Cruise ships have a lot of cabins, so which is the one for you? That can be a tough decision, and before you make it, you need to know what each type of cabin is really like. Here's how to determine the cruise cabin right for you.

Interior Cabins

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If you’re looking to save money on your cruise, an inside cabin is the way to go. As you might expect, inside cabins are located in the middle of the ship, so they normally don’t have windows (on some ships, though, the inside staterooms might have a window that faces the ship’s interior). They’re typically pretty small but are still comfortable, with space for at least two people or maybe up to four depending on the specific cabin.

Most inside cabins have one or two beds, a bathroom with a shower, a television, a couch or some type of seating, a safe and some storage space for clothes and luggage. Royal Caribbean recently spruced up its interior cabins by adding virtual balconies — an 80-inch HD display giving you a view of the ocean outside. The screen has optional sounds and is on several Royal Caribbean ships. Opt for this type of inside cabin if you like the idea of a cheap cabin and you’re okay with a manufactured view.

Oceanview Cabins

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Oceanview cabins are typically the same as inside cabins except for one all-important distinction: they have a view of the water. Some oceanview cabins might have portholes; others feature a picture window; and still others have a floor-to-ceiling window. It all depends on where in the ship your oceanview cabin is located. An oceanview cabin is good for people who appreciate looking out at the ocean but don’t mind if they don’t have a balcony.

Balcony/Verandah Cabins

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This type of cabin comes in just above oceanview in terms of price. Plus, balcony cabins, along with the benefit suggested in the name, will likely have a few extra square feet of space. You can go out and sit on your own private balcony any time — breakfast with a view, anyone? — which is why these cabins are so popular. If it’s in your budget, you won’t regret booking a balcony cabin; it will make you feel as if you’re truly on a cruise, rather than just in a hotel room.

Mini Suites and Suites

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Not all cruise ships have mini-suites, but for the ones that do, it can be a nice option — these rooms aren’t as expensive as a full suite, but they’re still an upgrade from other cabin types. Mini-suites generally have a nice balcony, a bathtub in addition to a shower, and maybe a curtain to divide the “bedroom” and living room. For example, Princess Cruises offers a mini-suite with a sofa bed, two televisions and a bathroom tub. Norwegian Cruise Lines also has mini-suites, and these rooms are up to 285 square feet large and can hold four guests.

The term “suite” can mean different things on different ships; some suites are small, not much different than balcony cabins (great for honeymoons — a view that won’t blow your budget), while others might have multiple rooms and even include a private hot tub. Almost all suites, however, feature an ocean balcony. And in addition to the room itself, you get several extra perks when you book a suite — things like a private lounge, a butler or access to special restaurants. A suite is the right choice for you if your cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you want to go all out and experience the trip the right way.