Skip to content

7 reasons you should splurge for a suite on your next cruise

Jan. 18, 2023
9 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.


Anyone who has priced out a suite on a cruise ship knows they can be expensive.

As The Points Guy showed in a family cruise lines pricing comparison, you’ll often pay at least 50% more for a suite on a cruise vessel than for a standard cabin. Sometimes the premium can be much higher.

At $11,000 a night, the top suite on luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ two-year-old Seven Seas Splendor is more than five times the cost of a standard cabin on the vessel.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s new cruise newsletter.

Still, it’s not just high pricing that sets suites on cruise ships apart. Cruise ship suites also are typically a lot bigger than standard cabins on cruise vessels, have better locations and come with a long list of extra perks that you won’t get with a regular cabin.

The perks often include lots of complimentary things for which you’d normally pay extra on a ship, such as Wi-Fi access and dinners in top shipboard restaurants.

Related: 8 cabin locations you definitely should avoid

Passengers staying in suites on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas get access to a special top-of-the-ship suite lounge with stunning views and complimentary drinks. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Add it all up, and — for some cruisers, at least — a pricier suite on a cruise ship can turn out to be the best value of any cabin on board.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Here are seven things that you’ll typically get with a cruise ship suite that might make you want to book one instead of a standard cabin.

Priority embarkation

The perks of staying in a suite start from the moment you arrive at your ship. Usually, you’ll find a special check-in area for suite guests at the arrival terminal — one without the long lines that you’ll sometimes find to check in for a regular cabin. Sometimes there’s even a private lounge area for suite guests with drinks and snacks. But don’t expect to wait there long. As a suite guest, you’ll be among the first passengers to board your ship. That means you’ll be able to start your vacation earlier than almost anybody else on your cruise.

A bigger room

This one is a bit obvious, but just to be thorough, we’ll say it again anyway: Suites on cruise ships are bigger than regular cabins — sometimes far bigger. Regular cruise ship cabins are notoriously small — at least compared to hotel rooms on land. But some cruise ship suites can be downright massive, with multiple rooms including living rooms, dining rooms and extra bedrooms.

At 4,443 square feet, the Regent Suite on Seven Seas Splendor is bigger than the average home in the United States. REGENT SEVEN SEAS CRUISES

In other words, while you pay more for a suite, you get a lot more space for the money.

At the higher end, there are cruise ship suites bigger than the average home in the United States, such as the eye-catching Regent Suite pictured above. It measures more than 4,000 square feet and has its own sprawling living room and dining room area as well as two massive bedroom complexes.

Related: 6 reasons why a balcony cabin could be your best choice

Better room location

Cruise ship suites aren’t just bigger than regular cabins. They’re better-located, too. On many ships, you’ll find some of the biggest suites at the very front or the very back of the vessel — the two places that offer the most stunning views. You’ll also often find suites along the sides of ships at the equilibrium point — the spot near the middle of a ship that is the most stable in rough seas. If you’re prone to seasickness, this is where you want to be.

Related: The 5 best cabin locations on any cruise ship

Better room perks

Expect all sorts of upgrades to your room experience when staying in a cruise ship suite, from higher-thread-count sheets to upgraded toiletries. On Royal Caribbean ships, for instance, Royal Suite Class guests get upgraded bottles of L’Occitane shampoo, conditioner and lotions in bathrooms, Mr. Coffee/Tea service and Royal Caribbean bathrobes for use during the voyage. Top suites on Viking ships have minibars stocked with complimentary drinks including hard liquors. Celebrity Cruises suites come with a stocked minibar, too, plus two bottles of liquor of the passengers' choice.

More pampered service

Often your suite will come with a private butler who is on call day and night. Some suites also come with access to a private concierge. These are people whose whole job is to take away all the little stressors that you might experience on vacation and pamper you at the highest level.

Related: 5 reasons you might want to turn down a cabin upgrade

Your butler, should your suite come with one, can do everything from unpacking your suitcase to serving you private meals on your balcony. This same butler (or your concierge, if you have one) also can book you into the ship’s top restaurants, where you’ll likely have priority access, another common suite perk. She or he also can escort you to a private seating area for suite guests in the ship’s theater, which is another perk of being in a suite at many lines.

Top suites on Royal Caribbean ships come with butlers, known as Royal Genies, who can help with everything from unpacking your bags to getting you restaurant reservations. ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Butlers and concierges also can get you tickets to onboard activities (again, with priority access) and will assist you in getting off the ship quickly when it arrives in a port — letting you make the most of your time during port calls.

Access to exclusive shipboard areas

On a growing number of megaships, suite guests have access to sprawling, private “ship-within-a-ship” luxury areas that offer a level of pampering not found across the rest of the vessels.

On more than half of Norwegian Cruise Line‘s ships, for instance, many of the top suites are part of an exclusive, keycard-accessed area called The Haven. Aimed at luxury travelers, The Haven complexes are located at the very top of the vessels and often come with private lounges, pools, sunning areas and even restaurants.

The Haven complex on Norwegian Bliss also has a private pool area with a retractable, glass-covered roof that is for the exclusive use of The Haven residents. NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE

A number of MSC Cruises vessels offer a similar “ship-within-in-a-ship” area for suite guests called the MSC Yacht Club, and the newest Celebrity ships, such as Celebrity Apex, have an exclusive and swanky indoor and outdoor lounge area for suite passengers called The Retreat.

Some ships also have private concierge lounges that are open only to suite guests (some are open to passengers with top elite status, too).

Related: What it takes to get concierge lounge access on a cruise ship

Included freebies

Staying in a suite can bring you all sorts of “value-added” perks on ships that normally would come with an extra charge, from complimentary Wi-Fi access to meals in extra-charge restaurants.

The suite experience at Princess Cruises, for instance, includes a free dinner on embarkation day at one of the ship’s extra-charge restaurants. Passengers staying in Royal Caribbean’s top Star Class suites get complimentary dining in extra-charge eateries through the cruise as well as included gratuities and a complimentary Deluxe Beverage Package.

Passengers staying in suites on Princess ships receive a complimentary meal in one of the ship’s extra-charge restaurants on embarkation day. PRINCESS CRUISES

On Regent’s Seven Seas Splendor, the top Regent Suite comes with a private masseuse on call for unlimited treatments during your voyage as well as a long list of other perks.

Other “freebies” that often come with suites include complimentary laundry service, complimentary access to the spa thermal suite (normally an extra charge), a bottle of Champagne at embarkation and canapes delivered every afternoon. If you’re staying in a big enough suite, you might even get a dinner with the ship’s captain.

In addition, many promotions that lines run will throw in complimentary gratuities, drinks packages, shore excursions and even onboard credits as an incentive to book a suite.

Bottom line

A suite on a cruise ship can cost a lot more than a regular cabin. But the pricing differential isn’t as high as it looks once you factor in all the free perks you get with a suite and other added value.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image by ROYAL CARIBBEAN
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

Fair/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees