With most mainstream cruise lines it’s pretty common for a cruise ship to have at least a third of its cabins inside the ship without any windows.
That can often mean thousands of inside cabins on the big ships, but I’ve just disembarked a luxury cruise ship where I had 1 of only 23 inside cabins on the entire ship.
I’ve been cruising with budget and mainstream cruise lines for years, and I’m very used to cruising in the cheapest cabin on the ship.
I do everything I can to reduce the cost and I’ve had some interesting cabins are a result.
Do Luxury Cruise Ships Have Inside Cabins?
Most luxury cruise ships don’t have inside cabins at all so when I saw an inside cabin available on the luxury cruise ship Azamara Onward, I decided to book it.
I had no idea how they could make an inside cabin luxurious and I was excited to get to compare my cabin with one that might cost a quarter of the price of another cruise line.
Azamara describe their rooms as being a ‘boutique hotel at sea’ so that was a high bar to live up to.
In reality, there were things I preferred about this cabin and a few things that I thought were much worse than you would find on budget cruise ships.
I did have to call maintenance at one point because of a big problem with my cabin that I’ve never encountered on a cruise before, but more about that later.
I Booked a ‘Guaranteed’ Cabin
I booked a guaranteed inside cabin meaning that I didn’t pick my specific cabin location. This meant that I could be given a cabin anywhere on the ship and normally this means that there are lots of options.
On this cruise though I knew that I’d be in one of the 23 insides and that the inside cabins were only on decks 4, 6, 7 and 8.
On most decks, the inside cabins are between the two staircases so I hoped that we would have a cabin here.
The ship only had 11 decks in total so I didn’t mind which deck our cabin was on. It wasn’t like being on a big ship where my cabin could be literally 12 decks from the buffet.
A couple of weeks before the cruise our cabin was assigned to us and we were given cabin 7069.
I went straight to the Azamara website and found my cabin in the middle. It seemed like a good location but, at this point, I wasn’t really prepared for how the small ship would change the way I cruised.
Our cabin was actually off of an internal corridor instead of the main corridor which was nice, we never heard anybody walking by our cabin as there wasn’t any reason for somebody to come down here unless they had a cabin in here.
The Ship Was Originally Launched in 1999
Before I came on the ship I did read reviews of the cabin and many mentioned the room looked dated. Although the ship is fairly new to Azamara and is often advertised as Azamaras ‘new ship’, she was actually built in 1999 and spent most of her life as Pacific Princess for Princess Cruises.
The cabins have barely changed in that time.
My first impression of the cabin was good, it felt light and bright and I liked the sofa space.
I didn’t know at this point what the extra sofa meant that we would have to sacrifice but I sat here as I unpacked and the extra space was nice.
There were lots of mirrors in the cabin so I could see myself in multiple at a time if I wanted to.
There were a couple of little mirrors by the bed too, so it made the room feel very spacious.
Our Bed Was Set up as a Double – But we Changed it
When we entered the cabin, the bed was made up as a double bed. I was cruising with my brother so when the cabin steward introduced himself to us we asked if the bed could be changed to twins.
This is pretty common on most cruise ships and the only cruise line I’ve ever found where the bed couldn’t be changed to twins was onboard the Disney Magic – I had to sleep on a sofa during that cruise which actually was pretty comfortable.
Most cruise lines will ask you in advance if you want double or twin beds, but Azamara didn’t.
It wasn’t a big deal though and because my brother and I have the same surname, cruise lines do assume that we are a married couple.
If you do take a cruise and find yourself in a situation like this, either ask your cabin steward or leave them a polite note on the bed. I did have a comment a while ago from somebody who didn’t realise they could split the beds so they awkwardly shared with their friend all week – you don’t have to do that!
The Inside Cabin Was a Fair Size
Inside cabins onboard the Azamara Onward are around 15 square feet, which is pretty standard.
The room definitely felt more spacious when we had the beds apart but I never felt claustrophobic in the room.
Our suitcases arrived a little while after we arrived in the cabin. One of the first things I did before unpacking was to get myself a Diet Coke from the minibar.
I usually cruise with mainstream and budget cruise lines where the minibar drinks cost a lot, so it was amazing to be able to just pick up a drink whenever I wanted it.
The mini bar was restocked when our room steward tidied our room which they did twice a day.
I Was Looking Forward to ‘Turndown Treats’
I remembered reading on the Azamara website about how we would get ‘turndown treats’.
Some cruise lines do give you chocolates on the pillow each night, which is always a nice surprise. It is hard to get out of that routine though, sometimes I come home from a cruise and wonder where my bedtime snack is.
Either way, I was looking forward to my turndown snack.
The design of my cabin is the same as the balcony cabins and the suites.
My Friends Let me Have a Look Around Their Suite
On the first day of my cruise, I met some lovely friends onboard who let me have a look around their suite – it had a huge lounge, a massive bedroom, tons of storage, and a balcony that stretched across the back of the ship.
The suites also come with butlers, but I’m not sure what I would do with a butler in reality.
There is a free-to-use laundry on Azamara cruise ships so at one point I did do some ironing. I guess if I had a butler they could have done that for me, but really I don’t know what I’d get them to do.
I wouldn’t want somebody unpacking my clothes, that just seems weird to me.
Nothing Was Damaged or Broken
It was easy to see that the ship wasn’t new but the cabin didn’t seem damaged or broken, there was a nice new TV and there were USB sockets by the bed.
The TV was parallel to my bed which meant that I couldn’t watch it from the bed which is where I usually would.
I suppose the idea is to watch TV from the sofa but we rarely did that either.
There were a couple of channels, one with movies on a loop and one with a few TV shows, there really wasn’t much though but I didn’t come on the cruise to watch TV.
The Sofa Meant Sacrificing Shower Space
I recently ran a poll asking if people would prefer a cabin with a sofa, or one with more storage in its place.
To my surprise, 72% of you said that you’d prefer the sofa!
I had no idea that people actually used the sofas in cabins as I usually sit in bed if I’m in the room. It’s not much good for entertaining guests, of course, but I very rarely invite anybody to my inside cabin – that isn’t the most fun place to hang out!
The Cabin Had Lots of Storage
We had plenty of storage with a big area for hanging clothes and lots of drawers.
It was about perfect for 2 of us sharing the cabin, but if there were 3 or 4 of you, which this cabin can hold, you’d have to be very smart with what you packed.
If you do have extra guests in the room they will sleep in what are called Pullman beds, these are beds that come down from the ceiling.
Your cabin steward will put these down each day and make them up again each night.
I have stayed in inside cabins before with 3 other people and it is okay, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a long time because you’re constantly tripping over each other’s stuff.
To see how this kind of layout works in reality, check out the video below:
The Bathroom Was Modern, But Small
Next on my to-explore list was the bathroom and this was the area that I really felt let the cabin down. I had read reviews online before that said that the shower was small and many called it unusable.
I thought to myself “no problem I’ve been on Virgin Voyages, they can’t make a bathroom smaller than that!” Well, they did.
I feel as though in order to fit in that extra sofa, they took the space away from the shower.
I didn’t have any way to measure the shower so I decided to measure it in toothpaste tubes, our shower was 2.5 toothpastes wide which really isn’t very big.
I thought it was perfectly normal when I made a post online about how big my shower was in tubes of toothpaste, it turns out that it isn’t a normal unit of measurement and it’s not really a very good one given how different toothpaste can be.
I think I have started a trend though because I’ve been sent lots of photos like this since!
The Design Was Modern Despite The Ship Not Being New
The design of the bathroom was lovely but there wasn’t very much storage space. Again it was fine for two of us because we didn’t have much, but for more people, it might be a struggle.
I did like all of the toiletries that they provided though and in true budget cruiser fashion I did take a few home, you can take the budget cruiser out of the budget ship but can’t take the budget attitude out of me.
The shower was okay when nobody was in it, if you just turned on the shower all of the water would fit into the bottom part but as soon as you stepped in and the water went off your arms or legs it would go all over the main cabin.
It was okay for me, just, but if you are taller, or wider than me I think you’d have trouble.
It is a shower curtain too and it absolutely did stick to me the entire time.
Did The Other Cabins Have The Same Bathroom?
I did wonder if the other cabins had the same bathroom and I was lucky enough to get to have a look inside a friend’s cabin later in the cruise.
When I tweeted about this cabin I had a message from a friend who said that they had actually managed to shave the shower curtain instead of their leg, I totally see how that could happen.
Because of the position of the toilet too when you were sat there you would often have a face full of whatever was hanging on the back of the door, great if you need a nap I suppose, but it’s weird that the toilet wasn’t facing sideways like normal.
Happy to report that the toilet paper was decent though, on some cruise lines it can be like tissue paper, but not this time!
Even though the bathroom was small it was always spotlessly clean and we were very well looked after by our cabin steward.
Our Cabin Steward Was Fantastic
Our cabin steward was pretty magic, we would go to breakfast for the shortest time and he would manage to come in and make up our cabin before we came back.
I always try to leave my cabin as tidy as possible so that all they have to do is make the bed, I do try but I can’t do it to the standard that they do and to change the towels.
We Slept VERY Well
The beds in our cabin were very fluffy, it was like sleeping on a big cloud and the pillows were too.
I loved that there was a proper duvet and the storage in the bedside table was useful.
I did have a plug socket behind my head which in theory would be useful but you can’t really use it overnight or you’ll get awoken when you roll over and get a plug to the face, trust me on that one I did try it for the first night of the cruise.
The trade-off though was that we had this button in the middle of the beds that we could use to turn off the main lights.
If we had the bed as a double we would have been able to use the side plug sockets but also would have risked turning on all the nights in the middle of the night.
Which Plug Sockets Were There?
There were two US and two UK sockets on the desk and here there was also a safe and some bottles of water.
If you are ever taking a cruise and wondering which plug sockets are in. the cabin, check out this table which you can search by ship: Complete Cruise Ship Plug Socket Guide: Search by Ship
I Loved The Colour Scheme
I liked the colour scheme of the cabin and that may have been impacted by the last inside cabin I had on the budget cruise line Carnival.
My Carnival inside cabin was very colourful and although I prefer the design of the Azamara cabin, I think the Carnival cabin was actually a better design for me, the bathroom was about double the size for a start!
I think it’s a case of style over substance, our Costa ship definitely didn’t have any style but it was very functional, the Azamara cabin was very beautiful, but a little less functional because of that shower.
The Carpet Had Been Changed
When looking at the website I saw that the design of the carpet was, well to be honest I thought it looked like somebody had spilled paint and dragged somebody across the room.
In reality, it was much more subtle and I quite liked it.
I spent a lot of time on the floor actually laying near my cabin door to get the 4G from outside.
We did have fresh flowers in our cabin which was nice and these little chocolate pieces would arrive each night before bed. It was more like having a tiny piece of chocolate cake, or a tiny little brownie before bed, not sure I really understand it but I definitely enjoyed it.
Towards the end of our cruise, we started to notice a problem with our cabin door.
Given the ship’s age, it wasn’t a big surprise and Azamara did fix it pretty quickly. This below video shows the problem and the fix:
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