Are you overwhelmed by the number of stateroom choices on a Disney Cruise? Well, I don’t blame you. You may think there should be three simple choices: inside, oceanview, or verandah – but it’s nowhere near that cut and dry. Each of those three stateroom types has several different classifications of staterooms! Disney has thirty-one various categories of staterooms. Thirty-one! How will you ever decide?
Well, that’s what I’m here for! I’ve actually sailed in over half of those categories, and been inside every other one. I’m going to break them down for you, and help you pick the best stateroom for you and your family.
A few ground rules and guidelines first:
– I’m not going to recommend accessible staterooms. If you need an accessible stateroom, there are options in almost every category. If you don’t need one, pick something else.
– If you don’t need a connecting stateroom, try to avoid them. Lately, I have stayed in two different staterooms with a connecting door and we could hear the guests on the other side almost as if they were in our stateroom.
– While I will give some specific stateroom numbers in some cases, in other cases I’ll just give general guidance. It’s always good planning work to check a review of the particular stateroom you have in mind. There are some staterooms out there that have noise or vibration issues. There are also some right above the theaters or the nightclubs. You probably want to avoid those.
– To find stateroom reviews, use Google or check a site like Disney Cruise Line Blog. Scott has a good list of reviews going over there. A quick search may save you some headaches on board!
– Finally, the staterooms on the Dream and Fantasy will be the same, so I will address those staterooms as the Dream Class. Similarly, the Magic and Wonder have the same type of staterooms, so I will address them as the Magic Class.
1. Category T or S – Concierge 1- or 2-Bedroom Suite with Verandah – There are only two 2-bedroom suites, and they are found only on the Magic Class. The only difference between them is starboard (right) or port (left) side. I’d give a slight edge to the starboard side of the ship if you are sailing to Castaway Cay because I love those island views when docked for your day in paradise. There are, however, several 1-bedroom suites on both the Magic and Dream class ships! On the Magic Class, I’d recommend 8032, 8034, 8532, or 8534. These four have a slightly different layout which puts the twin pull-down bed in the living room instead of in the master bedroom like the rest. I greatly prefer the master bedroom to have its own closed-off space, especially when you’re putting children to bed early. On the Dream Class, while these suites are amazing, there are 6 with oversized verandahs. They’re located on a bumpout of the ship and the verandahs are huge! They are staterooms 12006, 12012, 12506, 12512, 11006, and 11002. For the absolute best view of Castaway Cay, book 12512. I also slightly prefer the concierge staterooms on deck 12, over deck 11, because they have easier access to the concierge lounge and sundeck.
2. Category V – Concierge Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah – Until recently, category V staterooms were only found on the Dream Class. In October of 2017, however, some staterooms on the Magic Class will be reclassified to category V. Category V staterooms are essentially category 4 staterooms with concierge soft goods and concierge service. On the Magic Class, I still prefer starboard side if visiting Castaway Cay. On the Dream Class, I have the same starboard answer, while also recommending one of the staterooms on the bumpout. Those are 12008, 12010, 12508, 12510, and 11004. If you are traveling with the party in stateroom 12512, definitely book 12510 to open the verandah partition in between the two staterooms for a super-sized-amazing-Castaway-Cay-views-of-glory stateroom combination. BTW, that is an official term.
3. Category 4 – Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah – Category 4 staterooms are the biggest non-concierge staterooms on the ships. Like all of the categories in the remainder of the list, they are broken down into A, B, C, D, and E. The letters generally distinguish where on the ship the staterooms are located, with the letter A being the most desired location – mid-ship and on a higher deck. The word “Family” in the title means the stateroom is slightly longer and sleeps up to 5. On the Dream Class, it also means they have a round bathtub instead of the standard rectangular one found in most staterooms. 4Es on the Dream Class are a notable exception to those rules. 4Es on the Dream Class only sleep 4, and are the same size as category 5 staterooms, not the extended family size, nor do they have the round tubs. They do, however, have GIANT verandahs. 4Es on the Magic Class follow the rules of the other 4s – the stateroom sleeps up to 5 and their verandahs are not giant. Their verandahs do have a solid white metal wall instead of clear Plexiglas below the railing. I’d avoid 4Es on the Magic Class for that reason, while I’d certainly do 4Es on the Dream Class for those ginormous verandahs.
4. Category 5 – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah – Category 5 is my go-to stateroom. They are all standard-size staterooms with unobstructed verandahs. I like a lot of category 5 staterooms, but I’m an enthusiastic fan of 5Es on the Dream Class. 5Es are on the far aft (back) of the ship and have huge verandahs, with some of my favorite views onboard. There are a few category 5s on the Magic Class that have solid white metal walls, so if that bothers you, avoid 7130-7138 and 7630-7638.
5. Category 6 – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah (Undersized, Obstructed View, or White Wall) – Category 6 staterooms are like category 5 staterooms, but they all have either an undersized, obstructed, or white wall verandah. Some of these differences are minor, so if you want to save a little from a category 5, category 6 may be for you. Category 6 staterooms on deck 6 have slightly larger verandahs on Magic Class, so I’d recommend those!
6. Category 7 – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Navigator’s Verandah – There is a significant difference between the Dream and Magic Class category 7s. A Navigator’s verandah on the Magic Class is a mostly enclosed verandah, with a large circular or oval window-type opening cut out for viewing purposes. On the Dream Class, it’s just a slightly obstructed view from the verandah. These are slightly more obstructed than the category 6s, thus the category 7 designation. On the Magic Class, there are four that are not fully enclosed. I’d pick one of those! They are staterooms 6134, 6634, 7120, and 7620.
7. Category 8 – Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom – There no category 8s on the Magic Class, only the Dream Class. Once again, the word “Family” means they are bigger staterooms that sleep up to 5 and have round tubs. They also have very large portholes with seating! The exceptions are 8As. And what an exception they are! 8As are almost like suites with two large portholes with lots of space, and many have a divider of some kind between the bed and seating area. I’d wholeheartedly recommend any of the 8As! Not all have bathtubs, and some are more divided than others, so do your research before picking which one works for you.
8. Category 9 – Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom – Category 9s are your standard oceanview staterooms. Read – no verandahs. On the Magic Class, I’d recommend avoiding deck 1 if staying in a category 9. Deck 1 is a short deck with no access to the aft elevators. The oceanview staterooms on deck 1 also have two small portholes instead of one larger porthole which greatly limits your view in my opinion. The 9C staterooms that are all the way forward, like 2504 or 2510, also have a little bit more space due to the curvature of the ship! On the Dream Class, we loved the 9Bs on deck 2 outside Enchanted Garden. It was an incredibly convenient location. The Dream Class also has some large corner staterooms that are 9Ds. They are 7006, 7504, 8006, and 8504. You may also like the 9Cs and 9Ds that are forward with views of where the ship is headed. The portholes are slanted with slightly obstructed views, but neat views all the same.
9. Category 10 – Deluxe Inside Stateroom – Category 10 inside staterooms are basically the same size and setup as category 9s, but they have no outside views. On the Dream Class, however, they do have virtual portholes, which gives a view (via camera) of what is happening outside (with some occasional Disney magic thrown in). The Magic Class has its own exciting unnamed category here – secret porthole staterooms! That’s right, some of these inside staterooms actually have a window! Disney did not classify them as oceanview staterooms because those window views are obstructed, some more than others. If you want some natural light for the price of an inside stateroom, these are the staterooms for you. Book 5020, 5022, 5024, 5520, 5522, or 5524 on the Magic Class. Warning, these staterooms are more popular than a Dole Whip on sweltering day in Orlando, so book early!
10. Category 11 – Standard Inside Stateroom – Category 11 inside staterooms no longer carry the word “Deluxe” in the description and that’s mostly due to the bathroom. There are no split bathrooms in category 11 staterooms. Split bathrooms are the standard in all the other categories, and they come with one bathroom with a toilet and sink, and one with a bathtub and sink. While I highly recommend the split bath for families, there are some people who prefer having one larger bathroom as opposed to two smaller ones. Additionally, on the Magic Class ships, there are some 11Bs with a “sideways” layout. These staterooms are somewhat popular and feel a little roomier than the regular inside stateroom layouts. Book one of those 18 staterooms for a unique experience.
Category R – Concierge Royal Suite with Verandah – Recognizing that a Royal Suite is out of reach for most mere mortals, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge they are the best staterooms on the ship. There is no room for debate, people. Whether we are talking Dream or Magic Class, these are the best staterooms on the ship. There is no bad one here. I’m still a fan of starboard side, but otherwise there is absolutely nothing about any of these staterooms that will make you sad (well, maybe other than the price tag!). The Royal Suites on the Magic Class sleep 7 and aren’t quite as open and airy as the Dream Class which sleep 5, but all are amazing. Throw me in that briar patch anytime (well, anytime Tony Stark is paying).
That’s my breakdown! Did I forget any that you can think of? Do you have questions about any particular staterooms? Just ask!
Tammy Whiting is the owner of Storybook Destinations. Did you know Storybook Destinations offers a complimentary subscription to TouringPlans with qualified Disney and Universal bookings? Click here for a no-obligation quote on your next vacation.