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.RoyalCaribbean has created a way to keep guests in the know even when they are bunking in an inside cabin. Navigator of the Seas was their first ship for which certain interior cabins have a simulator wall called a virtual balcony. This impressive innovation was rolled out in 2014 and has been added to other ships in the Royal Caribbean line since then.
The virtual balcony is really an 80-inch projection LED screen recessed into the wall that shows real-time images of the sky and ocean taken elsewhere on the ship. To make it more realistic, you’ll also hear sounds of the ocean or sounds from the dock when the ship is in port.Passengers say it feels like you’re looking out a large window and allows you to enjoy the view just like passengers who actually have outside access. In fact, the wall has curtains, just as an actual window would. The best part is you can turn the picture and sound on or off, as you please, which is handy because the camera operates 24/7.
Navigator ofthe Seas features virtual balconies for 98 inside cabins. The view you see is determined by the position of the screen in each room. For example, if your cabin is on the port side of the ship, your view will be from the port side.
Even if you can’t book one of these innovative 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 balmy port days 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 enjoying amenities in public areas such as the FlowRider Surf Simulator, rock climbing wall, or ice skating rink. Your cabin then becomes just a place to sleep, and you may not miss a balcony at all.
I’d love to try out the virtual balcony and see how close it comes to the real thing.
Photos from free sources.