I took a cruise on the last remaining ocean liner in the world and I stayed in the cheapest cabin onboard the entire ship.
It was less than half the size of the average hotel room in the US, and it was located right in the middle of the ship with no daylight or access to the outside world.
On the ship, there were 286 inside cabins which meant that realistically there would be at least 600 people on this cruise alone cruising in inside cabins. Possibly a lot more.
Pre-Conceived Ideas About Inside Cabins
Inside cabins are a popular choice for many but cruise lines very rarely advertise them, they’d usually promote the suites or the balconies.
You’ll never see the inside cabin on a Cunard advert and I wanted to find out why.
I did wonder if I would miss the outside space, I wasn’t sure if this cruise would be different with it being an Ocean Liner instead of a cruise ship.
I didn’t know how well a ship of this age would have been looked after.
The cruise that I booked was only three nights long, so I decided it would be a great way to test it out – without spending too much time, or money – just in case I didn’t like it.
We didn’t have great weather on this cruise and I do get seasick, but that isn’t something I was thinking about when I booked, I just wanted to get on board.
I hoped that the lack of daylight wouldn’t be a problem and that it wouldn’t feel claustrophobic especially since I would be sharing this cabin with my brother.
The Ship Itself
I knew that the Queen Mary 2 was built in 2002, but I hoped that the cabins and the ship had been refurbished since then.
The photos on Cunard’s website of the cabins did look very luxurious.
On a cruise, you can either pay a cruise fare and pick where your cabin will be, or you can save a bit of money and let the cruise line decide where to put you.
I decided to save the money, after all, we were only on for three days and I figured it couldn’t be ‘that bad’ – which always seems to be the famous last words!
There were reviews of this cabin that said that it was ‘not up to standard’, and ‘crumbling’ but also some that said that it was ‘blissfully perfect’ and ‘everything you could want in a cabin’.
The Queen Mary 2 has inside cabins all the way from deck 4 to deck 9.
I knew that I could be right at the front, right at the back, I could be given one of the cabins with an adjoining door which most people try to avoid or I could be in a noisy location.
I could even be given a cabin which was sideways – which would be kind of cool I guess!
A couple of weeks before the cruise I received an email with my cabin information.
I was assigned cabin 6198. I went straight to Cunard’s website and found my cabin towards the back of the ship.
To my surprise, I saw that it was right by the stairs, and I hoped that this wouldn’t cause any problems with noise.
The inside cabin that I was assigned was around 13 metres squared – which is very similar to a shipping container. It was 9ft wide which is about as wide as a bus.
The cabins are made fully formed before being loaded into the cruise ship so I knew that they couldn’t have been changed too much since the ship was launched. I hoped that the ship wouldn’t feel worn down or old.
Sometimes they do do things to ships after they’ve been launched – like they’ll split them in half and put an extra section in the middle, but I’ve never known them to actually change the cabins.
They do add in extra cabins sometimes, because they realise that they can make a lot of extra money from just one more cabin.
My Parents’ Sheltered Balcony Cabin
When we boarded the ship our first stop was actually my parent’s cabin, they were staying in a sheltered balcony and we of course wanted to have a look around.
I’ve never been in a balcony cabin quite like this one before that was set back into the ship. Our first impressions were very good, the cabin felt spacious and bright and we found a giant black bra in the back of one of the drawers!
The housekeeping team has an incredibly hard job turning around all the cabins on embarkation day and as this bra must have fallen down the back they missed it.
I hoped that our cabin would be as nice as this one, without the balcony of course and I didn’t think we would have all this space by the sofa because usually inside cabins are smaller.
My Inside Cabin
We headed down the stairs to our room and I was immediately hit with how much space there was, and how luxurious the little details like the bedding felt.
It’s difficult to make an inside cabin luxurious but the small things like the little cushions on the bed did do this.
I did notice that the bed was made up as a double even though I had requested twins pre-cruise. That isn’t a big deal though, as they are usually just two beds pushed together anyway.
We did end up writing a little note for our cabin steward and leaving it on the bed. When we went to dinner later it was changed – so that was great.
This does happen quite a lot, it would be good if the cruise lines would prioritise getting the information from the passengers to the room stewards so that they don’t have to make the beds twice.
On a lot of cruise lines, this still doesn’t happen. Still, no big deal, I wasn’t ready to go to bed at this point!
There was a chair and a table to the side opposite the desk but no sofa like you’ll find in some other inside cabins on other cruise lines.
To be honest I quite liked this as it made the room feel very spacious and usually, if I am in the cabin I just sit on the bed anyway.
What often happens is that when a cruise ship inside cabin has a sofa it means space has been taken from the bathroom. Personally I’d prefer a bigger shower to a sofa.
It wasn’t too long after this that our suitcases arrived.
Normally I would say “I didn’t have much packed because this was only a three-day cruise” – but this was a Cunard cruise and some of my dresses that I like to wear to dinner on Cunard Formal Nights do take up most of a suitcase...
Cunard are the most formal cruise line that there is. There were a couple of good mirrors in the cabin for looking at my sparkly dresses in.
When you cruise you put a luggage tag on your suitcase and then it’s taken away at embarkation in the port, it arrives magically in your cabin later in the day.
Realistically they are probably moving well over 3000 pieces of luggage in a couple of hours, which is mind-blowing.
There was plenty of storage in this cabin for me and my brother but these cabins do sometimes hold four people, and that would be more of a squeeze.
The extra two beds come down from the ceiling and these types of beds are called “Pullman Beds. “
I have stayed with three other people in an inside cabin like this before, and although it’s okay for a couple of days I wouldn’t recommend it for much longer.
The design of the drawers and fixtures did look dated in terms of style, but nothing was damaged or broken at all.
They were very spacious drawers actually, we didn’t end up using them all. One had a safe in it and there was a mini bar fridge too. We had enough space to put our suitcases at the bottom of the wardrobe.
One of the biggest complaints that I always hear on cruise ships is that they don’t have enough plug sockets.
I wouldn’t expect a ship built in 2002 to have a lot. but there were two UK and two US sockets on the desk which were more than enough for us.
It’s very rare to see U.K. plug sockets on a ship, so that was a treat.
I did use one of the sockets to plug in my daylight alarm clock and this is my favourite thing to bring when I’m cruising in an inside cabin.
It lights up slowly to simulate the sunrise, and means that you don’t wake up in the pitch black like you usually do in inside cabins. Find out all about them here:
There weren’t any plug sockets by the bed and no USBs – which is to be expected on a ship of this age.
I did really like the bedside tables with lamps though, and it was a great place to store pyjamas and little things that you don’t want to lose.
One of my favourite things about this cabin was the kettle.
It’s quite rare to get a kettle on American cruise lines – but even though Cunard are owned by the American company Carnival – it still is a very British experience onboard. There would be outrage if there was no kettle in the cabins!
There were biscuits too, replaced daily which I took home for emergencies. I think of taking biscuits from cruise ship cabins is like taking shampoos from hotels, I paid for them so I’m taking them home.
There’s enough other food on a cruise ship to eat, but maybe one day I’d need an emergency biscuit, and I always do.
Our room was cleaned twice a day, once in the morning when they would make the beds and tidy up, and again later when they would ‘turn down’ the room and leave us the daily schedule for the next day.
Most importantly, they would leave a chocolate on the pillow every evening too. It’s amazing how fast you can get used to having a bedtime chocolate.
The real question is, would you eat a chocolate after brushing your teeth? I always brush my teeth, then get into bed and find the chocolate…
Next on my “to-explore” list was the bathroom, it felt quite spacious (and that is the British version of “quite” not the American version)
There was a classic cruise ship toilet that works using suction and I do feel like the bathroom looked dated, but it worked perfectly.
It was always clean and the shower was actually pretty good despite the fact that it had a shower curtain.
It even had a little washing line – and washing is your Britishism of the week.
In the UK we use a washing machine to wash our clothes so we call it “doing the washing.” The clothes inside the machine is called the washing – hence putting your washing on the washing line.
Despite being right by the stairs we never heard people walking up and down the corridor.
Cunard isn’t known for being a party cruise line – and I think most of the guests were in bed by ten – so that probably has something to do with why we never heard much noise.
We did stay up until midnight one night, and we had the whole ballroom to ourselves! They were almost tidying the chairs up around us.
One thing that was very popular on this cruise though was walking laps around the promenade deck. Even though we were right below it, we never heard any noise.
The Winter Weather
It wasn’t exactly the weather to spend too much time outside on our cruise, we sailed from Southampton in February so most of the time we had to wrap up warm.
It was almost good for us that the weather was consistently bad, because that meant that we never had to think about what to wear. When you’re in an inside cabin you really have no idea what the weather is like outside.
You can Google it, or look on the TV to see what it is like – but sometimes you’ll get dressed and have to come back to get changed again.
On this cruise, it was just, which coat should I bring? Is it cold, or cold COLD? Are we going out, or are we going out OUT?
Despite the time of year though we never really felt any movement on the ship, even when we were in the inside cabin.
It’s never nice to feel seasick when you’re inside but that was definitely not something we had to think about on this cruise.
The Queen Mary 2 is an ocean liner which means that she is built to sail long distances and is better prepared to handle rough seas than most cruise ships.
There are more differences between ocean liners and cruise ships but that is the basic idea.
Find out more about that here:
Another one of my favourites was the room service which was free.
I suppose it would have been good if we did have a sofa so we could have sat on it to eat, but we had two chairs and really we just ordered it to test the room service breakfast.
On most cruise lines you have to pay for some of the room service – or all of it.
In total I paid £349 for this cabin for 3 nights based on two sharing the room – meaning that my brother also paid £349 ($436) for the 3 nights.
Considering the fact that included all the entertainment, food and the use of the ship I don’t think that’s too bad.
That price didn’t include daily gratuities which are tips that are added on at $14.50 per person per night and it didn’t include any drinks. I just paid for drinks as I went, and didn’t spend much extra at all.
My parents who had the balcony cabin paid £449 ($561) for their cabin each which was only £100 extra on top of the inside cabin.
Find out what I thought of the entire cruise here:
On most cruises there are Inside cabins, Oceanview cabins and Balcony cabins with an sea view – there isn’t normally anything in between those categories.
On a recent cruise, I stayed in a cabin which was technically a balcony, but where I could only see other cabins. There was no ocean view at all.
Find out what I thought about my Symphony of the Seas cabin here:
Before You Go
The Queen Mary 2 was the most stable ship I have ever sailed on. She was designed for rough Atlantic crossings. Unfortunately, I do get seasick if the sea is rough. Find out the best cabin to book if you are concerned about seasickness here:
Find out how to get the best possible cabin for your budget here:
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