When choosing your cruise ship cabin, some ships offer rooms with obstructed views. These come at a lower price than standard ocean view cabins, but what (if anything) can you see? The answer to that varies greatly. Obstructed view cabins are often located behind lifeboats, which is where you find them on Holland America’s Oosterdam. Some ships have no obstructed view cabins at all. Others have them in places like behind a bulkhead or along the promenade deck with a wall blocking all or part of the sea view.
If you just want some natural light in the room a fully obstructed window works, but if you actually want to see something choose your room carefully. Some cabins are designated fully obstructed while others are designated partially obstructed and (of course) have a bit higher price tag for the partial views.
Some rooms marked as fully obstructed really are, but others actually have a better view than some of the ones with the partial obstruction designation. You might even see a bit through the windows of a tender from a fully obstructed cabin.
On the Oosterdam the outer wall of the obstructed view cabins is almost all window, meaning that if there is anywhere at all that is not blocked by a lifeboat or the structures surrounding them you can see out from that spot. This is a great benefit since some ships just have a small window in the middle of a solid wall providing far less chance of getting any sort of a view.
With the Oosterdam’s floor to ceiling window you can at least look under the lifeboat down to the promenade deck even if the rest of your view is blocked.
When choosing an obstructed view cabin use the ship’s deck plans as your guide. Most cruise lines have them available on their website. On the Oosterdam for example, using the deck plan as your guide you can see which rooms are located fully behind lifeboats or tenders and which are at least partially in between them.
They also draw the tenders differently than the ones that are just lifeboats, which is good to know because the tenders are taller. On most ships you can see something over the top of the shorter lifeboats, but not the tenders. With rooms completely behind a tender the best you can hope for is a peek-a-boo view through the tender’s windows – if it happens to have windows placed where you can see through them and out to the other side.
If your window is between boats you get something of a view. How much or little depends on both how much of each boat is in front of your window and how much structure there is between the boats. There is always some because something has to hold them in place.
If you look at the deck plans to the Oosterdam you might notice it has a few rooms marked as fully obstructed that are not completely behind lifeboats. These will be the best bargains since you are paying for fully obstructed yet will be able to at least see something.
Besides the end of the row of lifeboats being a good place to look for better views from obstructed view cabins, anywhere with a break in the structure will have more view as well. The Oosterdam has glass elevators going up the outside of the ship near the center.
This adds some space between the lifeboats and tenders and makes for a pretty good view if you don’t mind being next to a glass elevator. The two by the glass elevators next to the lifeboats are designated as fully obstructed while the ones on the side by the tenders are listed as partially obstructed though the better view is actually on the lifeboat side.
Of course some of the cabins listed as fully obstructed actually are, which is why it is important to choose carefully when booking an obstructed view cabin.
When looking to save money on your cabin while at least getting some natural light and maybe even a bit of a view the obstructed view cabins are a great way to go. The real views are better than those shown here since they don’t have all the room reflections the camera picked up in these photos. Ocean view cabins are generally bigger than inside cabins so even if you don’t get much of a view you at least have a bit more space.