Updated January 8, 2020
When deciding between a balcony or a minisuite, you must look at the cost, what's included in the price and if that difference is worth the price to you. Many say once you go balcony you never go back. But is the price worth the next step up -- to a minisuite? Our list of the differences between the two room types will help break down which room might be the best choice for your next cruise.
Balcony vs. Minisuite: Similarities
The most obvious similarity between a balcony and a minisuite is that both feature verandahs. Both also typically have twin beds pushed together into a converted European king-sized bed.
Both rooms feature standard amenities, such as safes, hair dryers, televisions and outlets for charging devices; some also have minifridges. Bathrooms vary, but generally they feature a shower or shower/tub combo (minisuites are more likely to have a bathtub and/or deluxe showerhead), sink with vanity, toilet and some shelving for toiletries.
Depending on the cruise line, you also might find a coffee- or tea-maker available ensuite.
Neither balcony nor minisuite cabins enjoy extra perks like butler service, priority embarkation or special room service.
Balcony vs. Minisuite: Differences
Space! A minisuite offers more room than a balcony; because of that, it costs more. Most minisuites each feature a small living area -- a couch, a loveseat, a bar, maybe an additional TV. Balcony cabins typically offer just a couch in addition to your bed but not a separate seating area.
The actual balconies also are larger in minisuites, providing more room to stretch out or enjoy a meal.
As minisuites are about one cabin category away from suites, more suite-like amenities are sometimes offered to minisuite passengers. They include upgraded toiletries, a free round of drinks from your minibar or a welcome bottle of sparkling wine.
Minisuites are often found in choice locations at the forward or aft of the ship; there are fewer minisuites than standard balconies, so the further from the sailing date you book them, the better.
If room to stretch out or even entertain company in your cabin is important to you on your cruise, then splurge on a minisuite. If all you need is the ability to catch a little fresh air in privacy, all you require is a balcony cabin.