What Is the Difference Between a Backward-Facing and Forward-Facing Cruise Stateroom?
When choosing a forward-facing or backward-facing balcony stateroom, where you are going may not be as important as where you've been, and vice versa. Forward-facing balconies, located on the front of the ship, are a newer trend in ship design and are therefore usually more expensive and hard to find. Backward-facing balconies, also known as aft-facing balconies, are located at the wake of the ship and may even cost the same as a standard balcony stateroom.
A Good Reason to "Wake" Up
If you're prone to seasickness, hate gusty wind, are traveling on a budget and want a quiet, far-from-the-elevators stateroom, go with the backward-facing stateroom. Not only will you wake up to the beauty of the ship's wake, you'll feel less ship movement, encounter less wind, and, on most ships, will spend considerably less. Keep in mind that when a cruise disembarks on a port day, you might feel a slight vibrating sensation from the propeller below. It's also important to note that a strong tailwind can reverse the wind direction, making the backward-facing balcony more windy than the forward-facing option.
The Leo and Kate Effect
While more expensive than backward-facing balconies, forward-facing balconies are one of the most trendy options on a cruise, if you do not mind feeling the rolling of the waves and the stronger wind on high sea days. Forward-facing staterooms usually boast larger overall cabin size, but bad weather can mean less outdoor balcony time. For some, the chance to see the world from the perspective of Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet may be worth it.
The Corner Aft Option
Some cruise lines offer corner aft stateroom balconies, or backward-facing balcony staterooms that form an L-shape as they hug one of the back corners of the ship. Corner aft balconies are an interesting alternative to the backward-facing option, but keep in mind that due to the curve in the balcony, the view may be compromised and the deck may be oddly-shaped or smaller than standard balconies.
Seasickness and Mobility Concerns
When choosing between a backward-facing or forward-facing balcony, it's important to consider your tolerance for seasickness. While backward-facing balconies are considerably more stable than forward-facing, low-deck balconies in the middle region of the ship offer the best stability for patch-wearing travelers.
Your own mobility should also be a concern when choosing a forward-facing or backward-facing cabin. On most ships, backward-facing cabins tend to be the farthest from the elevators, while forward-facing staterooms are near the main front elevators of the ship.