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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Is a Balcony Worth the Extra Cost?

If you’re planning your first cruise, no doubt you’ve pondered this question. The truth is, once you get your first balcony, you’ll never turn back.

Your budget may be tight and a balcony may not be an option. But if it is, consider springing for one.

Here’s why:

No better way to nap. The slap of the water against the ship is a built-in noise machine. Add a glass of wine and you’ve got napping nirvana.

VoilĂ , a two-room stateroom. Spouse still sleeping? Slip out onto the balcony. He can keep sleeping. And you’ve got your personal space.

Ft. Lauderdale sail-away from the balcony of Celebrity's Constellation
Breakfast and the balcony are made for each other. Slide open the doors, step outside in your robe and breakfast by the sea. A great way to begin the day!

The quiet! Many people get balconies, but hardly anyone uses them. Oh, you’ll see lots of folks on the verandahs on sail-away day. But after that, they’re too busy in the casino, shops and around the pool to hang out on their balconies.

The smoke’s all gone. With most of the cruise lines banning smoking on the balcony, you can now breathe deeply with no ciggie smoke blowing by.

You’ll see things others won’t. The balcony allows you to be at the right place at the right time, camera in hand, fired up and ready to go. We’ve captured some amazing shots, like stupendous sunsets. A rainbow over the Dominica mountains. A schooner checking out St. Lucia’s Petons just as the sky explodes with color. And we didn’t need to jockey for position on a crowded deck to capture it all. 

St. Lucia and the schooner from the balcony of HAL's Noordam
Soak up the sun away from view. While your balcony may not always be on the sunny side of the ship, when it is, you get to bathe in the warmth without being shoulder-to-shoulder with your fellow cruisers.

Get out of the cold. We debated whether to get a balcony on our Alaskan cruise, but were glad we did. In late May, Glacier Bay was a toasty 49 degrees. We took in the glaciers from our verandah, and then bopped back into the room to feel our fingers again.

On the balcony of the Caribbean Princess.
Stargazer’s delight. The night sky, unbroken by trees or power lines, presents a planetarium-worth view of what’s above you.