A cruise ship is like a small, deluxe, floating city, and like any city, there are different neighborhoods to suit different tastes. Most cruise lines allow you to select your stateroom at the time of booking, but if you’ve never cruised before, where do you start? How do you even know which deck to go for?
Perhaps you want to be high up on the ship, where the finest suites are located. Or maybe a stateroom near the spa would work best for you.
If you have mobility challenges, choosing the right deck is important to ensure you have the perfect cruise. Or maybe you’re traveling as a family, in which case, proximity to the pool deck would be a priority.
With all this in mind, read on to narrow down what deck is best on a cruise ship to meet your personal sailing style.
Find Your Way Around
Before you start thinking about which would be the best deck for you, a word about numbering. The lowest deck on the ship won’t necessarily be Deck 1. Remember, there are hundreds of crew to be accommodated, too, and their decks are below the guest areas.
Not all decks have accommodation; on Celebrity’s ships, you’ll generally find entire decks dedicated to restaurants, bars, shops, and entertainment spaces. Much higher up, you’ll find sparkling pools, and on Solstice-series ships, the lush Lawn Club. There’s no Deck 13; seafarers are a superstitious crowd and the number is considered unlucky.
Best Decks For Families
Anyone with children in tow can understand how frustrating it can be to get settled in your poolside deck chair and suddenly remember you’ve forgotten something—the sunblock, for example.
You then have to go all the way back to your stateroom to find the offending item, which on a large ship, can take time.
So if your family loves to splash around and you think you’ll be by the pool a lot, the best deck on a cruise ship for you would be high up, as close to the pool (which is always on one of the upper decks) as possible.
You’re also in a convenient location for the delicious wares of the Oceanview Café, which on all Celebrity ships is located near the pools. This airy buffet restaurant is where you’ll most likely find your teens, who may well gravitate towards fresh-made pizza or sizzling burgers. Mast Grill is also nearby, a favorite spot for burgers and fries.
When cruising with kids, families may also want to consider decks where there are interconnecting staterooms. Choose adjacent staterooms with a door between them and you’ve created a single family space that still allows some privacy.
On Solstice-series ships, most of these are on Decks 6, 7 and 8, although others are scattered around the ship. They’re clearly marked on the deck plans.
Alternatively, savvy parents may choose a veranda stateroom for themselves and an interior across the corridor for their kids. On some ships, the lower decks have more interior accommodation, although Celebrity’s Edge-series are different, with interiors opposite veranda staterooms on Decks 7 through 12 inclusive.
Best Decks For Luxury
On most cruise ships, the most luxurious accommodation is on the upper decks. Here, you’ll find a selection of elegant suites, with generous outdoor space, separate living areas, and amenities ranging from all-inclusive drinks to the service of a concierge. An exception is Celebrity’s Millennium-series ships, where you’ll find the Penthouse Suite on Deck 6.
On Celebrity’s ships, this ultimate luxury vacation experience is called The Retreat®. Opt for The Retreat and you’ll enjoy exclusive dining at the chic restaurant, Luminae at The Retreat, featuring signature dishes by Celebrity’s Global Culinary Ambassador and world-renowned chef, Daniel Boulud.
You’ll also enjoy access (on certain ships) to The Retreat Sundeck, an outdoor sanctuary of sumptuous deck chairs, a private pool or hot tub, drinks service, and The Retreat Lounge, a serene space exclusive to guests of The Retreat, perfect for unwinding or enjoying a cocktail.
So if you’re a devotee of the good life, you’ll find your happy place mainly on decks 10, 11, and 12 on Solstice- and Edge-series ships.
Even more luxurious is the accommodation on Decks 15 and 16 on Edge-series ships. These magnificent duplex Edge Villas come with their own private plunge pool and floor-to-ceiling glass.
Or consider the two Iconic Villas on Deck 12; on top of the navigation bridge, these are some of the most lavish accommodations anywhere at sea, where you’ll enjoy a view as good as the captain’s.
Best Decks For Romantics
The romantic potential of any setting is, of course, highly subjective, but there’s something special on a cruise about gazing out over the wake as the ship sails to its next port.
If you love the idea of this, then choose a stateroom at the very stern (back) end of the ship, and for the best views, opt for the highest deck possible.
On Celebrity’s Edge-series ships, these Sunset Veranda staterooms are located on Decks 7 to 12 and have deeper verandas than the accommodations on the sides of the ships. You’ll find them on other classes of ship, too, in various categories.
Best Decks For Spa Fans
Celebrity’s ships have the perfect accommodations for spa lovers, called AquaClass®, generally located on the higher decks.
Choose AquaClass and you’ll enjoy all sorts of benefits, from healthy cuisine in the exclusive Blu restaurant to yoga mats, in-room bottled water (daily), premium bath products, well-being on demand TV, and a luxurious,king-size cashmere™ mattress in your stateroom, featuring Celebrity eXhale bedding.
Possibly the best feature of AquaClass is unlimited access to the plush surroundings of the thermal suite in the spa. This is called the Persian Garden on Millennium- and Solstice-series ships and the Sea Thermal Suite on Edge-series.
If you intend to make full use of the steam rooms, saunas, and heated mosaic loungers with dreamy sea views, it makes sense to choose a stateroom near the spa, especially if you’re likely to wander between the spa and your stateroom in your robe (which is perfectly acceptable but could feel awkward in a busy elevator).
All Celebrity’s ships are slightly different, but on Celebrity Reflection, for example, the gorgeous Aqua Sky Suites, the finest AquaClass accommodations, are on Deck 12, right next to the spa.
Best Decks For Views
The higher up the ship you are located, the more dramatic the views. If you want to take in those extraordinary Alaskan mountains and glaciers, or gaze over the cliffside villages and tiny fishing harbors of Italy’s Amalfi Coast from your private veranda, aim for a deck as high up the ship as you can.
Others might argue that the best decks for closer views of the sea and what’s going on outside are the lower decks. It really depends on your itinerary.
If, for example, your cruise takes you into the Panama Canal, a lower deck with veranda staterooms, say Deck 6 or Deck 7, would get you closer to the action as your ship glides through the locks of this engineering marvel.
In a lower deck stateroom, you’ll also get closer to wildlife in places where it’s common to spot marine creatures from the ship.
In Alaska, dolphins and whales are frequent sightings. Install yourself on your veranda with a pair of binoculars and you could see these magnificent mammals surprisingly close up.
Best Decks For Fitness Fanatics
Enjoying a luxurious cruise can go hand-in-hand with maintaining your fitness routine, especially on Celebrity’s ships, all of which have excellent fitness centers and a wide range of classes and activities, like basketball and pickleball. Keep your motivation up and stay fit on a cruise by choosing a stateroom on a deck close to the fitness center.
On Solstice-series ships, this is Deck 12. You can leap straight out of bed, no excuses, and head straight for the treadmill. One deck higher, Deck 14, has a wonderful running track that looks down on the pool and out to sea. Go for your morning jog while breathing in the sea air and taking in the views.
On Edge-series ships, the Fitness Center is on Deck 15 and the running track spans both Deck 15 and Deck 16, so opt for a stateroom forward on Deck 11 or Deck 12 and you’ll never be too far from your Peloton bike.
Choosing a stateroom high up on the ship is a good discipline, too, if you can get into the habit of using the stairs rather than the elevator (you could perhaps excuse yourself in the evenings when wearing high heels).
Wear a fitness tracker on your cruise and you’ll be amazed at how many steps you can amass by walking up and down the stairs.
Best Decks For The Less Mobile
If you study the deck plans of your chosen ship, you’ll see that some staterooms are indicated with a wheelchair sign. These are accessible staterooms, adapted for wheelchair users. Generally speaking, although not exclusively, they’re near the elevators for reasons of convenience.
If you don’t use a wheelchair but are nonetheless a little challenged when it comes to mobility, think about how you will get around the ship. Are you likely to spend all of your time on the sun deck? In that case, opt for a stateroom near the elevators, high up.
Or do you think you’ll split your time between the sun deck and the entertainment spaces on the lower decks? If this is you, then choose a stateroom close to the elevators on one of the middle accommodation decks, say, Deck 7 or Deck 8, putting you in the heart of the ship without having to tackle long walks.
Read: Accessible Travel Guide
Best Decks For Speedy Trips Ashore
This may seem like a minor consideration but if you’re the kind of person who takes a while to get organized in the mornings, but you want to get ashore and explore a new port as soon as possible, choose a stateroom on a lower deck.
While the gangway on a ship isn’t always in the same place because of tidal ranges and the different docking facilities in each port, you can pretty well guarantee that it’s going to be low down.
So get a head start. Prepare all your belongings for the adventure of the day. Have breakfast in one of the ship’s main dining rooms, which are always located on a lower deck. Then stroll back to your stateroom with no need to wait for an elevator, and head straight for the gangway, giving yourself maximum time to enjoy the delights that await ashore.
Best Decks For Getting Your Sea Legs
Motion sickness is something a lot of new cruisers fear, often without need, as contemporary ships are smooth and stable. But if you do worry that you might feel a little unwell, think about the location of your stateroom.
The most stable part of the ship is its lowest point of gravity, so on a lower deck, at the center. You’d feel a lot less motion here than, say, in a stateroom on the upper decks a long way forward or aft (towards the back of the ship).
Having a stateroom with a window is a good idea; the vast majority of staterooms on Celebrity’s ships have either a window or a private veranda, so you can keep your eyes on the horizon, which works for a lot of people.
Or if you feel comforted by private outside space open to the sea breezes, then opt for a veranda stateroom on the lowest possible deck, at the center.
Ready to choose the best deck on a cruise ship for your dream vacation? Browse Celebrity’s itineraries and plan the voyage of a lifetime.