Location! Location! Location!

You’ve spent months choosing your holiday destination…now invest a few more precious moments in where you’ll actually stay. Great real estate – whether you buy it or just sleep in it for a week – is all about the same thing: location, location, location.

Sailing savvy

The ship’s pool is a busy spot – day and night – so nearby staterooms can be noisy.

Ships offer staterooms in a range of price points – and there’s a reason. Generally, the higher you go, the more you’ll pay for outstanding views and increased privacy. The top levels of any ship are almost always quieter than the lower levels, which are normally home to the theatres, casino, shops and restaurants. While I have no doubt that you are unfailingly courteous and speak only in whispers when you leave a shipboard performance and stroll near staterooms, not everyone’s manners are so polished. If peace and quiet is essential, think higher floors.

Other spots you might want to avoid if quiet is a priority are the guest laundry room – always jammed, with every noisy machine in use, until the wee hours – and suites near the staff accommodations. Guests may enjoy a late night show and a few drinks in the bar, and feel it’s a late night if they roll into bed at midnight. The staff members who served in the restaurant and poured the drinks in the bar go to bed far later, when they’ve tidied up after all the guests. If your stateroom is above the staff quarters floor, you’ll hear every door open and close when they come back for the night.

A pool view room can be great, as long as you’re awake early and don’t mind chatter outside  and are also keen to party with the nightly merrymakers. If so – go for it. If not, let someone less noise-averse take those suites.

Seasick? Mid-ships is probably the best place for you, where the stability is greatest.

Saving money? Inside staterooms (NOT great for the aforementioned seasickness sufferer) or those with views obstructed by life rafts etc. are less expensive and you can always enjoy the public decks when you want a great view or a breath of fresh air. Some ships have staterooms that face into internal courtyards with shops and common areas. You’ll save some money by booking these suites, but will need to remember to keep your drapes closed – unless you’re keen to let your fellow guests get to know you really well!

In short, don’t simply allow your stateroom to be assigned to you when you book your cruise. That choice can make or break your whole experience.

Rooms and resorts

For many vacationers, peace and quiet is the ultimate goal.

Obviously, the more expensive the accommodation, the more likely you are to enjoy your room – but every resort or hotel has its prime and less-than-prime spots. The trick is finding the right spot for you.

I remember spending the longest night of my life in a chain hotel. The bed was fine, the pillows were comfortable and I should have been sleeping like a baby, but instead, every half hour or so, I was wakened by the unmistakable sound of a mountain of ice cubes hurtling down a deep metal well – my room was to the left of the ice machine. For variety, every five or ten minutes, I’d hear clanging metal doors opening and shutting, and then bursts of loud chatter in the hallway. That same great room was to the right of the elevator.

There can, however, be advantages to rooms close to the elevator or the lobby, if you’re traveling alone and have security concerns. Putting up with noise might be preferable to walking down a long, empty hotel corridor at night.

Booking your suite at that Caribbean resort? Tempted by the pool-view options? Think hard about your morning personality. Will the sound of OPCs (other people’s children) enjoying an early morning splash start your day with a smile or will you want to drain the pool? Remember the beach café, where they serve early-morning coffee and breakfast? Will you be happy to hear those cups clattering into their saucers, along with the rumble of the service delivery carts?

Love the vibe of the resort nightclub? Think you’ll still love it when you can still hear the bass booming in your room after you’ve decided to call it a night? If not, book a room that’s far from the action, so you can retreat when you’re ready.

In the air

Your most important location is your airplane seat. Always avoid the plane’s back row where the seats don’t recline and you’re right beside the bathroom.

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