Suite versus Balcony Stateroom on Carnival. Which Is For You?

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Choosing the right stateroom on a Carnival cruise can make or break your holiday. If you’re caught in the dilemma between the opulent Carnival Suite and the Balcony Stateroom, there’s lots to consider.

In this article, I’ll cut through the jargon and marketing glamour to provide you with a no-nonsense comparison of these two popular choices.

A relaxing moment captured in a Carnival cruise balcony room where a woman enjoys a glass of champagne on the balcony while a child lounges on the bed, with the tranquil sea visible through the open glass door.

The difference between Carnival Suites and Balcony Staterooms

Balcony Staterooms and Suites on Carnival cruises differ notably. Suites are larger, offering more space and luxurious amenities like upgraded bathrooms and exclusive services such as priority boarding and access to particular ship areas.

Balcony Staterooms provide essential comforts and private outdoor space but lack the additional luxuries of Suites.

Here’s a quick look comparison table to explain the features of each one.

Feature CategoryBalcony StateroomsCarnival Suites
Design and Space– Private balcony with two chairs and a table
– Twin beds (convertible to king), sitting area, TV, desk/vanity, closet
– Standard size: ~185 sq ft interior, 40 sq ft patio
– Larger size with extra bedrooms, bigger patios
– Pillow-top mattresses, bathrobes
– Example: Grand Suite with ~350 sq ft interior, extended balcony, sitting area
Bathroom Facilities– Private bathroom with shower
– Basic toiletries, hairdryer
– Newer ships: Glass-enclosed showers
– Upgraded bathrooms with bathtubs, premium toiletries
– Features like a whirlpool tub, double sinks in higher categories
Variations– Types: Junior, Cove, Extended, Premium-View Extended Balconies
– New ships have more balconies
– Ocean Suites, Grand Suites, etc.
– Newer classes: Additional perks and upgrades
Exclusive Perks– Standard amenities– Priority check-in, embarkation, disembarkation
– Priority dinner reservations, complimentary water
– New classes: Access to Loft 19, concierge line, room service, laundry service
Special Features– Different types of balconies on newer ships– Excel Suites on Mardi Gras class ships: Large cabin, dining area, two TVs, lounge chairs, wrap-around balcony, wet bar, private hot tub

Recommended reading: The Best Carnival Cruise Ship (For Every Kind of Cruiser!)

The Suites on Carnival

Carnival Cruise Line’s suites offer an incomparable level of luxury and convenience. They include top-tier benefits such as complimentary access to Loft 19, a private retreat space with loungers and an infinity whirlpool. Suite guests also enjoy priority cabana reservations at Loft 19.

A woman and man in summer attire enjoy tropical drinks on a sunny cruise ship balcony at Loft 19, with the ocean in the background and a clear blue sky above.

Purpose and Suitability

These suites are designed with the ultimate cruise experience in mind. They are perfect for those who appreciate extra space, additional perks and amenities, and a touch of luxury during their holiday.

From a dedicated concierge phone line to guaranteed reservations at specialty dining spots, the suites provide a seamless and comfortable stay. Each suite even comes with a welcome gift of sparkling wine and a fruit bowl upon arrival.

They also include priority check-in and express boarding. So you don’t have to keep waiting in line and have more time to start enjoying your cruise. Other perks include free laundry and complimentary bottled water.

Features and Amenities

The suites have several deluxe features, such as a walk-in wardrobe, double sinks, and upgraded bathroom amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay for guests. Each suite has a large living room, a dining table, and a wrap-around balcony offering breathtaking ocean views.

Free on-demand movies and a bottomless bubbles soft drink package are available for entertainment. Guests can also access complimentary rooms and laundry service for a hassle-free vacation.

Recommended reading: How to upgrade your room on Carnival Cruise.

Types of Suites on Carnival

On Carnival cruise ships, there are a variety of suites designed to cater to different needs and preferences.

Grand Suite

An elegantly furnished Grand Suite on the Carnival Dream cruise ship, featuring a large comfortable bed with white and red bedding, a sitting area with a red armchair, and a private balcony overlooking the serene ocean.

The Grand Suite is one of the largest suites available, offering ample relaxing living space. It features a separate living room, spacious bedroom, private bathroom, and a large balcony with breathtaking ocean views.

Ocean Suite

A tastefully decorated Ocean Suite on the Carnival Venezia, featuring a large bed with striped bedding and accent pillows, a plush brown sofa, ornate carpeting, and a framed picture above a side table, all with a view of the sea through two windows.

Ocean Suites are another popular choice on Carnival cruise ships. These suites offer stunning ocean views from your room. The Ocean Suites are spacious, with a separate living area, comfortable sleeping space, and a private bathroom.

A significant feature of these suites is the large balcony. Here, you can relax while watching the waves. If you love the sea and want to embrace the oceanic experience, an Ocean Suite is perfect.

Carnival Excel Suites

Modern Carnival Excel Suite interior with plush king-sized bed featuring white and blue striped bedding. The room boasts a cozy sitting area by the glass doors that lead to a private balcony with a stunning ocean view. On the right, there's a sleek flat-screen TV and a wooden work desk with vibrant decor.

The Carnival Excel Suites are premier, providing top-of-the-line benefits for an ultimate cruise experience. These suites have a spacious living room, a walk-in closet, and a bathroom with double sinks and upgraded amenities. The living areas provide comfort and relaxation, with a separate dining area and two TVs for entertainment.

The Excel Suites provide complimentary access to Loft 19, a private retreat space with loungers and an infinity whirlpool. Guests in these suites also enjoy priority cabana reservations.

Other benefits include a dedicated concierge phone for immediate assistance, guaranteed reservations at specialty dining spots, and a sparkling wine and fruit bow gift.

Cloud 9 Spa Suites

Carnival Cloud 9 Spa suite featuring a comfortable queen-sized bed with a turquoise and white patterned runner. The room is equipped with a plush green sofa, a simple wooden coffee table, and an ocean-themed artwork adorning the wall. Large windows provide ample natural light and a breathtaking view of the sea.

For those seeking a more serene and relaxing cruise experience, the Cloud 9 Spa Staterooms and Suites are an ideal choice. These rooms are designed with a calming décor and come with in-room amenities like Elemis toiletries, spa-branded bathrobes, and slippers.

The Cloud 9 suites offer various perks, such as priority spa reservations, complimentary fitness classes, and unlimited access to the thermal suites.

These staterooms and suites are available on several Carnival ships, including Carnival Panorama, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Breeze, Carnival Jubilee, and Carnival Magic. Some suites include a Cove Balcony that sits closer to the waterline and an Extended Balcony with a forward view.

Family Harbor Suites

Carnival Family Harbor Suite with cozy maritime-themed decor. The suite features a comfortable double bed with a colorful geometric-patterned blanket and matching pillows. A large porthole window frames the serene ocean view, complemented by nautical art on the wall, two blue ottomans at the foot of the bed, and a vibrant red armchair.

Carnival’s Family Harbor Staterooms and Suites are designed with families in mind. These suites are centrally located in the Family Harbor Lounge and offer unique benefits like board games, family movies, and video games.

Kids eat free at most onboard specialty restaurants. The suite comes with a free evening of Night Owls babysitting service. The suites feature a comfortable living room and a walk-in. These family-friendly cabins are available on various Carnival ships, including Carnival Panorama, Carnival Horizon, and others.

Havana Suites

Elegant Carnival Havana Suite with a large bed adorned with white linens and a vibrant orange and teal runner. The room features a tropical patterned carpet, wood-finished bedside tables, and decorative pillows that add a pop of color. Slatted doors open to a private cabana area, inviting natural light and offering a glimpse of the outdoor seating and hammock.

Check out the Havana Suites for something different on your next Carnival cruise. These specialty staterooms offer an immersive Cuban-inspired experience with colourful décor and exclusive access to the Havana Bar. These rooms are available on the Carnival Panorama, Carnival Horizon, and a few other ships in the Carnival fleet.

The Havana Cabana Suite is a popular option, offering plenty of space and comfort. The suite features a separate living room and bedroom area, each with a TV, making it feel like a cosy home away from home.

Step outside onto an extra-large outdoor patio equipped with lounge deck chairs and a private lanai with a swinging chair. The suite also offers priority check-in and other great benefits that make your cruise vacation more enjoyable.

Overview of Balcony Cabins

The standard balcony cabin on Carnival’s ships provides comfort and convenience. It features a safe for valuables, a bathroom and shower, and an inviting bed. You can request bathrobes for that extra touch of luxury.

The cabin also has chairs and a table, perfect for enjoying a morning coffee or an evening drink while enjoying the breathtaking ocean view. It’s worth noting that these cabins are similar in size and layout to the ocean-view staterooms, with the added benefit of a private balcony.

A cheerful couple enjoying champagne on a Carnival cruise balcony. The woman, wearing a stylish green and black patterned dress and sunglasses, toasts with the man clad in a summery yellow knit shirt and white pants. They share a moment of joy against a backdrop of calm blue seas and clear skies.

Ocean Views

One of the highlights of booking a balcony cabin is the experience of waking up to magnificent ocean views. This is one of my favourite things during a cruise. Imagine opening your eyes each morning to the endless blue sea or watching the sunset paint the sky with hues of orange and pink right from the comfort of your balcony.

Size and Amenities

When you step into a balcony cabin, you’ll notice the thoughtful design and the ample space. Most cabins can accommodate two guests, but some also feature bunk beds for families or groups.

The private balcony has chairs to relax and soak in the ocean views. The size and amenities of the balcony cabins offer a comfortable and enjoyable cruise experience, making it a popular choice for many travellers.

Types of Balcony Cabins on Carnival

When choosing a cabin on a Carnival cruise, there are five different balcony cabin categories to consider.

Standard Balcony

A Standard Balcony room is a superb option for those seeking a comfortable, relaxing space between activities. The room is around 220 square feet, with the cabin measuring 185 square feet and the balcony adding another 40 to 44 square feet. The balcony is a great spot to enjoy a morning coffee or watch the sunset, equipped with a small table and two chairs for lounging.

The Standard Balcony cabin doesn’t skimp on comfort, with plenty of storage space for your belongings. The cabin is designed for maximum efficiency, ensuring you have everything you need within reach. It’s perfect for those who want to enjoy the benefits of a balcony without breaking the bank.

Junior Balcony

A contemporary Carnival cruise ship junior balcony room featuring a cozy bed, vibrant artwork on the wall, a flat-screen TV, and a sliding door leading to a private balcony with ocean views.

The Junior Balcony room could be a great choice if you’re travelling as a couple and looking for a slightly more intimate space. This room is similar to a standard Balcony room but is somewhat smaller. Despite that, you won’t have to sacrifice any outdoor space.

The Junior Balcony is perfect for those wanting to save a little without sacrificing the luxury of an outdoor space. With a maximum occupancy of two guests, it’s a cosy and comfortable option, especially for couples. These rooms are only available on Excel Carnival cruise ships.

Cove Balcony

Elegant and cozy cruise ship cove balcony stateroom with a comfortable queen-sized bed, a blue sofa, marble desk, and a mounted TV, with a view of the ocean through the porthole and balcony door.

For a truly unique experience, the Cove Balcony room offers a different perspective. Located on the lower decks, the Cove Balcony is more enclosed, built into the ship’s structure. The balcony has a cove-like enclosure with solid steel panels for the bottom half, creating a more intimate feeling.

Compared to a standard balcony, the Cove Balcony feels more like an open window than an open-air balcony. It’s a unique experience that you won’t find in many other cabin categories. The Cove Balcony is available on the Dream, Vista, and Excel Class ships, making it an exclusive option for those seeking something different.

Extended Balcony

Spacious and modern Carnival cruise ship extended balcony stateroom featuring two twin beds, a cozy sitting area, a sleek flat-screen TV, and a large picture window leading to the balcony with ocean views.

For those who crave a bit more space and a stunning view of the ocean, the Extended Balcony is an excellent choice. Available on most Carnival ships, these cabins are a step up from the standard balcony cabins. They offer more space to stretch out and enjoy the breathtaking ocean views right from the comfort of your private balcony.

Apart from the standard Extended Balcony cabins, Carnival also provides Forward-View Extended Balcony and Aft-View Extended Balcony options. The Forward-View Balcony offers a unique view of the ship’s path, while the Aft-View Balcony provides a panoramic view of the ship’s wake. Both are perfect for watching the ship sail through the endless blue sea.

Premium Balcony

Interior view of a Carnival cruise ship premium balcony room with a large bed, a mounted flat-screen TV, and a window showing a serene ocean view.

The Premium Balcony cabins on Carnival ships suit cruisers who desire more luxury and space. These cabins are significantly larger than the standard balcony cabins. They offer an enhanced cruising experience with more room to relax and enjoy the beautiful views of the ocean. The extra space also allows for a more comfortable in-room dining experience, should you dine privately.

These cabins also have larger balconies, giving you more space to enjoy the fresh sea air and remarkable ocean views. Whether planning a cruise on a newer ship or an older one, the Premium Balcony cabin is an excellent choice for those seeking a more luxurious and spacious cruising experience.

Comparison: Benefits of a Suite vs Cruise Balcony

When choosing between a suite and a cruise balcony, it’s essential to consider your needs and preferences. A standard room offers a comfortable space with necessary amenities, while a suite provides more luxury with added features and services. On the other hand, a cruise balcony brings you closer to the ocean with stunning views from your room.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Each type of accommodation comes with its pros and cons. A balcony cabin offers great views, privacy, and natural light, making it a popular choice for many cruisers. However, suites have more space, luxury, and exclusive services. It’s essential to weigh these factors based on your preferences to make the best decision.

Factors to Consider Before Making a Choice

There are several factors to consider when deciding between balcony cabins and suites. These include price, the amount of living space you desire, and each option’s benefits.

Space

Space is one of the most notable differences between balcony cabins and suites. Balcony cabins offer a comfortable amount of space. But if you’re seeking a more spacious accommodation, consider a suite. Suites offer more room inside and extensive balconies, enhancing your cruising experience.

Price

Price is another critical factor when choosing between a balcony cabin and a suite. While suites offer more space and amenities, they also have a higher price tag. Balcony cabins, on the other hand, are more budget-friendly and still provide a range of comforts. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your budget and the value you place on the additional amenities and space a suite offers.

Amenities

When looking at the amenities of Carnival’s suite and balcony cabins, some differences do emerge. One notable feature of the newer ships is the greater variety of amenities offered in the suite cabins. While both options provide a comfortable and enjoyable stay, the suite offers a more luxurious experience with additional perks that may enhance your cruise experience.

Related reading: Do Carnival Cruise rooms have refrigerators?

Two women relaxing on wicker loungers in a cruise ship's thermal suite, basking in the natural light pouring in from the panoramic ocean view windows. The tranquil setting is complemented by a luxurious mosaic-tiled floor and a golden mosaic wall accent, creating a serene spa ambiance.

To Upgrade or Not?

Upgrading from a balcony cabin to a suite can offer several benefits. Suites are typically more spacious than balcony cabins, offering more room to move around and relax. If you’re travelling with a family or group, you might appreciate the extra space, especially if you can secure connecting rooms. Suites also often come with perks such as priority check-in and boarding, making your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable.

However, it would be best if you also considered the additional cost. Suites are typically more expensive than balcony cabins, and the price difference can sometimes be significant. You’ll need to weigh whether the benefits of a suite are worth the extra expense for you.

Ultimately, deciding between a balcony cabin and a suite depends on your preferences and budget. If you can afford the upgrade and value the extra space and amenities, a suite could be a worthwhile investment for your cruise. But if you’re content with a cosier space and don’t mind missing out on some perks, a balcony cabin could be a perfect fit.

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I'm Hannah and I've been cruising for as long as I can remember.

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