June 13, 2021

Booking an Aft Stateroom

A roomy family stateroom on Celebrity’s Summit.


Everyone has their own preference when it comes to cabin selection on a cruise ship. Some people wouldn’t dream of booking a stateroom without a veranda while others would say they spend little time in their cabin and are quite happy with a window or even an inside cabin.

I prefer a stateroom with a balcony. So does my husband, and as our two boys grew from toddlers into teenagers, our cabin requirements also grew. One solution has been to book interconnecting outside staterooms to give us the space we now need. Another solution is to book a family stateroom, but these tend to fill up quickly, especially during school vacations. So when I saw a family veranda stateroom available on Celebrity’s Summit for a Caribbean cruise during March spring break, I promptly contacted our travel agent and asked him to book it for us.

The stateroom was everything I had hoped for. Located at the aft end of the ship, on Deck 7, it featured a roomy entrance area with lots of closet space and immediate access to the bathroom and master bedroom. A Japanese-style room divider with sliding door separated the master bedroom from the sitting area, which looked out onto the veranda. The veranda was huge, nearly as large as the cabin at 242 square feet. The cabin itself was 271 square feet.

The large balcony of an aft family stateroom gives kids lots of room to hang out.


The boys immediately staked out their territory, the sitting area, which became their bedroom at night when our room steward converted the sofas into beds. The downside to this arrangement was whenever the boys closed the sliding partition between the master bedroom and their sleeping area, which they did regardless of the time of the day, they effectively relegated their parents to an inside cabin. LOL.

The other reality was that the four of us were sharing one bathroom, which can be problematic when travelling with teenagers. A couple was staying in the family stateroom beside us. They told us that they like to book a family stateroom even though they travel as a couple, because they like the spacious cabin and veranda.

My husband was less keen than I was about being in a cabin located at the aft end of the ship. He prefers a veranda that allows him to see both ahead and astern. So on our next cruise we booked veranda staterooms on the starboard side of the ship. It was a Panama Canal cruise on board Holland America’s Zuiderdam. The morning we entered the canal’s Gatun Locks, I divided my time between watching the ship’s progress from our private balcony and from one of the forward decks at the bow, which at times were crowded with fellow passengers but offered a festive atmosphere with stewards serving coffee and Panama rolls.

At one point I wandered to the ship’s stern to gain a different perspective of our ship being raised in one of the massive locks. Later in the cruise I was chatting with some fellow passengers who had remained in their aft cabin during the ship’s transit through the locks into Gatun Lake. They said they enjoyed a room-service breakfast while watching the operation of the locks from the vantage of their private balcony. For them, an aft cabin with a receding view of this great cruise, was the best place to be.

About Anne Vipond

Anne Vipond is the author of several guidebooks to cruising destinations around the world. She draws on an extensive sailing background to impart her enthusiasm for cruise travel. From her home port of Vancouver, she travels by cruise ship to a wide range of destinations to keep her books current and useful for her cruise readers. Her cruising articles have been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and over seas.