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We Stayed in 3 Different Balcony Cabins (P&O’s Arvia and Iona) – Comparison

If you are considering sailing on P&O’s Arvia or Iona, you may wonder if a balcony cabin would suit you. I have stayed in three types in the past.

P&O’s Arvia and Iona are sister ships. I have sailed on both – they are very very similar in many ways.

The design and decor of the cabins are identical, so if you are sailing on either ship – this article will help.

P&O’s Iona and Arvia

Arvia is the largest ship ever commissioned for the British cruise market at around 184,700 gross tonnes.

Iona is very slightly smaller at around 184,089 tonnes.

Iona has been sailing since 2020, and Arvia joined the P&O fleet in 2022.

Both Iona and Arvia have a normal operating capacity of 5,200 guests and 1,800 crew – but if all the 3rd and 4th berths are in use she can take just over 6500 passengers.

Iona is home to 2,614 cabins, including 1,366 Balcony, 120 Deluxe Balcony and 95 Conservatory Mini-suites

Arvia has more Balcony cabins than sister ship Iona, some of which are Deluxe Balcony cabins which have nearly as much space as a suite.

She has fewer conservatory mini-suite cabins than Iona.

Standard Balcony Cabins On Arvia and Iona

Balcony cabins range between 142 and 279 square feet / 13 and 25 square metres.

Balcony cabins can hold up to 4 people.

The cabins are decorated in tasteful blues and creams, with a striking patterned carpet on the floor.

All Balcony Cabins Have:

  • A double bed that can be made into two twins
  • A sofa bed that can be made up as a single bed. If four people are sharing a cabin there will be a fourth bed (Pullman bed) that comes down from the ceiling above the sofa bed.
  • A table that can be used as a bedside table if the sofa bed is occupied.
  • A desk area and a chair.
  • Mini Fridge
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe inside the wardrobe/closet
  • Bedside tables with USB charging port on one side only
  • Tea and Coffee making facilities
  • Interactive TV with many TV shows and films to choose from, free of charge.
My balcony cabin on Arvia

The Bathroom

The bathroom was very well designed to make the most of the available space.

The shower was a good size, had a glass shower door and water didn’t leak out into the rest of the room, making everything wet – like so many other cruise ship bathrooms I have stayed in.

Our room was made up just once a day. Unfortunately, there were no bedtime chocolates involved like there are on some other cruise lines.

There were magnetic “Do Not Disturb” and “I’m Out Exploring” signs so that the cabin steward knew whether to come in and clean or not.

The balcony area was a good size and had two comfortable chairs to sit in.

My Cabin Was – 12118

Arvia plan cabin 12118

What I Particularly Liked:

  • I liked the design and style of the cabin and the bed was very comfy
  • The well-designed bathroom.
  • The design of the table by the sofa which was a great space-saving design
  • The interactive TV was great for checking my onboard account, and there was a lot of choice when it came to things to watch.
  • We had a great view from our balcony of the promenade deck – and the land when we were docked.
  • Good hairdryer

Things That I Didn’t Like:

  • Not a great deal of storage – ok for two people, but it would be a struggle if four people were sharing the cabin.
  • There was no magnet on the shower door – only a minor detail – but I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night when the sea was quite rough. I opened the bathroom door and walked straight into the glass shower door which had swung open!
  • USB socket by the bed on one side only.
  • My location was right at the front of the ship. It was a long walk to anywhere ( which I don’t particularly mind, but it certainly wouldn’t suit everyone). Because of the location, the movement of the ship was far more noticeable than elsewhere.
  • Even when the balcony door was tightly shut, the noise of the wind through it was SO loud. Luckily I am quite a heavy sleeper…

Would I Choose Balcony Cabin number 12118 Again?

I would happily stay in a standard balcony again but if I was choosing the location I’d pick one closer to the middle to minimise movement and the wind.

If I booked a guaranteed cabin and was assigned this cabin again I would still be happy.

I often choose “Guaranteed” cabins where I don’t get to choose the location onboard to save money. Find out more about that here:

I Always Book Guaranteed Cabins on Cruise Ships – (Photo Examples, Regrets & More)

My Parent’s Balcony -15602

Arvia deck plan cabin 15602

My parent’s balcony cabin was exactly the same in design as mine.

My brother shared with them, so there were three in the cabin, with my brother Max sleeping on the sofa bed.

Three adults sharing a cabin – the third person sleeps on the sofa.

They also found the cabin to be very comfortable and well-designed, but there were a few things they didn’t like about the location.

What they didn’t like:

  • Because it was on deck 15, and deck 16 stuck out further, the cabin never got the sun.
  • There was a metal bulkhead between them and the next-door cabin, instead of the normal partition. This made the area even darker.
  • There wasn’t really enough storage/wardrobe space for three adults.
  • The location of the cabin, below the kitchen area of the buffet, was very noisy.

“The hard working crew were working in the kitchens until around two or three every morning – then started again around 5am. They were dropping things, dragging stuff about, slamming doors – even wearing ear plugs every night, we never got a good nights sleep.”

– My Mum

Would They Choose Balcony Cabin Number 15602 Again?

No, definitely not!

My parents have taken over fifty cruises, and have never had a cabin anywhere near as noisy as this one.

If you value a good night’s sleep – choose a balcony cabin on a deck further down.

Cabins on decks 14 through to 10 are surrounded by only other cabins, not public areas – they would be far quieter.

Promenade Deck Conservatory Cabin (Mini Suite)

Cabin 8304 on Iona

Conservatory Mini Suite cabin no 8304

When I sailed on Iona, we had the Conservatory Mini Suite on deck 8.

These conservatory mini-suites are identical in every way to a standard balcony cabin – but they have an additional Conservatory seating area.

Conservatory Mini Suite on Iona
Conservatory Mini Suite on Iona

The balcony opens out directly onto the promenade deck, so you don’t have an uninterrupted view of the Ocean.

People can be walking past the end of your balcony at any time of the day or night. There are also hot tubs situated on the promenade deck, and they can be quite close to your cabin.

(Having said that you also can’t get down onto the promenade deck to use the hot tubs without climbing over the edge of the glass balcony partition. It’s a long way round.)

As with the standard balcony cabin, I loved the design and layout of the cabin itself.

Having the extra conservatory area was a bonus, as I was sharing a cabin with my parents and sleeping on the sofa bed. Space was at a premium.

Deck 8 Iona Mini Suite Conservatory Cabin
Deck 8 Iona Mini Suite Conservatory Cabin

Things that People Don’t Like About Conservatory Mini Suites

  • The suites on deck 8 are at the same level as the promenade deck, so people are walking past them all the time. The same suite on deck 9 would give you more privacy.
  • People may be able to see into your conservatory area, depending on the light. P&O have put a mirrored surface on the patio doors to try to prevent this from happening, but if you have the lights on in the conservatory, people are likely to be able to see you in there.
  • No direct view of the ocean – there is the promenade deck and glass screens between you and the sea.

Find out more about that Mini Suite Cabin here:

Many Ships Are Similar To Arvia and Iona

Other ships sailing for other cruise lines are built to the same basic design as Arvia and Iona. These include:

  • AIDAnova
  • AIDAcosma,
  • Costa Smeralda
  • Costa Toscana
  • Carnival Mardi Gras
  • Carnival Celebration
  • Carnival Jubilee

The Interior design and decor of the ships are very different though. P&O’s Arvia and Iona have tasteful, muted colours throughout.

I sailed on Costa Smeralda – every single deck was painted a different bright colour!

My balcony cabin had a very unusual feature. Watch the video below to find out about that:

Before You Go

I also stayed in the cheapest inside cabin on Iona to see if it offered good value for money. It was one of my favourite inside cabins ever. Find out all about that cabin here:

P&O Iona Inside Cabin Photo Review – Space, Bathroom, Cleanliness and More

Find out how P&O’s Mega ships Iona and Arvia compare to the older ships in the P&O fleet here:

I Cruised on P&O’s Iona and Ventura – Here’s How They Compare

Free Insiders Cruise Line Guide

Ever wondered how the mainstream cruise lines compare? Cruise lines won’t tell you this, but I will.

This FREE guide shows you everything you need to know to find your perfect cruise line.