Inside Staterooms Onboard the Disney Cruise Line: Life On The Insideby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 7/17/2008
If you've ever fancied sailing the Caribbean seas and enjoying a touch of Disney magic while you do so, then the Disney Cruise Line is the natural choice for your cruise.
Once you've decided exactly when you want to do your cruise, then comes another question that can be quite hard to answer - which category of stateroom should you opt for and what happens if you don't have as much money as you'd like and have to choose one of the lower category staterooms? The choice is bewildering, from the amazing splendor of the two category one suites all the way down to the standard inside staterooms of category 12.
The first thing you need to know about choosing your stateroom is that it really doesn't matter which category you go for, your experience on board will be exactly the same outside of your room. Gone are the days of luxury dining for only those in first class. Everyone visits the same restaurants during their time on board and can make exactly the same use of all the different facilities. In fact, you're probably the only one who will know which category stateroom you're staying in.
Before I go any further, I need to say that if you're serious about cruising with Disney, you need to invest in a copy of PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call, as this is an invaluable aid to all the planning you'll need to do for your time aboard either the Disney Magic or the Disney Wonder. There's an entire chapter dedicated to the different types of stateroom, with lots of extremely detailed and useful information about each category.
So what happens if your budget really isn't going to stretch to a room with a view or a verandah? It's something worth thinking about, as there's no point in choosing a category that's going to break your budget and leave you with no -- or very little -- money for the time you're cruising. This is a really important consideration, because although a lot is included in the price of your cruise, there's still a great deal that isn't.
It's worth thinking about the ports of call you'll be stopping in and whether you want to pay for any shore excursions. If you do and you're perhaps on a seven night cruise, then the cost can quickly mount up. This is something we discovered when we first looked into booking ourselves on the 11 night Mediterranean cruise. Some of the excursions we were very keen to take ran up to $200 for each of us, and because it was such a unique cruise, we wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity to explore every new place we stopped in. It may be the same for you, as your cruise could be your opportunity of a lifetime and if, like us, you don't want to miss anything on dry land, the way to squeeze the maximum out of your budget can be to go for a lower category of stateroom.
Immediately that thought occurred to me, I started to worry. Would I feel claustrophobic if we went for an inside stateroom? After all, it would have no windows. Would it be too small for us? And most, importantly, could we survive it for 11 nights? It was a tough decision to make, but after much debate, we decided to save our pennies for excursions and go for a category 11 stateroom. To understand this, you need to know the background. On our first three-night cruise around the Caribbean with Disney, we had opted for a category seven stateroom, but this was no ordinary category seven room with Navigator's Verandah. This was a regular verandah with a partially obstructed view that was therefore originally in a higher category. So to suddenly go from an open verandah, with its beautiful views out to sea and our ports of call, down to an inside stateroom was quite a big step.
How did it work out? Absolutely fine. Yes, being able to get up in the morning and just walk outside and see the view is a wonderful perk of a higher category stateroom, but just by switching on the TV in our room, we could instantly see where we were and, if we had docked, then it was a quick and easy job to head out to one of the outside decks and take in the views, along with our fellow cruisers. Somehow it made it more of an adventure for us that we had to do that, rather than just get up and throw the curtains open.
And, as for the fears about the size of the room, they were completely unfounded. In fact, we felt that the category 11 room actually gave us more space because of the layout of the room. The bed was against the far wall, whereas with the rooms with verandahs, you have to walk past the bed to get to the end of the room that looks out to sea. That means the bed is right in the middle of everything, which gives you the optical illusion of having less space. With the inside room, we found we had all of our open space in one place, as you entered the room, which we really liked. The room was also surprisingly bright and the fact that there were no windows in it was soon forgotten. In fact, when you think about it, there are other places with no windows on board the Disney cruise ships, such as the Walt Disney Theatre and even Animator's Palate and the chances are, you don't even notice. It's exactly the same in an inside stateroom.
All in all, having an inside stateroom worked absolutely fine for us -- and on the couple of nights when the seas were quite rough, we also found an additional bonus, that somehow we didn't feel as sick when we were away from the sight of the moving sea. I know that doesn't work for everyone and does fly in the face of the advice you're often given to tackle sea sickness, but it was a useful benefit for us.
For us, staying in an inside stateroom was definitely the right decision to make. It left us with enough room in our budget to be able to enjoy all the land excursions that we'd hoped to take -- and those were worth every penny and gave us some superb memories. There was no issue over space, light, or feeling claustrophobic and, while the view of the ocean as you travel has a great appeal, if we had to opt for an inside stateroom again on a Disney cruise, we'd happily do so.
About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!
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