When it comes to cruising, balcony staterooms are definitely among the most coveted. Seeing the sun rise over the ocean from your own private lookout or enjoying a meal amid great views is quite a perk – and one that comes at a price. But the cost of cruise ship balconies may end up being a lot greater than a few bucks. These rooms can prove to be dangerous and may lead to serious – if not fatal – cruise ship accidents.
According to Condé Nast Traveler, cruise ship balcony rooms will add about $100 to your tab per night. This is a small price to pay for some. But how much are passengers willing to pay for their safety? Sure, cruise lines will tout about the benefits of having a balcony cabin. Yet, when do you actually hear about the downsides—and even dangers of a balcony?
Just because you don’t often hear about them, doesn’t mean the downfalls and safety hazards associated with cruise ship balconies aren’t real. Let’s start with the downsides.
Downsides to Having a Balcony Stateroom
Are you a non-smoker or allergic to smoke? If so, be aware that not all cruise lines have banned smoking on balconies. And even if smoking isn’t permitted, there’s no guarantee that your neighbor won’t decide to light up. If you plan to keep the window open for the night, you might wake up to an unpleasant – and stinky – surprise. Of course, you can always complain, but if cruise lines have barely reacted to passenger disappearances and sexual assault allegations in the past, do you really think they are going to address a smoking complaint?
Aside from smoking annoyances, the fact that cruise ship balconies are spaced closely together can also mean you might be disturbed by unwanted noises. Chances are pretty high that you’ll be able to hear your neighbors – and your neighbors will be able to hear you. Some of these noises might not be bothersome, but it may get pretty loud next door. If you are sensitive to noises, you may want to consider earplugs if you plan on getting a balcony cabin on your next cruise vacation.
You might also see more than you’d like if you have a balcony. Some cruise ships feature tiered balconies, which means that while the balcony area is private space, there’s no blocking the view if your neighbor decides to sunbathe in the nude. If you have small children, you may want to make sure that your view will only include the ocean to avoid any, ahem, surprises.
Dangers and Cruise Ship Accidents Involving Balconies
Now that we’ve discussed the minor nuisances that can accompany a balcony stateroom, let’s address the actual safety concerns. Balconies pose a serious risk to passenger safety and have been at the center of many cruise ship accidents. We hear too often about people falling overboard from balcony staterooms, sometimes because the passenger has had too much to drink and other times because foul play was involved. These seemingly wonderful room add-ons may seem like a perk, but trust our cruise ship accident lawyers when we say that they can be a huge safety hazard. There was even a case back in February, 2014 where a female Holland America passenger was raped and nearly killed in her own room by a crew member who hid in her balcony waiting for her return to attack.
Many people choose to save their money for specialty meals or adventures in port. In fact, more people spend less time in their cabins thanks to the amenities aboard many ships. If you plan to just sleep in your cabin, it might be better to go with a porthole or inside cabin as you’ll not only save some money, but will avoid the annoyances and safety hazards that accompany balcony cabins as well.