Do you have to have a whirlpool bathtub or a walk-in closet? Will you be entertaining and thus in need of a dining table that can seat six or eight? Do you want benefits like priority dinner reservations and being first in line to get on or off the ship? Do you want to be pampered with extra-plush linens and bathrobes, fancy bath products and in-suite coffee and booze? You can find those amenities and more in most of the upper-level suites.
You can also use our drag deck feature to determine if your cabin is in a good location. Cabins are best located when they are next to, above or below other cabins. As a rule of thumb avoid booking a cabin under a public area or kitchen. If you are looking for a balcony cabin, please be aware that on many ships the cabins that are below the pool deck may also be shaded by a roof overhang from the deck above. You can also use our drag deck feature to determine if there is a overhang.
Very few ships actually have cabins dedicated to solo travelers. These will have sleeping space for one and can be quite small. The studio cabins on select Norwegian ships are the most famous example of this: The 100-square-foot staterooms each contain a full-size bed, nifty lighting effects and a large round window that looks out into the corridor. If you are a solo traveler, you will want to price out the cost of a solo cabin (usually somewhat higher than the double-occupancy rate of a similarly sized stateroom) compared to the cost of paying the single supplement (an extra fee tacked on if there are not two people in a cabin; the price can come out to as much as double the regular rate) for a standard cabin. And book early, as solo cabins sell out quickly.
When trying to determine how much cabin you can afford, do not forget to factor in the cost of the rest of your trip. If you have to spend a lot on airfare, pre-cruise hotels and activities in port, you might not be able to afford the fanciest suite; if you are using frequent-flyer miles or do not need to book a hotel, you will have more money for cruise fare; the money you save on airfare can be used to spring for a nice stateroom. Or, look for value-added perks from cruise-line and travel-agent promotions. Offers for complimentary onboard cash, prepaid tips or included airfare can free up some money to pay for other vacation expenses.