Space comes at a premium on a cruise ship. And not every cruise line offers the same amount of square footage in their cabins.
I compared 140 cruise ships from some of the most popular cruise lines to see which of these mainstream lines offer the most space in their balcony staterooms.
I should note that I did not include luxury lines or some of the all-inclusive cruise lines in this list, but I may write an article on that topic in the future if there is interest.
Yes, there are also suites, ocean view cabins, and an assortment of other categories, but for this article I will focus only on balcony and interior staterooms. After all, these are the most commonly booked cabins on a ship.
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These are the cruise lines I used for this comparison:
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Royal Caribbean International
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- MSC Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Celebrity Cruises
- Holland America Line
- Disney Cruise Line
Perhaps you caught my last article on the actual price difference between a balcony and interior stateroom across multiple cruise lines going to various destinations.
If you missed it I recommend giving it a read as it shows what makes the stateroom price difference great or small depending on different factors. I also break down the real percentage difference in price between the two cabin types.
Well, once again, using my handy Excel spreadsheet, I listed every cruise ship along with some data of interest which included:
- The cruise ship and line
- Number of inside cabins, ocean view cabins, balcony cabins, and suites
- What percentage of the total cabins that category represented
- And the square feet available for standard balcony cabins and interior cabins per ship
I realize that not all of these cruise lines are in the same category, as a line like Celebrity will have a more premium feel and experience than a Royal Caribbean ship, but I still wanted to compare these most commonly used cruise lines together.
Also, cruise ships have come a long way in the last 20 years. Some of the older ships will skew the numbers a little, which is why I took note of the build date for each ship as well and may delve more into this later.
Ok, enough of the preliminaries. Let’s dive into the data!
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Which Cruise Lines Offer the Most Space for the Average Balcony Cabin?
For these numbers I used the standard balcony size. Some of the newer ships have several categories for balcony cabins, and when this was the case I used the most commonly found balcony on the ship.
The square footage listed for each cruise line is an average of all their ships in the balcony category. It is not an average of every cabin lumped together. It also does not reflect the exact size of a single cabin.
Below, I will detail the exact space available for each class of ship to give a clearer picture.
One more thing. These numbers do NOT include the size of the balcony itself, as that can range even within the same category. So, the square footage seen throughout this article is only for the space in the cabin itself.
(I guess there were a few more preliminaries after all)
Here is how much space on average you will find in a balcony stateroom with each cruise line:
- Disney Cruise Line: 209 sq. ft.
- Holland America Line: 193 sq. ft.
- Celebrity Cruises: 189 sq. ft.
- Carnival Cruise Line: 187 sq. ft.
- Royal Caribbean: 185 sq. ft.
- Princess Cruises: 176 sq. ft.
- MSC Cruises: 172 sq. ft.
- Norwegian Cruise Line: 171 sq. ft.
At first glance, these numbers can be a little misleading. For instance, Princess has 9 cruise ships in the Grand and Coral class that have 170 sq. ft. balconies. But these are smaller ships and only have 500-600 balconies on each ship.
Meanwhile, the Royal-class ships with Princess have 180 sq. ft. balconies and there are 6,528 of them across six Royal-class vessels, that’s 1088 balcony staterooms for each ship.
Newer ships tend to have slightly larger balcony staterooms in some cases – but not always– so cruise lines that are building new ships faster are able to see that average get a boost.
Balcony Cabin Space by Ship Class
To get a better idea of the space you can expect on a cruise ship, I felt it best to break this down by ship class.
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Below I have listed the ship classes for each cruise line and the size of each standard balcony on that class.
Carnival Cruise Line
- Fantasy class: 185 sq. ft. (Only 98 balconies on each ship)
- Sunshine class: 185 sq. ft.
- Spirit class: 185 sq. ft.
- Conquest class: 185 sq. ft.
- Splendor class: 185 sq. ft.
- Dream class: 185 sq. ft.
- Vista class: 185 sq. ft.
- Excel class: 205 sq. ft.
Carnival has a total of 18,836 balcony cabins across the fleet. This category makes up 43% of all cabins on their ships. On Fantasy class ships only 10% of cabins are balconies, compared to 60% of cabins on Spirit-class ships that are balcony staterooms.
See full list of every Carnival cruise ship (with pictures).
- Millennium class: 170 sq. ft.
- Solstice class: 195 sq. ft.
- Edge class: 200 sq. ft.
Celebrity has a total of 12,124 balcony cabins across the fleet. This category makes up 68% of all cabins on their ships. On Solstice-class ships 81% of all cabins are in the balcony category.
See full list of Celebrity cruise ships here.
Disney Cruise Line
- Magic class: 215 sq. ft.
- Dream class: 205 sq. ft.
- Triton class: 205 sq. ft.
Disney has a total of 3,416 balcony cabins across the fleet. This category makes up 60% of all cabins on their ships.
See images and list of Disney cruise ships here.
- Rotterdam class: No official balconies. These ships have Lanai staterooms that open to a public walkway around the ship.
- Vista class: 212 sq. ft.
- Signature class: 175 sq. ft.
- Pinnacle class: 180 sq. ft.
Holland America has a total of 5,440 balcony cabins across the fleet. This category makes up 44% of all cabins on their ships.
See full list of Holland American cruise ships here.
- Lirica class: 140 sq. ft.
- Musica class: 160 sq. ft.
- Fantasia class: 190 sq. ft.
- Meraviglia class: 185 sq. ft.
- Seaside class: 180 sq. ft.
- World class: 180 sq. ft.
MSC has a total of 21,684 balcony cabins across the fleet. This category makes up 53% of all cabins on their ships. On Lirica-class ships just 10% of the staterooms are balconies.
See full list of MSC cruise ships here.
Norwegian Cruise Line
- Leo class: 170 sq. ft.
- Sun class: 150 sq. ft.
- Dawn class: 165 sq. ft.
- Jewel class: 165 sq. ft.
- Epic class: 155 sq. ft.
- Breakaway class: 170 sq. ft.
- Prima class: 230 sq. ft.
While some of Norwegian’s older ships drag down the square foot average, the newer Prima-class helps make up for it with 230 sq. ft. of space in average balcony cabins.
Norwegian has a total of 13,182 balcony cabins across the fleet. This category makes up 43% of all cabins on their ships.
See list of every Norwegian cruise ship here.
- Grand class: 170 sq. ft.
- Coral class: 170 sq. ft.
- Royal class: 180 sq. ft.
- Sphere class: 200 sq. ft.
I included the up-and-coming Sun Princess ship in the Sphere-class which we just had a chance to check out at the shipyard earlier this month.
Princess has a total of 12,879 balcony cabins across the fleet. This category makes up 51% of all cabins on their ships.
See list of every Princess ship here.
- Vision class: 190 sq. ft.
- Voyager class: 165 sq. ft.
- Radiance class: 180 sq. ft.
- Freedom class: 185 sq. ft.
- Oasis class: 180 sq. ft.
- Quantum class: 200 sq. ft.
- Icon class: 205 sq. ft.
I will note that I did not include the inward-facing balconies on Oasis-class ships in this list that face the Boardwalk or Central Park. They are kind of a balcony combined with an interior stateroom. I only included balconies that faced the ocean.
I also included the Icon of the Seas which is still in the process of being built.
Royal Caribbean has a total of 23,699 balcony cabins across the fleet. This category makes up 44% of all cabins on their ships.
See full list and images of all Royal Caribbean ships here.
10 Cruise Ship Classes with the Most Spacious Balcony Cabins
Combining all of the information above let’s see the 10 most spacious balcony cabins by ship class. And just a reminder, these measurements are based on the most common balcony staterooms on these ships.
- Norwegian’s Prima class: 230 sq. ft.
- Disney’s Magic class: 215 sq. ft.
- Holland America’s Vista class: 212 sq. ft.
- Royal Caribbean’s coming Icon class: 205 sq. ft.
- Disney’s Triton class: 205 sq. ft.
- Disney’s Dream class: 205 sq. ft.
- Carnival’s Excel class: 205 sq. ft.
- Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class: 200 sq. ft.
- Princess’s coming Sphere class: 200 sq. ft.
- Celebrity’s Edge class: 200 sq. ft.
Read more: The true cost difference between a balcony and inside stateroom
Which Cruise Lines Offer the Most Space for the Average Interior Cabin?
Inside cabins are loved by cruisers who want to save money and still enjoy the cruise experience. But it’s still nice to have some elbow room when making an interior stateroom your home.
Next, we will look at the average square feet offered by cruise lines in their most common inside cabins.
- Celebrity Cruises: 179 sq. ft.
- Disney Cruise Line: 176 sq. ft.
- Carnival Cruise Line: 169 sq. ft.
- Princess Cruises: 160 sq. ft.
- MSC Cruises: 158 sq. ft.
- Holland America: 156 sq. ft.
- Royal Caribbean: 154 sq. ft.
- Norwegian Cruise Line: 138 sq. ft.
Remember, this is an average across each cruise ship class with that particular cruise line. You may cruise on a class of ship with more square footage than what you see above.
The ship classes with the most square footage in interior cabins include the following:
- Carnival’s Conquest class: 185 sq. ft.
- Celebrity’s Solstice class: 185 sq. ft.
- Disney’s Magic class: 185 sq. ft.
- MSC’s Meraviglia class: 180 sq. ft.
- Celebrity’s Edge class: 180 sq. ft.
Some cruise cabins feel cramped while others feel spacious. And sometimes both will have the same square feet of space. So, design plays a big role in how tight a space feels on a ship.
I guess I’m saying, the numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Are these numbers actually helpful? Well, if you read all the way to this part of the article I really hope so.
I find it’s a useful and interesting way to see how different cruise lines have prioritized space. Some have required an upgrade to a suite or special level of balcony in order to gain this extra space, but as the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.
I may do an article in the future on more that I learned from this data, like the percentage of different kinds of staterooms on each ship and how this changes within a cruise line as they build out more vessels.
Feel free to leave a comment if I missed something here or if you’d like to add something of value to this data.
If you’d like a copy of the spreadsheet I put together for this you should join our email newsletter. We may add it in there one of these weeks, so be on the look out.
Read more: 5 cheapest cabins on any cruise ship
15 things people always forget to pack for their cruise
How to get on your cruise ship as early as possible
10 biggest differences between Carnival and Royal Caribbean