When booking a cruise, many people never consider an inside cabin even though those are far less expensive than cabins with windows or balconies. Too confining, they say, and you never know what’s happening when you can’t see outside.
Now Royal Caribbean has created a way to keep guests in the know even when they are bunking in an inside cabin. Navigator of the Seas is the first ship in which certain interior cabins have a simulator wall called a virtual balcony. It is really an 80-inch projection LED screen that will show real-time images of the sky and ocean taken elsewhere on the ship. You’ll feel like you’re looking out a large window that allows you to enjoy the view just like passengers who actually have outside access.
Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein thinks the virtual balconies will be a great addition, "It's going to bring a completely different feel to the experience," he says.
This feature will be available in some interior cabins when Navigator of the Seas starts sailing from Galveston in February 2014. After a month in dry dock adding new restaurants, a pool surf simulator, and the view simulators, the ship will sail year-round on seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries.
Even if you can’t book one of these new-fangled cabins, there are still times when an interior cabin may work out okay. If you’re sailing in the Caribbean—Western, Eastern, or Southern—and expect to spend days in port on shore engaging in different activities, you may not use a balcony so much. When the weather is warm and sunny, you’ll probably spend more time on deck in public areas.
Royal Caribbean’s innovation is another great option for Austin residents who like to cruise but don’t want to fly to an embarkation port. The convenience and savings of having a cruise terminal just four hours away can’t be underestimated. I’d love to try out the virtual balcony and see how close it comes to the real thing.