Front or Back of a Cruise Ship? Which is Best?

When it comes to choosing a cabin on a cruise ship, there’s plenty to choose from and lots of factors to consider, which will vary on your own individual preferences.

One common comparison choice that pops up is whether to choose a cabin at the front of the ship or the back.

This is because the front and rear cabins are often larger than midship cabins, so when square footage is a factor, it’s often a choice between forward and aft cabins.

front and back of cruise ship

A reminder of maritime language:

  • Forward or Fore is the front of the ship
  • Aft is the back or rear of the cruise ship

Both front and back cabins offer different cruising experiences to a side balcony, but they also come with their own pros and cons.

Below we look at the various factors influencing your choice between choosing the front and back of a cruise.

Is It Better To Be In The Front Or Back Of A Cruise Ship

Cabins at the back or aft of a cruise ship are considered more desirable and generally command a higher price than those at the front.  Rear cabins are usually quieter, with larger living space and outside decking.  They also offer uninterrupted views, including the wake.

Although there are various factors to consider and some pros and cons to bear in mind as to whether the front or the back might be best for you.


Aft cabins are often considered higher-end cabins and are priced accordingly.    Even though they are higher priced, they are often some of the first to sell out, highlighting their popularity.

Forward cabins are generally a cheaper part of the ship.

Motion Sickness

When it comes to motion sickness, neither the front nor the back is going to be good for you.  More movement is felt at either end of a ship compared to the more stable middle cabin areas.

However, the front is especially bad as the bow bounces and cuts through the waves.  This will be much worse in rough seas and one of the worst places to be on the ship.

If your ship sails in calmer waters, then this won’t be so much of a problem.

If the engine room is towards the aft of the ship, some people who suffer from motion sickness claim that the light vibrations they feel can worsen their symptoms.


Aft cabins tend to be quieter because they are away from the busy sections of the ship, such as bars, nightclubs, pools, and casinos.

Although on a lower deck, there is the possibility you might hear the propellors.

The front of a cruise ship is noisier than the back.  Depending on the weather conditions in front, there can be sounds heard of the ship carving or smashing through the waves.

There are also mechanical sounds at the forward of the ship, such as the lowering and raising of the cruise ship’s anchors, which can be very loud if your cabin is close by.

Also, the bow thrusters, when the ship is maneuvering port and starboard, can sometimes be heard a few decks up, and in addition, some vibration may be felt on the lowest decks.  This will only be when the ship is docking, which at times could be early morning.

At the aft, you might experience low-level noise from the engine rooms and also some vibration.


One of the best things about being at the front of the cruise ship is the views ahead, especially when sailing into port.

In this position, you are experiencing the same view as the cruise ship captain and navigational crew on the bridge.

The higher the deck you are on at the front, the better your view, and some cabins have floor-to-ceiling windows for all-around views.

If unobstructed views are essential to you, check before choosing your room, as front cabins are more likely to be partially obstructed than rear-facing cabins.

When leaving ports, passengers in the aft cabins get the views of pulling out of each port, combined with the wake as the port fades into the distance.

Advantages of Front Cabins

Front-facing cabins offer great forward-facing views, ideal when approaching new port destinations. You’ll feel the excitement grow as you draw closer.

The front cruise cabins can be larger than midship rooms, even more so if you get a corner cabin.

If you have a balcony, it’s worth being aware that there are often more restrictions in place as to when you can use it depending on the weather, so there might be certain times when you have to have the curtains closed.

Front-facing balconies may also suffer from excessive sea spray and, at times, full-on wind.

Disadvantages of Front Cabins

Front cabins will feel the most movement of the ship whenever the bow dips in the rougher seas, so if you suffer from motion sickness, front cabins should be avoided, even on the lowest decks.

The forward of the ship can be noisier than the back.   

The sound of the ship through the waves, especially in rough seas.  

There’s also sound from the anchor dropping and bow thrusters when in ports, but these shouldn’t affect your experience too much.

Advantages of Aft / Back Cabins

There are many advantages to the cabins at the back of the cruise ship, which is why they are more sort after.

Wake of Cruise Ship

Many cruisers love watching the wake of the ship.  The long extensive trace of recirculating water left behind the ship as it moves through the water.  

The wake of the ship starts from the water displaced by the bow of the ship and not just from the propellors at the back.

The sight of the wake extending almost to the horizon over the vast expanse of water can be a most relaxing feeling and for some, worth paying extra for.

Cruise wake
View of the cruise wake from aft of ship

Size of Aft Cabins and Corner Cabins

Aft cabins tend to be larger than most port and starboard side cabins.

Larger still are the wrap-around corner cabins which provide a more panoramic view of the waters and often a wider area of deck space in which to enjoy the outdoor views.

Disadvantages of Aft / Rear Cabins

If the engine room is the aft end of the ship you may hear some level of noise and perhaps even vibrations if you are on the lower deck directly above it.

We have also heard some reports of exhaust fumes from the rear exhaust funnels being smelt if the direction of the breeze has been brought toward the balcony, but this is not a common occurrence.   It will vary depending upon the fuel type, and in some cases, the age of the ship, as newer ships run on cleaner engines.

The popularity of aft cruise staterooms is often reflected in the price, so you can expect them to be higher priced than similar-sized rooms elsewhere.

Although quieter, aft cabins are further away from some of the action on the ship, so you may have to walk further to go to various places onboard.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Back Of A Cruise Ship A Good Location?

The back of the ship is considered a good location if you don’t mind being further away from some activities and amenities, which might be the other end of the ship.  The back is good for larger cabins and sea views and is generally a bit quieter.


Cabins at the back are generally more desirable.

Although front and back cabins tend to offer more space in the room and on balconies.

If you want to be one of the first to see the view on par with the captains of each port you’ll be visiting to save some money and don’t mind the extra ship movement and noises you might incur, the front might be for you.

For those who prefer quieter and more relaxing experiences, including just gazing out at the wake but also paying extra for the privilege, then the aft of the ship might be for you.

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