Higher isn’t necessarily better, even at sea, and coupling a very relaxing experience with value pricing is a hard one to beat. I just came off a beautiful cruise on Star Clippers’ Royal Clipper, and I wouldn’t have traded my waterline Category 3 stateroom for the Owner’s Suite (although the latter is certainly gorgeous).
Most cruise ship accommodations are priced from the bottom of the ship up: generally speaking, the lower the stateroom location, the lower the price. Plus, most of the best suites with the most luxury features are also located at the top of the ship. But there are other advantages to waterline staterooms besides the cheaper price.
For one, the view is absolutely gorgeous. Ironically, some of the most-frequented onboard restaurants are placed low on the ship, at the stern or bow. This is so clients can see where they’re sailing as well as enjoy the hypnotic foaming spread of the wake. Waterline staterooms, too, look out directly onto the horizon and the skyscape, but also right on the wave — the waves breaking against the side of the ship are every bit as beautiful and riveting as they are at the stern. Then, there’s the rhythmic swoosh and spill of the waves, one of the most soothing sounds in the world. With this soundtrack, I find myself putting down my book or gazing out to sea for much longer than I intended, just to relax into the break and flow. Waking in the night to hear the constant sound of the sea is subject matter for relaxation CDs, and it’s all live at the waterline.
In addition, clients sailing in lower staterooms have a smaller chance of suffering from seasickness. I love the rocking motion that occurs when the wind comes up, and, at the waterline, it feels far gentler than it does on the upper decks. The only problem is a tendency to drift off to sleep when you’re supposed to be doing something else.
It’s usually quieter on the lower decks. Perhaps it’s the insulating properties of the water just below. Regardless, walking down the hallway of the lower deck and relaxing in the cabin is an exercise in peace.
I’m not alone in my discovery. I met a couple on a recent cruise on a different cruise line, and they always book a back-corner stateroom, despite being able to afford any accommodation on the ship. Sometimes they book two rooms for space, but they always book where the sea breaks just beneath them. Now if the cruise lines could only be persuaded to put some suites down there, I would never look up again.