Tips for booking obstructed view cabins on your next cruise
Savvy cruise shoppers have always known what a great value an obstructed view cabin can be. But for newer cruisers who aren’t familiar with the good and the bad of an obstructed-view cruise cabin option, we’re here to let you know what to look for and what to expect!
what IS an obstructed view cruise cabin / stateroom?
Any objects that may even MINIMALLY alter a fully open view from a porthole window or balcony will be considered obstructed. The object may be as simple as a piece of window washing equipment barely in sight or as extreme as a fully obstructed view by a lifeboat. Researching the specific cabin is key to getting the best bang for your obstructed buck!
In short, what is considered an obstructed view can vary tremendously, but USUALLY isn’t a fully blocked view. For example, the most common reason a cabin is considered an obstructed view cabin is being able to see the roof of a lifeboat when standing at the edge of a balcony. So it’s not really blocking a view out, but the lifeboat blocks a few DOWN to the ocean. If you’re sitting on the balcony, you’ll likely never be bothered by it.
The good about obstructed view cabins & Staterooms
The most popular reason people choose obstructed-view cabins is the discounted price. This is one of our favorite tips for saving money when booking a cruise! Sometimes you can book a balcony obstructed view stateroom for the price of a regular inside stateroom or ocean view stateroom. For people on a budget who want outdoor space, this is a great option!
The other great thing about these cabins is they’re often not fully obstructed. The cruise lines will offer discounted partial obstructed view cabins that have almost no obstructions, but they know they have to discount these and disclose even a minimal obstruction to avoid complaints.
One perk of the obstructed view cabins is they are often in the best locations on a ship. Because most of the obstructions come from lifeboats, the cabins are usually in a central area of the ship, one of the most desirable locations.
The bad about obstructed view cabins
Sometimes these staterooms can, in fact, be FULLY obstructed by equipment or lifeboats. Additionally, the discounts may not be enough to make the obstruction worth it.
For example, this ocean-view cabin has a window that is fully blocked by a lifeboat. While you might get some natural light anyway, the question would be how good of a value is this versus an inside cabin:
Cruise lines have been less willing to discount some rooms as ships sail at a fuller capacity. So discounting isn’t as aggressive as it once was for these cabin types.
Is an obstructed view cruise cabin worth it?
Oftentimes, yes! Especially balcony cabins that can be hundreds or even thousands less expensive than a similar cabin without an obstruction.
It’s important to check the location of the cabin you are considering booking. Usually, a travel agent will have the best information, but you can research on your own by going to Cruise Deck Plans and looking at the specific stateroom.
Photos of obstructed view cabins on a cruise ship
Here are some great pics of what to expect when booking an obstructed-view cruise cabin:
When to avoid an obstructed view stateroom
In general, we advise avoiding obstructed cabins when you cannot specifically choose the stateroom. So when you book a cruise with an obstructed view and the option is (GTY), meaning, “guarantee” – that means the cruise line will assign the cabin and you have no ability to research just how obstructed a specific cabin is.
Additionally, obstructed-view ocean-view cabins are generally not worth the small discount. There is such a limited amount of view and light that comes into an oceanview stateroom that saving a few dollars on one of these already (relatively) inexpensive cabins isn’t worth the obstruction. In this case, be safe and go with an ocean-view stateroom without anything blocking the view!