Travel Plans Apr 15, 2024

Cruise cabins vs. hotel rooms: the similarities and differences.

Cruise cabins are luxe hotel rooms at sea.

Virgin Voyages

Cruises take all the best parts of a traditional vacation while injecting some seriously exciting non traditional elements too. If you’re a fan of staying in hotels, with all the pampering, amenities, and comfort they offer, you’ll find a cruise cabin pretty familiar, but with one important difference – instead of a view of a parking lot, you’ll have a view of the ocean. Cruise cabins also offer far more value than luxury hotels, since you’re not just getting a room. You’re getting access to our almost all-included luxury experience, and the ability to step out of your room and into a new port almost every day. Here’s what every prospective Sailor should know about our cruise cabins. 

What are cruise cabins (staterooms) like on cruise ships?

Cruise cabins, also known as staterooms, are your oasis within an oasis. Your home base. Your inner sanctum. And on our adults-only ships, these inner sanctums are equipped with cutting-edge technology like mood lighting and room keys in the form of a wearable band. You can also make purchases with your wearable band, really taking the convenience to the next level. The best part about having a cruise cabin as your home base is that you can visit multiple destinations and only unpack once, and you don’t even have to leave the room to feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. Just relax on your balcony hammock and soak in the sun and sea breeze.

Similarities between cruise cabins and hotel rooms

Although standard cruise cabins are smaller than hotel rooms, there are several similarities that will make hotel veterans feel right at home. If you’re the kind of traveler who likes to come home after a long day of exploring, flop down on the hotel bed, turn on the AC, and bliss out with some TV, a cruise cabin will more than quench your thirst for relaxation. Like hotels, there are multiple options available depending on your party size – solo rooms, double occupancy, or larger, more luxurious suites called RockStar Quarters. You can also choose between insider, ocean view, and balcony rooms. Here’s what you can expect from our luxurious cabins.

Sea View Cabin

Room essentials for cruise cabins & hotel rooms

Hotels and cruises ultimately offer vastly different vacation experiences, but their lodgings are cut from the same cloth. Here’s what you can expect from your cruise cabin.

Baggage Porter Service

Much like bellhops at hotels, we offer a baggage porter service that delivers your luggage from the port to the cruise cabin. 

Room Service

Everyone’s favorite part of staying in a hotel, room service means enjoying your favorite meals from the comfort of your own bed. On our ships, not only can you get food delivered to your room, but also towels and other amenities you might need. And the best part is – gratuities are included in the cost of the cruise.

Room Cleanliness

Unlike Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, who have cut their housekeeping services back to once a day, you can expect our housekeeping to clean your room twice per day, meaning our cruise cabins are typically cleaner than the average hotel room

Queen or King Size Bed Options

Like hotel rooms, you can choose between Queen or King size beds for sleeping comfortably, depending on whether you’re traveling solo or with a partner (and how cozy you feel like getting with that partner). You can also opt for two double beds, for those traveling with a friend. 

Free Breakfast

Okay, we lied before. The best part about staying in hotels (most hotels, anyway) is the free breakfast. Well, we hear you. While not every hotel offers free breakfast, Virgin Voyages does, along with a host of other free dining options in our 20+ onboard eateries included with your cruise cabin fare.

Air Conditioning

An essential that you might not even think about until you realize it’s missing. Our Sailors can adjust the room temperature, so you can cool down after a long day lounging in the heat, or warm up after taking a dip in one of our Redemption Spa’s cold plunge pools.

Complimentary water

Not only do Virgin Voyages cruise cabins come with complimentary water, there are water stations across the ship where you can refill your personal water bottle. 


Obviously, like hotel rooms, your cruise cabin will have a private bathroom with a sink, shower, and toilet. The bathrooms might be a little cozy, but they’re modern, sustainably designed, and have all the essentials you need for a comfortable voyage.

Clean Towels & Rags

Fresh towels and rags are available from our housekeeping service. You can even ask for them to be delivered between cleanings. 

Bathroom Essentials & Toiletries

This isn’t one of those Airbnbs where you show up to find an empty bathroom, and need to make a last-minute run to a convenience store just to brush your teeth. Expect to find the basic toiletries in your cabin bathroom – including a hairdryer – which can be restocked at any time by room service.


As much as we encourage disconnecting and enjoying your time at sea, we’re realistic too. Staying connected is important. That’s why – unlike some hotels and many other cruise lines – we offer free Wi-Fi in all our cruise cabins.

Power Outlets and USB Connector

To help you stay even more connected, we made sure each room has both power outlets and a USB connector for conveniently charging your devices.

Flat-Screen TV

Every cruise cabin has a flat-screen TV, so you can unwind and zone out after a busy day exploring a port and our onboard amenities.

Work Desk

We know that working from home is all the rage right now, but we want to take WFH to the next level – working from sea. To make this easier on our remote working Sailors, each room has a dedicated work desk. Or, you know, you could just set up your laptop on your balcony hammock (though we’re not sure how much work you’ll actually get done).

Closet and Luggage Storage Areas

Like hotel rooms, you’ll find a closet and storage area to hang clothes and store your suitcases, as well as a safe to protect your valuables.

Differences between cruise cabin & hotel rooms

Despite these similarities, there are also plenty of differences between a hotel room and cruise cabin, from the view to the experiences waiting outside your door. Indeed, many even claim to sleep better on cruise ships than in any other type of lodging. These are the key differences between cruise ship rooms and hotel rooms.

Room Size

It probably comes as no surprise that a standard cruise cabin is smaller than a typical hotel room, but that’s because cruise cabins are built for ultimate convenience. Cabin layouts take advantage of small spaces to give you everything you need without any excess space. 


Sure, hotel rooms have windows, but they usually overlook freeways and parking lots. While not all cruise cabins have windows, those that do overlook a spectacular ocean horizon, and many of our rooms even have balconies with hammocks, perfect for spending a lazy morning.

Room Access

Gone are the days of wiggling a key in a lock, or even digging through your wallet to find a key card. Our Sailors access their cabins with a smart wristband, which also gives them entrance to the ship itself after returning from Shore Things.

Clever Rooms with Mood Lighting

In most hotels, you can’t control the lighting beyond flipping a switch on and off. In our cabins, an easy-to-use tablet gives you access to sophisticated lighting controls, including mood lighting. 

Clothes Iron and Steamers

While we can’t keep irons or steamers in our rooms, as hotels do, for safety reasons, we can provide steamers upon special request.

TV Stations

Sailors can browse dozens of stations on our HDTV, and though you might not find every channel you’re used to back home, you can stream shows and movies using our fast Wi-Fi connection on your own devices. 

Room for a Couch

Our rooms are designed with versatility in mind. That means you can transform the Seabed into a couch setup, forming an L-shaped lounging couch perfect for group gatherings. 

Balcony with a Hammock

Some hotel rooms have balconies, but the balconies in our rooms come with our signature red hammocks, perfect for sleeping in the sea breeze. It’s so comfortable, you can even sleep in it. No need to bring the mattress outside, like on some cruise lines

Included Dining

Most hotels have restaurants, but they’re usually pretty pricey, and the food often sacrifices quality for convenience. Within just a few minutes’ walk of your cruise cabin, you’ll find over 20 free onboard dining options.

Included Amenities

Our pool and outdoor hot tubs are a staple of our ship, but unlike hotels, Sailors can also look forward to a full spa with pools of varying temperatures, as well as group fitness classes.

Included Entertainment

Hotels might have plenty of amenities, but we’re willing to bet they don’t have Broadway-caliber entertainment. We’ve got immersive shows in our Red Room theater that you wouldn’t even find in Vegas.

Comparing cost and value with what’s included

When you’re booking cruise ship rooms, you want to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. Our cabins represent over $1,000 in value, including over 20 onboard dining options, Wi-Fi, group fitness classes, free bookable karaoke rooms, shows and entertainment, and essential soft drinks and water.

Virgin Voyages

Destination, location and views are everything for travel accommodations

It can be easy to get caught up in the destination when you’re booking a vacation, and almost forget to consider what your accommodations will look like. Your lodging can make or break a trip, which is why we like our cruise cabins to be part of the vacation experience itself. When you book a cruise ship room, you’re getting a destination and accommodation all in one. All it takes to feel transported to another world is opening your blinds, or stepping onto your balcony, and taking in the scenery of a new port or enjoying the vast ocean views. 

Plan ahead to book the best cruise cabins 

Like booking a hotel room, when booking your cruise cabin of choice it’s essential to plan ahead. Our Sailor Services team makes it easy to plan a cruise in advance, assisting not only with cabins, but also booking flights and even hotels for the days prior to or following your departure. No matter your destination, a cruise cabin is the perfect way to enjoy the luxury of a hotel, but with all the exciting amenities unique to our cruise ships – not to mention waking up to shimmering ocean views. There's a reason our cruise ships were called a "boutique hotel at sea" by Feature writer, Rod Gilmour, because travelers who love hotel rooms, also love our modern superyacht-inspired cabins.

Share article
Virgin Voyages Spinner