When Is a Balcony Cabin Worth it on a Cruise? (2024)

If money were no object, we’d all sail in a balcony cabin on a cruise. After all, there’s no arguing that having the extra space, access to fresh air, and a spot to sit and take in million-dollar views of some of the most beautiful spots in the world is a definite good thing.

The only issue is that sailing in a cabin with balcony access on a cruise costs extra money, and in some cases, significantly more money. So is the balcony worth it? We think most people will be happy with the decision to upgrade to a balcony cabin, but there are some times when it’s definitely worth it, and others when it’s not a must-have.

What You’ll Spend to Upgrade to a Balcony Cabin

Before you can really evaluate whether or not a balcony room is worth it for your cruise, it helps to have an idea of what you’ll spend. Unfortunately, there is no set rate for how much more this type of room will cost over an interior or a balcony. So it’s not the case that a balcony room costs, say, $200 more than an interior room for a 7-day cruise. The amount will vary.

For instance, a 7-day May 2025 cruise aboard Carnival Jubilee charges $779 per person for an interior cabin, and $1,069 for a balcony room. That’s a difference of $290 per person or about 37%.

Meanwhile, a 7-day May 2025 cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas has a cost of $732 per person for an interior room but $879 for a balcony cabin. That’s a difference of just $147 per person, or 20%. We found another Royal Caribbean cruise aboard Mariner of the Seas priced at $396/$682 for an interior/balcony or a difference of about 72%.

As you can tell, the price difference can vary widely. It depends on the specific cruise. And the amount of the difference can be relatively small or substantial. You should always expect the balcony room to be more expensive, but you’ll want to factor just how much more when deciding. So when should you pony up the extra money?

When the Balcony Is Worth It

After years of cruising and staying in everything from interior cabins to suites, we have a few ideas on when a balcony cabin is worth it:

Cruises of Five Days Or More: Sailing a week-long cruise? In that case a balcony is just about always going to be the good choice, even if more expensive. We like to use five days as a cut-off. If sailing a shorter than five-day cruise, balconies often aren’t worth it as shorter cruises see less time spent in the cabin. On these short cruises, you spend a much larger percentage of the cruise around the ship or in port.

On cruises of five days, we consider it to start to tip the scales in favor of a balcony cabin. With longer cruises there is more downtime, offering you more of a chance to use the balcony to relax.

When You Sail With Kids: Sailing as a family? In that case, a balcony will be well worth it. With more than two people in a cabin, the small size gets pretty cozy. Having the extra space to take advantage of is nice.

If you are traveling with a small child, such as a toddler, a balcony is a must-have. This give the ability for parents to put the child to sleep at a reasonable hour and then sit on the balcony to still be able to talk without waking them.

When the Upgrade Price is $25 or Less Per Day, Per Person: Of course, whether the cost of an upgrade is worth it to you or not depends on your budget. To us, we think a baseline of $25 or less (preferably less!) per day for two people makes sense to book no matter your cruise length. So a 4-day cruise that’s priced at $400 per person for an interior cabin ($800 for double occupancy) would make sense to upgrade if the balcony room is under $500 per person ($1,000 for double occupancy).

The other rules still hold true about when it’s worth it, but we consider a price of $25 per day, per person too good a value to pass up.

Benefits of a Balcony

One more thing that might help you decide if the balcony is worth it for your trip is understanding the benefits. Of course, we all know having the extra outdoor space is the biggest benefit, but there are others you may not realize.

Outdoor Space: As mentioned, having an area where you can go outside, relax, and take in the view is by far the biggest benefit of having a balcony space. But also keep in mind that you can do this in tons of other public areas around the ship, although they don’t have the advantage of being your own private area.

Fresh Air/Natural Light: When it comes to comfort, interior cabins are perfectly fine but they do lack in one important area. Interior and oceanview rooms don’t allow for fresh air. Interior cabins don’t offer natural light. For a few days that’s fine (remember, shorter cruises you are usually out and about more), but over time it gets hard to not have those features.

More Overall Space: One thing you may not realize is that even without the added outdoor space, often balcony cabins are designed to be larger than interior or oceanview rooms. In other words, a balcony room isn’t just the same as an interior with the balcony tacked on. Instead, there is usually more living space inside, meaning even if you don’t take advantage of the balcony, you’ll still enjoy the benefit of more elbow room.

One Final Thought

One more thing to consider in figuring if a balcony cabin is worth it to you? You may actually use the balcony way less than you think. In our experience, we like to go out and take in the view and fresh air a few times a day for a few minutes, but the actual time spent outside adds up to amazingly little.

While we haven’t timed anyone, we think our experience is likely pretty normal. If you head out to watch a ship coming into dock or when they are leaving port (two of the best times to take advantage of the balcony), you’ll likely see that there aren’t a ton of people outside.

Some people do sit outside a lot and take advantage. We’d venture most just using the space sparingly.

Just keep that in mind when you’re considering whether or not to purchase.

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When Is a Balcony Cabin Worth it on a Cruise? (2024)
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