabin looks like. Is it worth it to upgrade in your category? Pay more to a new category? Does an extra 20 sq. ft. matter? We all did the cost/benefit analysis in our minds and a few forgot to filter as we walked.
We met at 11 am outside of the spa on deck 14. There were about fifty people in small groups of ten or so walking in and out of rooms (where we could) to compare. There are eighteen cabin categories and we saw about ten of those on our cabin crawl. I found this fascinating that we were all so voyeuristic and there were fifty of us forgoing other shipboard activities to wander in and out of rooms up and down stairs throughout the ship.
My friend and I are staying in a standard balcony room as it was about $50 more than the inside room. We toured the studio room (for one person), an inside room (surprisingly a good size and setup), various balcony rooms, mini-suites, suites, an accessible room (great massive room with space, ramps to the balcony and accessible bathroom enclosure), a spa room and finally The Haven, a luxury, exclusive space within the ship (you could stay here and never leave).
It was a bit hard to take good photos in the rooms when they were packed with folks with the exception of the Haven which were big enough for a party (which I would go to on the final night of the cruise with twenty or so new friends).
Overall, I was pretty happy with our balcony room (it was a bit of indulgence for me with the sounds of the sea and views of the water). If I were traveling solo on this ship, the small inside solo studio would have been perfect for me at the cost rather than pay double inside or balcony. Cost is definitely a factor when traveling solo.
As for the crawl, my only moment of jealousy was The Haven. It has its own pool, gym, spa treatment rooms and restaurant/lounge. You never need to leave and deal with the general population. But a cruise is about meeting people, complaining about this, that and the other. The other being “my room is so small…..”. I will post separately all The Haven photos so you can be a bit jealous like me and start thinking about finding friends to share the suite with on your next cruise.
Have you ever done a cabin crawl and did it make you wish for more or cause you to book up on your next cruise?