AFT Balcony Pro’s
The aft location makes it feel like you are on a private yacht and not a large ship. You will be graced with the most amazing private views of sunrise and sunset’s on the entire ship. Many people try and claim the coveted rear deck chairs to view the sunset’s when you are sailing. Instead of standing at the rail on deck, or leaning out from a side balcony, you can recline on your stateroom deck chair and enjoy a glass of wine, sharing the moment with your cruising companion. Watching the wake and endless ocean disappearing behind the ship is the most relaxing thing imaginable.
An aft cabin ensures you are going to have the best views of your ports upon departures, making this a photographer’s dream. You get the private location and a 180 degree view of the harbor and other docked ships. There are no obstructions or jostling for position. You have a private enclave to enjoy for as long as you care to remain outside. During a Panama or Suez Canal crossing you can see everything occurring by the land crews prepping the ship to sail as well as the intricate maneuvering of the lock system.
If you are a morning person and want to ensure you wake up when you arrive at a port, the steady vibration of the engines gets stronger as they position the ship into the pier. This increasing vibration WILL wake you up far better than an alarm clock and it was something we actually enjoyed as it meant we were not going to miss seeing the ship dock, which we personally like. There is virtually no wind on an aft facing balcony as there is on the side balcony’s. This means the temperatures feel warmer on the balcony at night when things typically cool off when you are sailing, so it makes lovely for romantic drinks or deserts before bedtime.
You do not have direct mid day sunlight as you would on the port or starboard sides of the ship, unless it’s the early morning or later afternoon, depending on the direction you are sailing. You can enjoy reading outside on the balcony in comfort during sea days, without the direct heat of the sun, if you prefer the quiet privacy of your room over the busy ship on a sea day, especially if you are not a sun worshiper. If your preference is for relaxation over activity, then an aft cabin may be your best choice.
If you actually enjoy feeling the movement of a ship when sailing, this is where you will get the best benefit of that motion. We personally love falling asleep feeling the rise and fall of a ship as it sails over waves, as we are seasoned sailor’s who do not suffer from motion sickness. Plus, the aft balcony rooms are the best location to hear the sound of the water and wake, which is soothing and peaceful, making a mid day nap on a sail day with your balcony door open, just wonderful!
If you have friends who are located on different floors at the aft, then there is easy access to those other floors on ships that have stairwells on the aft corners, like Norwegian Epic.
AFT Balcony Con’s
The aft Balcony rooms are not the best location for people who get motion sickness. If motion is a consideration, mid ship is where you find the least amount of movement. The lower you go, the least amount of motion you will feel.
If you want to be able to use your balcony during the mid day to access full sunshine for half of their trip, then an AFT cabin is not the best choice for you, simply due to ship navigation.
If you like to sleep in and have a later start time on port days, this will not be possible unless you are an exceptionally sound sleeper. The vibration from the engines as they thrust and position the ship to the pier, while not extremely noisy, continue for about 30 minutes until the ship is secured to the pier.
People with mobility issues need to understand that an AFT balcony is the farthest away form the elevators you can go. You longer walk to the elevators’ and additional stairwells, which are located midship. If there are no front stairwell’s then it means you will have to walk to the middle of the ship to go down a floor, to walk back to where you just came from, so understanding your ship’s facilities in relation to your stateroom, is very important.