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.
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!