Staying in an Aft Cabin of the Cruise Ship

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One of the things we mulled when we booked our Thanksgiving Cruise was which side of the boat to stay on. Port? Starboard? What about an aft cabin… one on the back of the boat?

For our honeymoon cruise to Alaska, it was an easy choice. We were sailing northbound along the Inside Channel, so we wanted to be on the starboard (right for those not nautically inclined) so we could see the coastline as we sailed.

For this cruise, we decided to try something different… We decided to stay in an aft cabin. We were thinking it would avoid getting massive amounts of sunlight in the mornings and provide a less windy balcony for reading and hanging out.

I started researching what the experience of staying in an aft cabin was like and was not able to find much of anything online… a few forum posts, but nothing very detailed. We decided it was worth a shot and, if nothing else, we would be able to write about the experience and share it with our readers.

(Disclaimer: When we link to places you can buy our stuff or places we stayed, we are using special codes which earn us commissions on the sales at no additional cost to you. Please see our Review Policy  for more information.)

Aft Cabin Location

Being at the aft of the boat was an advantage, location-wise. Since there are not as many cabins in the aft section of the boat, there is a lot less traffic and noise in the hallways.

One nice aspect of our cabin is being located in the corner of the ship, meaning a lot less traffic by our door.
One nice aspect of our cabin is being located in the corner of the ship, meaning a lot less traffic by our door.

Our aft cabin was in the corner, which cut down on traffic and noise even more. It made for a quieter experience.

Another advantage to being in the aft section is the proximity to the aft stairs and lifts (even though we never used them). It made it very easy to navigate the boat.

We chose an aft cabin on Deck 9, but in hindsight, we probably should have chosen a cabin on Deck 7, which splits the difference between the major venues on Decks 3, 4 and 5 and the pool and gym deck on Deck 11.

The Aft Cabin

The aft cabin itself was not really any different from any of the other cruise ship cabins we have stayed in. There was a bed, a couch, a small desk/dresser, closets, bathroom, etc. It was comfortable and not too cramped.

Our stateroom, 9690, aboard the Adventure of the Seas
Our stateroom, 9690, aboard the Adventure of the Seas

The one thing to note on our particular cabin was the round window instead of a full glass door/window. This was due to the location at the port (left) corner of the aft cabins and the slope of the ship’s bulkheads (framing). We could still see out of the window very easily, but it did cut down on the amount of visibility. Other aft cabins would not have that issue.

The Balcony

The balcony was the major difference and there were both advantages and disadvantages.

The balcony was larger than balconies we have had on previous boats. It included a lounge chair, which the others did not have room for.

The balcony of 9690 was nice in that it fit a lounge chair, but did not have full overhead coverage, resulting in a lack of privacy and too much sun for our taste.
The balcony of 9690 was nice in that it fit a lounge chair, but did not have full overhead coverage, resulting in a lack of privacy and too much sun for our taste.

The balcony of our aft cabin was an odd shape, which made stretching out and getting comfortable more difficult.

The contour of the back of the ship also made for less overhead coverage on the balcony. That’s perfect for the sun worshippers out there, as you have a lot more direct sunshine. Bonnie, due to her fair complexion and aversion to skin damage, is not a sun worshipper. That made the lack of cover a bit problematic.

Aft cabins also get a lot less breeze, so it got hot sunbathing on the balcony pretty quickly. For some folks, that would be an advantage, but for me, it was a disadvantage.

Bonnie enjoying a mojito on the balcony of the cabin 9690 on the Adventure of the Seas.
Bonnie enjoying a mojito on the balcony of the cabin 9690 on the Adventure of the Seas.

The other drawback of the lack of overhead cover was the lack of privacy. If you walked to the rail of the balcony and turned back toward the boat, you could see the windows of the Windjammer Cafe. Folks eating could easily look down on our balcony.

For some people, this would not be an issue, but I don’t want to get dressed just to walk out on the balcony. No one wants to see my lack of dress when they are eating breakfast.

The Sun

Every cruise is different in terms of orientation to the sun first thing in the morning. We tried to work it out to where we didn’t get the blazing sun in the morning on the last day.  We figured after five days of getting up early for shore excursions, sleeping in would be nice.

It didn’t work.

We awoke to almost direct sun coming in the windows. Our planning did not account for the sun being more southeast than directly east. We also did not realize the slightly northwesterly course of the boat.

This is the best part of getting a balcony!
This is the best part of getting a balcony!

Would We Stay in an Aft Cabin Again?

Honestly, probably not. We would probably not book an aft cabin again due to the balcony. The drawbacks of lack of shade, breeze and privacy are just not what we were looking for.

I would not dissuade anyone from giving an aft cabin a try. We do not regret our decision. We’re just not sure we would choose it again.

For more from our 2016 southern Caribbean cruise, be sure to read our overviewtips on staying healthy on a cruise, and our port reports from Saint Martin/Sint MaartenSaint Kitts, and Antigua.

Travel Resources
What do you use to find a flight?

We use Skyscanner to find deals on flights. Skyscanner has a great interface and compares tons of airlines for the best pricing and routing. That said, it does not always have every airline and some airlines will have better deals on their website. Still, Skyscanner is a great place to start.
Click here to search for a flight.

What do you use to find a hotel?

We typically stay at Hilton properties, so we use the Hilton website. We can find good Hilton Honors discounts or AAA discounts for a hotel there. We make great use of our free night certificates from our Hilton Honors American Express.
Click here to book a Hilton property.

If there are no Hilton properties available, we use TripAdvisor to read reviews and book the hotel. We find we can get the best price that way.
Click here to search for a hotel.

What if I need more space than I can get at a hotel?

We use Vrbo for the times when we have rented a cabin for a weekend getaway, like this cabin in Townsend, TN, or needed to rent a house for a large family vacation. We had a great experience with them in terms of refunding deposits when COVID hit and will continue to use them.
Click here to search for a vacation rental.

Who do you use for rental cars?

As a general rule, we book with Hertz for rental cars. We have had nothing but good experiences with them. Plus, we really like unlimited mileage and not worrying about crossing state lines. We have even rented from Hertz overseas in both Slovenia and Croatia.
Click here to book a rental car.

How about booking a cruise?

We have found some amazing prices booking a cruise through Cruise Direct. We have saved a lot of money on our cruises compared to what we found elsewhere, making a last-minute Bahamas cruise even cheaper.
Click here to book a cruise.

What if I want to rent an RV?

We highly recommend Outdoorsy for RV rentals. We rented a camper van for a week to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut and Custer State Park for the Buffalo Round-Up and had a blast. The program was easy to use and we really enjoyed the freedom of having a camper van for that trip.
Click here to rent an RV.

What do you use for booking tours?

We don’t often book tours. Typically, we like to do stuff on our own. That said, there are some experiences you just can’t have any other way. So, when we do want to book a tour, we always check Viatour first.
Click here to book a tour.

Do you use anything to get discounts on the road?

We make extensive use of both Good Sam and AAA on the road. Good Sam is normally regarded as a discount card for RVers at campgrounds and Camping World but anyone can use the 5 cents off a gallon at the pump at both Pilot and Flying J.
Click here to get a Good Sam membership.

We have had AAA as long as we have been married and it has more than paid for itself in discounts at hotels, aside from the peace of mind of having roadside assistance. Add in paper maps and the ability to get an international driver’s license and it is more than worth it for any traveler out there.

The pros and cons of staying in an aft cabin (the back of the boat) on the Adventure of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
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