Regardless of how many cruises you are on, each ship’s elevators create new challenges. It’s SOOOOO easy to get off of the elevator (especially when you are going back to YOUR cabin) and proudly turn to go where you think you are going only to notice halfway there that you are going the WRONG direction. Ooops
When you get off of ANY elevator, confirm that you are on the deck you WANT (when the door opens, the deck number is usually always on the side of the elevator shaft), so just give it a quick glance to make sure you’re on the right deck.
Immediately outside each bank of elevators will be a “You are Here” map with that deck’s floor plan and where you are on that deck. Especially when you are trying to get to XXXX, it’s easy to get turned around as to where XXXX really is, so the floor plan for each deck by the elevator is extremely helpful (you won’t always have your pocket deck plan with you).
That map will indicate where things are in relation to where YOU are, so you can find your way easier. If you DID get off on the wrong floor, do not worry – another elevator will come along momentarily, so just get back on (making sure you are going the right direction) and double check before you get off again … or just take the stairs! (If you DO get back on and it is going the wrong way, just enjoy the ride as it will eventually return and go the other direction anyway!)
When you DO get off the elevator, it is a good idea to double check which way you THINK you should go EACH TIME you get off the elevator. Each ship is laid out differently and you’ll be getting off elevators from both directions (sometimes you’ll need to go to the right, and other times you’ll need to go to the left to get to the same place), so it’s easy to go the wrong way, even though you THINK you are going the right way!
ALSO, on all ships, even cabin numbers are cabins on the one side and the odd numbered cabins are on the other side of the ship – generally speaking, the even cabins are on the port side and the odd numbered cabin numbers are starboard, but each cruise line is different. Knowing this can also help you make sure you are going down the correct corridor to get to your cabin.
In an effort to minimize this confusion, sometimes the carpeting is laid out to help you – on the Carnival Splendor, there is a big number of the deck number facing you when you get off the elevator and on NCL’s Pride of America, the carpet has fish swimming in the water (at least it used to), so if the fish are swimming forward, you will be going forward. If you want to go aft, then you’ll need to go opposite of how the fish are swimming. They may also have one color hall carpet on the port side and a different color on the starboard side.
One thing to note is that sometimes not all elevators go to all floors – especially the elevators near the center of the ship (atrium) – those will generally go to the middle floors, but will probably not go to the lowest and upper most decks.
This means that sometimes you either need to go up/down a deck to get to the deck where the elevator starts/ends OR walk down the hall to catch the elevator.
ALSO, as you’re standing waiting for the elevator, pay attention to the ‘ding(s)’ – there will be one ‘ding’ when the elevator is going up and ‘two dings’ when it is going down (or visa versa). Knowing this will help keep you from running to the elevator only to find out that it’s going the other direction.
One of the most popular destinations I book for my clients is Alaska. If you have not yet done an Alaskan cruise yet, I HIGHLY recommend you do it !!!
Alaska cruises usually call on at least two or three of the following cities: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway or Sitka; as well as cruising by at least one glacier (again these are just rules of thumb and CAN vary with the cruise line), but as my eighth grade teacher taught us, “No rule’s a good rule unless it has an exception.”
Alaska cruises fall into three basic categories:
• Round Trip – These are ‘inside passage’ cruises that typically sail from and return to Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco or Los Angeles. These are typically the least expensive of the Alaska cruises because they start and end in the same city, which makes your flights to and from the most cost effective. They usually also includes at least two ‘at sea’ days (If you sail from San Francisco, you will have four sea days and five from Los Angeles).
• North/South Bound – These are cruises that sail either from Vancouver northbound to Whittier/Anchorage or the reverse, southbound from Whittier/Anchorage to Vancouver. These are the cruises that are the beginning or ending of the cruisetours, but you can also just book them without doing a land extension (but why not?).
• Cruisetours – This is the land portion of the cruise (either pre or post cruise) that takes you into Denali Park, as well as other cities. The land portion can vary from 3 to 15 days, and some include a train ride.
To get the most of your Alaska cruise, you will probably want to make sure that there will be a naturalist onboard. Throughout the cruise, the naturalist will give lectures about what you are seeing or the history of the city you are visiting. They are onboard the entire cruise and are available for questions just about any time. If your itinerary includes Glacier Bay, a Glacier Bay Park Ranger will board as you enter the park and through the ship’s TV channel and sound system onboard, point out items of interest as well as the areas where wildlife are known to congregate. Hopefully there will be some kind of wildlife activity while you are cruising by…
There will also be a WIDE variety of excursions available, from a simple city bus tour to sea planes and helicopter rides out to the glacier, dog sledding, whale watching, fishing for salmon and halibut and even river rafting, to name a few.
Before you actually book your cruise, you MAY want to compare the excursions offered by the cruise lines you are considering – occasionally there will be an excursion offered exclusively by one cruise line. You wouldn’t want to book your cruise and then find out the excursion you really wanted isn’t available.
NOTE: You can usually save quite a bit of money by booking your excursions from private companies rather than through the cruise line. Since Alaska is one of the United States and not a foreign country, it is QUITE safe and you don’t have to worry about people trying to take advantage of the passengers. That being said, however, booking through the cruise line is truly the easiest.
Fur brief sold in Alaska
Everyone in the port cities are VERY aware of the cruise ship schedules. In fact, their store’s operating hours usually revolve around the cruise ship port times. Private tour companies are usually VERY accommodating in helping you get to and from the pier on time, so do not be afraid to book a private tour. They will do their best to get you back in time, but DO allow yourself PLENTY of time to get back as the ship will NOT wait for you! In most of the Alaska port cities, there are ships that arrive in the morning and depart early afternoon, then a second round that come in mid-afternoon and are there into the evening, so they truly can NOT wait. ALSO, since sunset in Alaska isn’t until about 10 pm, you still have quite a bit of daylight hours well into the evening.
The main advantage of booking excursions through the cruise company is that it DOES make it easier, although since the Alaska ports are pretty much in the center of town (not out in an industrial area where taxi’s are not permitted) it is pretty easy to meet up with a private tour dockside.
Alaska is truly amazing to I encourage you to get out and really ‘experience’ Alaska!
Crew Member Leading Muster Drill
The Muster Drill is basically an adult cruiser version of the elementary school fire drill — passengers and crew practice the steps they would take in an emergency situation. The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea requires the Muster Drill to happen within 24 hours of departure.
Having gone through covid, muster drills have changed. Each cruise line is different, but you will have some sort of ‘safety briefing’ prior to sailing…. it could be a video you watch prior to boarding or one you watch once you are in your stateroom, but DO expect some kind of information on ‘what to do’ if there is an emergency. At some point, you will still need to ‘check in’ with a safety officer onboard to verify that you HAVE watched the safety video.
On your key card, as well as in your cabin, you will find instructions on where your Muster Station is onboard. Signs will be posted all over the ship directing you to the various Muster Stations. Safety is always the cruise line’s priority.
It is quite common to over-pack for your cruise, as you will most probably not wear everything you bring.
Fur brief sold in Alaska
You may also want to pick up a souvenir tee-shirt or other garment from some of the ports-of-call. (By the way, those garments (not necessarily a tee-shirt) make GREAT souvenirs – when you wear them back home, people will ask you where you got it and you can say, “I got this when I was on my cruise to XXXX.”)
Consider packing your clothes in a plastic bag … and for a number of reasons:
• Even though it might not be raining when you leave home or at your final destination, it just might be raining in some of the airports you connect through. When your luggage is transferred from one plane to another, it could very easily get wet, especially if you have a long layover and the luggage has to sit in one of those ‘luggage trailers’ for any length of time. If you have packed your clothes in a plastic bag, your clothes will still arrive dry.
• If you are traveling with your spouse, you can each put a change of clothes in a smaller ziploc in each other’s luggage, just in case something DOES happens to one of your suitcases, you will have at least one extra day’s worth of clothes.
• You can roll your clothes and get a LOT more in the bag than you would have been able to otherwise.
• The plastic bag can also double as a place to put your soiled clothes – although some ships have self-serve laundry facilities, who wants to be doing laundry when you are on a cruise!?!
NOTE: A garbage bag works great as it will conform to its surroundings quite nicely.
Ladies, be sure to pack a lightweight jacket or shawl (pasmina). Even if you are cruising to a warm, tropical place, the temperature in some of the common areas of the ship (especially dining rooms) can be VERY cold. You may also want to take a stroll out on the Promenade Deck and having a shawl (pasmina) with you will be handy as it can get QUITE breezy out on deck.
Typically there is not much counter space in the bathroom, so if you have a small toiletries case you can work out of, you may find it most helpful. MOST cruise lines will provide shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion, but if you have sensitive skin or are particular about the soaps/conditioners you use, you may want to bring your own (travel size of course).
If you have to fly in a day early to reach your embarkation port, you will want to put not only your medications, jammies and toilitries needed for the next day in your carry-on luggage, also pack the clothes you plan to wear for boarding the next day. This way you will not have to get into your main suitcase for your overnight stay, you can just function out of your carry-on.
Make a copy of your itinerary and put it in each piece of luggage along with a contact/cell phone number – this way if your luggage doesn’t arrive, whoever opens it will have a better chance of getting it to you in a timely manner.
For the first couple of hours onboard, depending on the time of year and where you are sailing from, besides your visor/hat with chin strap (which you will need regardless), you may also need:
• warm: sunscreen and a bathing suit (if you’re planning to hit the pool or sauna)
• cool: gloves, a jacket and scarf.
Remember not to overpack.
NCL Pride of America
When you first arrive at the pier to board and you see how HUGE the ship is, you will REALLY get excited! As you near the actual terminal, there will usually be a drop off point for your main luggage. If you CAN, drop your luggage off FIRST, even before you park – that way your luggage can start making its way to your cabin.
Since your main luggage will arrive at your cabin at a different time than you do (hopefully before, but usually after), DO make sure that you have the items you will need for the first couple of hours onboard with you (sunscreen, sun visor/hat, bathing suit if you’re planning to hit the pool).
You will get in ‘the line’ (unless you have priority boarding) and assuming you already did your pre-boarding check in, when it’s ‘your turn’ you will need to be ready to hand them:
• Your boarding pass (that you printed before you left home)
• Your passport
• The credit card you plan to use for your onboard account
• Proof of covid vaccination
The folks at the cruise terminal are usually VERY pleasant, and quite efficient. The lines move along pretty quickly too (although it seems like an eternity because you just want to get onboard!).
They will verify that the names on the boarding pass match your passports (and you truly DO need to make sure that the name on your booking matches the name on your passport, or they could deny you boarding)
They might also want to verify your credit card, which will be processed on the last day of your cruise to pay for all of the purchases you made onboard.
Then they will give you your key card (each cruise line has their own name for them), which will serve as your room key as well as the link to your onboard account. It will also have other information printed on it, such as your name, dining assignment (even if it’s anytime dining) AND your Muster Station, BUT it will NOT have your cabin number on it (for security).
They may give you other boarding instructions, but the worst is over and you’re almost there!
From there, you will have to put your carry-on items through the security scanner (theirs are not NEARLY as sensitive as the ones at the airport). Each cruise line is different about what you can and can’t bring onboard with you (such as wine/alcohol), but they are mainly looking for weapons and drugs.
As you near the ship, you will have to stop again and hand your key card to the staff for them to take your picture, which will then be embedded onto your key card’s memory. Whenever you disembark/embark the ship, you will hand your key card to the crew, they will scan it and verify you are you and you, and then you can disembark/embark. Always listen for that ‘beep’ – that confirms that the system acknowledged you were disembarking or embarking.
Quite often you will hear announcements near the scheduled departure time with a guest(s) name – this is to verify that they HAVE returned back to the ship! It will depend on the line and the itinerary as to whether they will wait or not, but YOU do not want to be one of the people they are announcing over the loudspeaker!
Somewhere along the line, you will also get to meet some of the ship’s photographers (if they have them). They will want to take your picture beside some prop with the destination and sail date of the cruise, ‘suitable for framing.’ They will be at the gangway throughout the cruise, with other props for each port of call, so get used to them. Some are more obnoxious than others but if you really do NOT want your picture taken, just get out of line and walk around them. They have gotten better about letting you pass, but if you tell them, “I’m not going to purchase the picture anyway”, they won’t argue with you.
Various personnel will be at the door to greet you and welcome you onboard and then depending on which cruise line you are on, you may even be escorted to your cabin.
Hopefully your cabin will be ready and you can go directly to your cabin and drop off your carry-on items. Usually the TV is on with information about embarkation day and the required Muster Drill.
There will also be some kind of daily newsletter (again, each cruise line has a name for them) that will list ALL of the ships activities for the day, times and places (although they now want you to use the cruise ships app (some are better than others). In today’s quest to do everything digital, however, if you want a paper version, you may have to request one be delivered – you would do this through your cabin steward.
When you arrive at your cabin, do NOT be disappointed if your luggage has not arrived. Cabin stewards and other onboard personnel will be loading luggage and distributing it to cabins throughout the entire day, sometimes even after the ship has sailed.
A nice buffet lunch is also usually available on the Lido deck (and sometimes a dining room is open as well), so enjoy your first meal onboard!
Once your luggage does arrive (and it will probably not all arrive at the same time either) and you have unpacked, most suitcases will fit under your bed so it is out of the way (sometimes there is space on the top shelf in the closet, but if all else fails, talk to your cabin steward).
You will also get to meet your cabin steward(s). In most cases, they will try to track YOU down and introduce themselves to you first, but it IS important that you meet them. There is usually a table tent card on the desk or business card with their name and extension for easy reference.
Remember, they are here for you and in most cases, the nicer you treat them, the nicer you will be treated. Keep in mind that you will have daily charges added to your bill for gratuities, so do not be hesitant to ask for something you need. That being said, you do not want to be a pest either.
If your service has been stellar, you can also tip them personally – they will just beam!
One of the best ways to insure your trip is to pay for it by using a credit card. It will help you keep track of your expenses as you plan your trip, and then while ON your trip, credit cards are the suggested form of payment for any purchases you make at any of the ports of call. For Europe, it will also need to be a credit card with a microchip in it or it may not ‘work’ (Anymore, Europe’s point of sale centers can not process your transaction without the chip in the card).
The credit card company’s policies will protect you from retailers that try to pull a fast one. If there ARE any problems with your purchase after you return home, you will then have some recourse.
Using credit cards also minimizes the amount of cash you need to have on you (this is especially important when you are on a cruise and you are only going to be in a country for one day). When the charge is made to your credit card, the rate charged for your item will be whatever the exchange rate is that day, not the merchant’s ‘version’ of the exchange rate.
When you DO need local cash, ATM’s are the best place to get it, rather than a currency exchange, which will charge an additional fee. ATM’s are everywhere and you can use your ATM card to get local currency. Just make sure you have a 4 digit PIN code!
It is best to see if your bank has a sister bank in the countries you will be visiting. If you can find out ahead of time where those sister banks are, you will be able to save yourself a transaction fee.
One of the MOST IMPORTANT things to do is to contact your credit card company and let them know where you will be traveling to and how long you will be gone BEFORE you go (two weeks prior is sufficient)! In most cases, there is a whole department devoted strictly to vacation updates. ALSO, if YOU are traveling, but your spouse is NOT, it is important to let them know that as well – that way they know that there might be local charges as well as from afar.
If you are traveling with your spouse, it is also recommended that you both take a different card (and I mean a different account). If something happens to one of your credit cards, you will then have a back up card.
In your luggage (or other place separate from where you carry your credit card), you should also have a copy of your credit card (as well as your passport and full itinerary). Just in case something happens and you need to contact your credit card company, you will have ALL of their information handy.
According to a survey sponsored by the Hudson Employment Firm, more than one-third of American workers fail to max out their annual vacation days before the end of the year.
“When people don’t take time off from their work, they are overtaxed in terms of functioning,” explains Baltimore psychoanalyst Dr. Marilyn Martin. “You get to a level of stress where you are no longer productive, become burned out and are not able to function at your highest level.
The benefits of a vacation are plenty. The time away from the stress of work leaves room for rejuvenation, rest, embarking on new experiences, reestablishing relationships with friends and family, clearing your mind, recharging creative juices and just being good to yourself.
• Vacations Promote Creativity: A good vacation can help us to reconnect with ourselves. They operate as a vehicle for self-discovery and help us get back to feeling our best.
• Vacations Stave Off Burnout: Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, which makes them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts.
• Vacations Can Keep Us Healthy: Taking regular time off to ‘recharge your battery’ will keep your stress levels lower and can keep you healthier.
• Vacations Can Strengthen Bonds: Spending time enjoying life with loved ones can keep relationships strong and help you enjoy the good times more AND help you through the stress of the hard times. In fact, a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services found that women who took vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.
• Vacations Can Help With Your Job Performance: As the authors of the above study suggest, the psychological benefits that come with more frequent vacations lead to an increased quality of life, which can lead to increased quality of work on the job.
The bottom line is that taking a good amount of time away from the stresses of daily life can give us the break we need so we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.
INTERNATIONAL CRUISE LINE PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS
The Members of the Cruise Lines International Association are dedicated to the comfort and care of all passengers on oceangoing cruises throughout the world. To fulfill this commitment, our Members have agreed to adopt the following set of passenger rights:
- The right to disembark a docked ship if essential provisions such as food, water, restroom facilities and access to medical care cannot adequately be provided onboard, subject only to the Master’s concern for passenger safety and security and customs and immigration requirements of the port.
- The right to a full refund for a trip that is canceled due to mechanical failures, or a partial refund for voyages that are terminated early due to those failures.
- The right to have available on board ships operating beyond rivers or coastal waters full-time, professional emergency medical attention, as needed until shore side medical care becomes available.
- The right to timely information updates as to any adjustments in the itinerary of the ship in the event of a mechanical failure or emergency, as well as timely updates of the status of efforts to address mechanical failures.
- The right to a ship crew that is properly trained in emergency and evacuation procedures.
- The right to an emergency power source in the case of a main generator failure.
- The right to transportation to the ship’s scheduled port of disembarkation or the passenger’s home city in the event a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
- The right to lodging if disembarkation and an overnight stay in an unscheduled port are required when a cruise is terminated early due to mechanical failures.
- The right to have included on each cruise line’s website a toll-free phone line that can be used for questions or information concerning any aspect of shipboard operations.
The right to have this Cruise Line Passenger Bill of Rights published on each line’s website.
In real estate, they say it’s all about location, location, location. The same is true on a cruise ship. WHERE your cabin is on the ship is what determines the price you will pay for your cruise, even though you probably won’t spend much time there. When you are comparing the pricing for a cruise there will be different prices for what ‘appears’ to be the same kind of cabin (interior, ocean view, balcony), however you also need to be looking at the ship’s layout to REALLY see why there are differences.
On the cruise line’s website or brochure, they will have ‘lead in’ prices for each of the main cabin categories (Inside, Window, Balcony (aka Veranda) and Suite). This will ALWAYS be the lowest priced cabin in that particular category (this is also usually the least desirable cabin!) and then as you get to the ‘better cabins’ the price goes up.
What You Need to Know:
Front to Back:
The prime location on a cruise ship is the middle of the ship (midship) – this is the most stable, followed by the rear of the ship (aft) and then the front of the ship (forward).
Golden Princess Deck Layout
If you’ve ever watched a ship go through water, if there are rough seas, the bow of the ship can lift up and then slam back down again into the water, so ‘forward’ is going to have the most ‘activity.’ The aft of the ship, however, will ‘sit down’ in the water and be more stable, however, since the engine room and propellers are at the rear of the ship, those vibrations can often be felt. Therefore, midship is the most desirable. So the highest prices in any given category will usually be for those cabins that are midship. (If you notice, the suites are sometimes in this location, which is also a good indicator).
Top to Bottom:
Again, midship is considered to be the prime location, followed by the upper decks and finally the lower decks.
Think of a pendulum swinging back and forth – when you are on one of the upper decks, the pendulum swings at its widest point and more ‘sway’ is felt. If you are on a lower deck, it will not ‘sway’ as much, so the lower deck is the most stable part of the ship.
If you are prone to motion sickness, being on one of the lower decks would be the most stable and you would have the least amount of ‘motion.’ However, if you want a balcony, those are usually on the upper decks, so you should try to book something on the lowest balcony deck available.
View from Obstructed Cabin E511 Crown Princess
One of the best deals going on a cruise ship can be an obstructed window cabin. These are cabins with a window, but some portion of the view is obstructed by either a life boat or other rigging of the ship.
If you’re considering an inside cabin (for the low price), consider booking an obstructed cabin as this at least will get you some kind of view, without paying the higher price for a full window cabin.
Obstructed Balcony 8022 on Queen Mary 2
If you are considering a ocean view cabin, on the most recently built ships, the window cabins are generally on the lower decks of the ship, yet the obstructed view cabins are usually on deck 8 or at least midship, so you would have better placement on the ship than a window cabin category. (Since you are truly NOT in your cabin much anyway, it might save you some money to just get the obstructed view – you will still be able to see out AND get better placement on the ship and save your money for some nice shore excursions!)
With this category, you are ‘guaranteed’ a cabin in ‘at least’ that category, however you will not know where your cabin is until shortly before boarding (usually by two weeks from your sail date, if not earlier). These come from the ‘leftover’ cabins that were not filled through passengers selecting their cabin.
Sometimes you can really score a good cabin and often be upgraded (especially if the ship is not sailing full) but sometimes you can end up with the worst cabin on the ship! This is the gamble you take when you get that nice low price! For people who don’t care where they are, this is a good way to go, but if you are picky about where you want to be, this is not for you.
Sometimes you can truly strategize and use the guarantee category to get a better cabin and pay the least amount of money. This kind of strategy could be used on a cruise with high demand (such as Alaska), where the demand for limited inventory cabins is high (inside cabins). You could book a guarantee inside cabin with the hopes that they would sell out of inside cabins and you would be upgraded to an ocean view category! It doesn’t always work, but you get the idea.
Also understand that since the guarantee cabins aren’t distributed until about a month before sailing, that means that they are going to assign you a cabin from list of cabins that are currently unassigned (or left over cabins). So chances are good that you are probably going to get a cabin in the least desirable spot.
TIP: If you are booking a triple or a quad cabin, booking into a guarantee cabin category CAN be a VERY good strategy to use, as the cabins that can accommodate a triple/quad are ‘usually’ placed near the stairwells and are also ‘generally’ in the middle of the ship (this is because in an emergency situation, getting four people out of a cabin will be more challenging, so they are usually nearest the evacuation points)
Be careful if you click on the box that says ‘open to upgrade’. As in the guarantee cabins, you might be given an opportunity to upgrade ‘to a higher category’, but that does NOT mean it’s going to be a better cabin. If you have carefully selected your cabin according to what I’ve shared with you regarding location, your ‘upgrade’ might be to one of the least desirable cabins, but in an upgraded category, so just beware…
ALSO SEE Location, Location, Location Part 2
Now that you’ve figured out what cabin category you want to be in (See Location, Location, Location Part 1), it’s time to look at the FULL ship layout – NOT just the cabin you are considering, but what will be above you and below you!
The misconception is that the higher deck you are on the better, right? Not always. Suppose you are on the deck just under the deck with the Lido Deck – you know – the one that has the buffet? Do you REALLY want to try to go to sleep with vacuums going and then wake up to other guests pulling out their chair to sit down for breakfast at 6 o’clock in the morning!?!
So DO take a look at what will be IMMEDIATELY above the cabin you are considering (NOTE: if you book into a guarantee category, you do not have this option).
If you look at the deck layout of the Golden Princess (below), you can see that if you booked a cabin on the Aloha deck (12), you may have activity above you from the more public Lido Deck (14) than if you had selected a cabin on the Baja Deck (11), which just has other guest cabins directly above.
Golden Princess, Decks 11,12 & 14
Although not quite as important, you should also look at what is below you. If there is a disco lounge below you, you may have to contend with a lively late night disc jockey that doesn’t close until 2 a.m.! This would especially apply to those cabins near the stairwells near a downstairs lounge or disco. However, having a dining room below you would pretty much guarantee that there would be no noise when it was time to go to sleep since the dining rooms close earlier.
Note: If you have guest cabins above and below you, you are usually OK.
Big White Boxes
Also beware of big white spaces in the middle of the ship. If you think about it, the engine is located at the very bottom of the ship and yet the exhaust is at the very top of the ship. That exhaust has to get up there somehow, so if you look at the whole ship’s layout, at the aft of the ship you will see a big white box that shows up on every deck – this is the exhaust vent.
Generally speaking this is not a big deal and can sometimes mean that if you are across the hall from the big white box, at least you will not have noisy neighbors directly across the hall. If you are on one of the lower decks, however, you truly COULD experience some vibration from the engines, especially when you are pulling into or out of port (and if you have early arrival times, this could be problematic).
You will also see littler white boxes scattered throughout the ship on the guest decks – these are usually where the cabin stewards get their supplies to service the room and ‘can’ be noisy. Note: Being across the hall from the self-serve laundry is usually a good thing as it is typically not noisy (and can be quite nice if you are on a long journey where you will need to use the laundry facilities).
You also want to see just how far your cabin is from the elevator/stairwell. If it is a long hallway, it can seem to take forever to get to your cabin after a long day of excursions and sight-seeing!