I know this is really nitpicking, but I really wish that the virtual tours of cruise ships cabins provided by cruise lines provided more detailed information. Specifically, many ships have several rooms within a category or class that have different configurations or lay outs from the standard rooms in that category. Most cruise lines do not provide pictures or details about these rooms.
I am most familiar with Celebrity Cruise lines because I have taken my last 4 cruises with them. The example that comes to mind is that of the current virtual tour of the Mercury ship. On the Panorama Deck, Cabin 8259 is listed as a 2A which is Mercury’s version of standard veranda stateroom and 8253 is listed as a standard inside cabin. When you click on these cabins to get more details on their lay out and configuration, they are listed as the standard version of these cabins. However, I have stayed in cabin 8259 twice, and I know that it is larger than the standard 170 sq ft and has a queen size bed that is surrounded by walls on three sides requiring a second sleeper to climb over the other person in order to get in or out of the bed. It also has a sliding divider between the two parts of the room and a larger balcony. This room is one of the few balcony rooms that will hold 4 or 5 passengers on the Mercury. It just seems that these details might be important in helping a potential passenger decide which cabin to book. Cabin 8253 is also larger than a standard inside cabin. It has the identical lay out to 8259, the larger size of about 220 sq ft, it just doesn’t have any windows or a balcony. This cabin will indeed hold a family of 5, but its says that no where on the Celebrity website.
On Royal Caribbeans website, if you click on the link of the Family Ocean View rooms, you get an architectural rendering that shows one configuration, a snap shot that shows something else, and a 360 Degree view that doesn’t show the whole room. The rooms are clearly different from Deck 7 and Deck 8, and yet the web site only has one picture and tour for this type of room.
The Holland America website has one picture and one rendering for each type of state room and then adds the disclaimer “Important Note: Not all staterooms within each category have the same furniture configuration and/or facilities. Appropriate symbols within the rooms on the deck plans describe differences from the stateroom descriptions below. All information is subject to change.”
NCL’s web site is also lacking in detailed information about specific state rooms. When you scroll through the deck plans and place your cursor over specific rooms, the same picture comes up for the same category of room even when it is obvious from the deck plan that the rooms are configured differently. They use the disclaimer “Stateroom images are representations only”.
On the Carnival cruise site, they again only picture the standard room configurations and then for the unusually configured rooms they simply display them under a different color and code with the disclaimer “not pictured, various configurations”.
So what is a potential cruiser to do? First a knowledgeable travel agent who is familiar with the various configurations can go a long way. Cruisers should look for an agent who is an expert in their line, has actually cruised or toured the ship, and has booked some of their customers into these unusual rooms. Another way to find information about these unusual rooms is to visit various cruise chat rooms. It is pretty easy to find someone who has stayed in these rooms and often they can post pictures of the room about which you are seeking information. Most of the time the information provided by other cruisers is very accurate and helpful.