Embarking on a cruise feels very old-world glamorous—until you open the door to your cabin and wonder where the room went. A typical cabin is about 170 square feet. Most have twin beds that can be pushed together to make a queen, and some have upper berths that fold out from the walls or the ceiling.
Cruise lines are designing a variety of cabin styles, like spa cabins, which are close enough to the spa that you can wander over in your bathrobe. Some include exclusive entry into spa-style restaurants. Expect to pay 20 percent more for these rooms.
If you've got the budget, consider one of cruising's splashiest suites. A Royal Caribbean Presidential Family Suite sleeps 14 and feels like a cottage at sea, and Norwegian Cruise Line's Garden Villas sleep six and include a garden, a hot tub, and a butler.
Worried about motion sickness? Stay in a stateroom on a lower deck in the ship's midsection, where the rocking is at a minimum. Light sleepers should avoid cabins under nightclubs, which stay open late, and under the buffet venue, which opens early. Also, rooms next to traffic-heavy areas like elevators can get lots of noise. But if you want to avoid trekking all over the ship, a cabin near an elevator lobby will serve you well—the major attractions will probably be nearby.
Cruises are priced per person, not per cabin. So that three-night Bahamas getaway for $399 doesn't mean you and your roomie get to go for $199.50 apiece. You each pay the full fare (though third and fourth roommates get a reduced rate). If you want to sleep solo, ask about single-supplement fares.
Most cruise lines offer discounts to groups of 10 or more.
Staterooms have toiletries in the bathrooms and a few hangers in the closets. Most cabins have hairdryers, but they're weak; bring your own. More and more cabins have mini fridges—some empty, others with food and drink for sale. You're not likely to find an iron in your cabin. You can press your clothes in the ship's laundry room or pay for the dry-cleaning and pressing service.