Normally if you take a cruise your cabin will be one of hundreds or thousands of identical metal boxes, made and slid into the side of the cruise ship.
There isn’t a lot of variety between cabins and even across different cruise lines, they look fairly similar.
It wasn’t like that on my last cruise though, because I stayed in a suite on a luxury superyacht called Emerald Azzurra.
There were only 84 other guests on the ship and I saw and did things that I couldn’t have imagined pre-cruise, there were dramatic highs and lows and it definitely wasn’t what I expected.
Usually, when I cruise you’ll find me in the cheapest inside cabin, probably right at one end of the cruise ship and usually in a location that many would call “undesirable.” I really didn’t know what to expect when I boarded the ship in Athens.
This was so far out of my normal world. I knew that the cabin would be bigger than I was used to, but had no idea how they could make a cabin luxurious.
I was assigned cabin 502 right at the front of deck 5. The cabin is one of only 14 balcony cabins on this deck and we were located right next to the bridge.
I was nervous about feeling a lot of movement and feeling seasick being on such a small ship, but only time would tell how I would find the motion of the ocean.
When we embarked, we walked straight into the reception area and up two flights of stairs to deck 5. We didn’t have far to go to get to our cabin and that would quickly become one of my favourite parts about cruising on a yacht.
When we first found the cabin I was amazed by the size. Usually, cruise ship cabins are long and thin but the main part of the cabin felt almost as wide as it was long.
The cabin is a very impressive 29 square metres. That might not sound huge, but when you consider that this ship is only 110 metres long in total – and that the average cruise ship balcony cabin on the big ships is 18 metres squared – that is pretty impressive.
I loved the decor in the room and I quickly noticed that something was different from every cruise ship cabin I’ve been in before.
Usually, the cabins are just metal boxes and as a result, the walls are all magnetic. The walls of this cabin though had thick, padded material squares on top, this definitely made it feel more like a luxurious hotel room than a cruise ship cabin.
It was great for keeping out noise too, on cruise ships you can normally hear everything that your neighbours do, but we didn’t hear any noise from anybody else.
To find out more about the noise you may hear in your cruise cabin, read this article next:
To the left, I noticed a big desk area with some magical-looking “QuietVox” Boxes. These were what we used when we went out on excursions. They meant that we could listen to our guide even when they weren’t close to us.
There were a couple of water bottles here – which we got to keep – and a few plug sockets.
There was a minibar under the desk, which we didn’t use during our cruise.
We did have the all-inclusive drinks package, but that still doesn’t include drinks in the mini bar – which I think is a bit odd.
This cruise definitely isn’t a budget option and given that we could have any drinks at the bars anytime, it felt a little weird that I couldn’t at least drink the soda from the minibar. (Not that we had very far to go if we wanted to go to the bar to get a drink!)
Beyond that was a kettle, coffee machine and a couple of jugs of water that were filled up for us every day.
There was a big TV that had lots of movies on it. On quite a lot of other cruise lines they’ll charge for movies, but all of the ones on here are free, so we watched quite a few during the cruise.
The TV also had the ship’s daily schedule, and it would be updated every evening. There was a bow cam on the front of the ship so we could see what was happening at the front of the ship. This was very cool when we went through the Corinth Canal.
I was looking forward to watching a sail away from the balcony, but first I headed into the bathroom to have a look around.
The bathroom was clean, comfortable and stylish and It was pretty similar to bathrooms I’ve had on cruise ships in the past. This one also had a bonus sprayer to wash your bum by the toilet, and lots and lots of storage.
We did have one problem with this bathroom, but more about that later.
Heading back into the cabin I decided to test out my bed before heading out on the balcony. The beds were incredibly soft and comfortable and the pillows were very fluffy, it was like being surrounded by a cloud.
To the side, there were a couple of little alcoves to the sides of the beds where I put things like my pyjamas and my phone.
There definitely wasn’t a shortage of plug sockets in the cabin, and I was very happy to see a universal socket meaning which meant that I didn’t have to use an adapter.
There weren’t any bedside tables but the shelf part here kind of took on that role. There were bedside lights here, and laying in bed and watching the sunset through the windows was incredible. It felt so peaceful.
Heading out to the balcony I was really impressed by its size. It was about as wide as other cruise ship balcony cabins, but it stretched quite a long way. It had two chairs and a table on it.
I of course, being the nosy person that I, am decided to peer around the end of my balcony and to my surprise, I could see the Bridge and the bridge bits on the side.
We were actually able to go out on this deck in front of the Bridge anytime. We could just walk into the bridge because the ship has an open Bridge policy.
Usually on a cruise ship, you aren’t able to go into the Bridge – and if you are it’s mostly just if you have paid to go on a tour.
The idea of just walking onto the Bridge and chatting to the Captain who is sailing the ship is something very special.
Find out more about that in the article below:
I sat down in the comfortable chair and we were so close to the water. We weren’t moving so I couldn’t hear the sea, but as the cruise went on I’d often sit out here and listen to the waves. At night it was amazing, I could see all the stars.
There’s something very special about sitting there and looking out to at sea in every direction. Some people find that scary, but I find it very relaxing.
In front of the balcony door was a curtain and a big electric blind that came down when I pressed a button. You could look around the blind if it was down, which was good, as I like to have a look out in the morning, before opening the blind completely.
The blind was a very good blackout blind too, so there was never any light creeping in.
Our luggage soon arrived in our room and we started to unpack. There was a lot of storage in the cabin, with big drawers under the desk and two big wardrobe sections.
There was a great “bits and bobs” drawer too for all of the general stuff that you need when cruising – like hair bands and cables.
This is the first cabin I’ve ever seen with specific shoe storage racks. We definitely had more shoe storage space than shoes.
The safe was huge and could fit a laptop and more. It was top-loading and I think you’re less likely to accidentally leave something at the back if you can see it all.
Most safes are like just looking into a black hole – there could be anything in there!
Usually, I put my suitcase under the bed when I cruise, and as the cruise goes on I’ll put my dirty clothes into the suitcase.
I noticed that there were hard sides to the bed and I had read that our cabin steward would put our suitcases under there for us. My dad decided to put his under there himself because he’s a “DIY” kinda man, but I put mine in the wardrobe so I could keep putting my dirty clothes away. We had plenty of storage space to spare!
There was also a little sofa which I’d often lay on to catch up with my work, and a big chair over by the mirror.
Personally, I think it’s things like the giant mirror that really made the cabin feel luxurious, perhaps because mirrors aren’t cheap and they definitely aren’t easy to replace if they get broken.
Luckily nothing in our cabin, or the entire ship for that matter, was ever damaged and it all felt very new and sparkly.
Perhaps my favourite thing in the wardrobe – better than all of my own clothes – was the robe. These are provided in all of the cabins and they are HUGE, so soft and have a hood. Oh and pockets! What more could you ask for?
I was pretty impressed with the cabin visually but none of this was the thing that surprised me most, that was still to come.
Our cabin was cleaned twice a day and every single day of this cruise. I came back to a surprise here everyday, and sometimes a surprise twice a day!
Whenever I cruise I take our channel mascot Captain Hudson with me, he was created to raise money for a brilliant charity called “Mercy Ships” and this clever cat has raised over £28,000 for charity so far.
There are over 3000 of him in existence and usually, when he cruises he just sits and looks after the cabin.
On this cruise though every day when I came back to my room Captain Hudson had been up to something exciting.
One day I found him having a spa day, the next he was having afternoon tea with a friend and even reading a book in the evening.
I tried my best to create situations for my cabin steward to find too – but she was far more creative than me, I mean look at the little straw in the first picture – it has been cut down to size. Adorable!
I thought that this would be it for Captain Hudson’s adventures but I came back to even more on the last night of the cruise. More about that later...
Of course, even having amazing staff can’t fix every possible problem. I’m sure they would do almost anything, but there are some things that are out of their control like the weather.
I was worried about feeling bad movement due to the size of the ship and I definitely did feel that on this cruise. I was aware of the movement on about half the days – and one day things did get pretty rough.
I took my seasickness pills and felt fine but it definitely was like being on a rocky ocean ship.
I tried a new wristband that I had bought that’s meant to treat seasickness. It turns out that being electrocuted in the wrist really isn’t very pleasant. Sure, it distracts you from the seasickness, but at what cost?
Over by the door were two buttons that we would press if we wanted to not be disturbed, or if we wanted our cabin to be cleaned.
These would turn on lights outside the room so our cabin steward knew what we wanted. This was much better than the old-school paper signs, and the technology on the ship all worked well.
You’d hope that it would for a ship that was only a couple of years old, but even still, I’m always impressed by the little things like the nightlight in the bathroom that was on all the time.
It was red so it did make things look a little evil, but I appreciated it when using the bathroom at night.
We did find that the water would go everywhere after a shower because the shower was on the same level as the floor. There was no way you could put down the shower mat without it moving when you opened the door, releasing the water like a big wave everywhere.
I did find that a bit amusing because it’s a very common complaint on cruise ships that the whole bathroom gets wet after a shower. This just goes to show that even expensive yachts don’t always have this problem fixed.
Each night we also found a little chocolate on the pillow which was nice – but it wasn’t as nice as finding this surprise on my bed.
I came back one evening to find pictures of Captain Hudson and his adventures on the bridge, and in the kitchen – he even had a massage in the spa and I had no idea that he had left my cabin at all!
On the big cruise ships, you’ll usually find a crew-to-passenger ratio of around 3:1 or 2:1 if you are very lucky. On this ship, there were 76 crew members for 85 guests.
This meant that even toy cats were treated like royalty!
Emerald Azzurra does have a few oceanview cabins lower down and she has lots of bigger suites with huge balconies at the back.
There aren’t any inside cabins onboard. Most luxury ships don’t have any inside cabins.
Last year I did manage to find an inside cabin on a bigger luxury ship. When the price of the cruise dropped enough to come under my budget I decided to book it.
I really didn’t know how they could make an inside cabin luxurious, to find out how it was, and what I thought of the smallest bathroom I’ve ever had on a cruise ship, check out this video next:
Before You Go
A mainstream cruise line that says they offer a luxury experience is Celebrity. I was lucky enough to sail on the Celebrity Edge recently. Find out what I thought of her here:
Celebrity Edge has a platform known as the Magic Carpet that sticks off the side of the ship. It is a bar, a restaurant, and is also lowered to be used as a tendering platform. Find out all about that here:
Celebrity Edge has the controversial “Infinite Veranda” cabins instead of conventional balcony cabins. They have no actual outside space. Learn more about that here:
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