One of the most popular questions people ask me "Is it REALLY worth the extra money for a suite on a cruise?" After taking numerous and a variety of cruises and resort vacations, I'm ready to admit, yes, we are a "suite" family!
But truly, not everyone is. You can still travel in luxury without paying extra money for a suite. What does a suite offer? Typically on a cruise, it will mean a centralized location, larger and more luxuriously appointed stateroom; a large veranda; fresh fruit, flowers, and champagne; and usually personalized stateroom service such as a dedicated butler. If you are cruising on high-end luxury cruise lines such as Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Oceania Cruises (just to name a few) you'll be excited to hear that the majority of the standard staterooms have balconies and they come with many of the amenities just mentioned.
Suite on Crystal Symphony above
If you want to cruise on a ship that has a few more activities available for kids, such as Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, or many others, you will see a decided difference in staterooms. Suites will be more spacious and offer more and/or upgraded amenities. Some cruise lines even have exclusive venues designated only for suite guests. You may even find a separate swimming pool, restaurant, and lounges on MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line.
So, are you a suite family? Answer the 5 questions below and see what you think.
When on a vacation...
When it comes to planning a family cruise...
What is your ideal lifestyle on vacation?
When packing clothes for the trip...
If you've chosen Answer 1 for at least 4 of the questions, you may not need to book a suite to have a great time on your cruise vacation. Often a suite comes with a butler and you may find it annoying to be checked in on frequently. If you are traveling with other companions, you'll definitely want to be able to eat together and have the same dining options. Plus, dining in a separate restaurant for suite guests may be relaxing but may feel stuffy and not offer the variety you desire. You'd prefer to eat a casual meal by the pool or leisurely sample a buffet. There is something to be said for not being tied down to a reservation so that you can try that delicious local dish when visiting a new destination. With your active lifestyle, you leave the stateroom early to start exploring and stay out until the casino or lounges close for the night. When it's bedtime, you may enjoy having your little one share a bed with you. Also, if you pack light because you wear your outfits more than once (why not? They are cute!) or send them out to be cleaned, you probably don't need quite as much storage space. Of course you would love the idea of having a suite, but it may not be worth spending the extra money.
Standard Stateroom on Celebrity Reflection (Above Left, set with Twin/Twin; Above Right, set with Queen)
If you've chosen Answer 2 for at least 4 of the questions, you may want to consider a suite for your family. You enjoy having butler service and will take advantage of their availability for you. Also, you know that when cruising with family and friends, not everyone will be in a suite. That means that you may not be assigned the same dining room and have different amenities. This could make it difficult when planning your meals, excursions, activities and more. You frequently enjoy gourmet selections and formal service in the dining room. It's probably more enjoyable to have a few choices rather than a large variety of selections on a buffet. You like to leisurely admire the sunrise over the ocean in the morning before starting your day and finish with dessert and a nightcap on your veranda. Standard staterooms are limited and may not have all of the sleeping room you need for your family. A suite will also have extra closet space that you'll need for all you want to pack and wear on your cruise.
Celebrity Suite on Celebrity Summit above
Our family enjoys staying in a suite although realistically that means that we may not be able to travel quite as often. But keep in mind, just because you are not in a suite doesn't mean you won't have a luxury experience. Whatever stateroom you choose, many cruise ships offer champagne upon embarkation, or a cold drink and chilled towel when returning to the ship after visiting a port. You'll have your staterooms made up in the morning and turned down at night (often with a chocolate or cookie on the pillow.) On all ships, the entire staff has been well-trained to provide guests above and beyond service. We've had standard staterooms in which the attendant tidied up the kid's clothes and lined up the shoes at turn down every night. Now that was luxury!
For resort vacations, you may not have a designated butler, but you may have a concierge at your service. You may also have access to a Club/VIP lounge for specialty food presentations throughout your stay. Larger suites are often on higher floors and will have upgraded bath amenities, furnishings, and more. Keep these tips in mind if you are looking to extend your cruise with a pre or post cruise stay on land.
Whether you are a suite family or not, you'll always have a suite time on your next vacation!
My Virtual Vacations Blog
About the Author
Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic teenage boys. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels. We enjoy upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, we still need family friendly and comfortable. When we are not traveling, I enjoy dining out locally, as well as cooking and baking in my own kitchen.
Virtually escape and start planning your next luxurious cruise vacation on land or sea with My Virtual Vacations. Contact me for any specific questions or recommendations. And don't forget to keep checking back for the latest blog posts and information. There are always more family vacations in our future!
You'll also find me on Cruise Critic boards as SunnyAJ. Let's connect!
About the Photos
Our beautiful photographs are creatively captured by my talented freelance husband/photographer located in Baltimore, MD. Click here to explore more of his work.
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There is no stopping us! Even though travel has come to a halt, I'm rescheduling, planning, and preparing for the next phase of cruise and travel. Plus, I'm working on my website to add even more cruise and travel resources.
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