An ocean view room on a cruise ship could mean several different configurations, but generally speaking it is better known as a standard outside stateroom. While the allure of an ocean view may sound very appealing, the only difference between an outside and inside stateroom may be a small porthole or picture window.
Cruise ship lines offer various levels of rooms, beginning with the basic inside stateroom with no ocean view all the way to a spacious array of rooms connected as a suite. Depending on the cruise ship, an ocean view room may be the first upgrade available from the inside stateroom or cabin. The outside staterooms with an ocean view are usually located on decks at or above the waterline. The view of the ocean is provided by a small porthole with reinforced (read thick) glass or a more generously sized picture window. The rest of the stateroom's amenities may be very similar to those found in the inside staterooms-- double beds, small bathroom with shower, television set, desk with phone and lamp and a few storage shelves.
Some cabins with an ocean view really do perform as advertised, but others may only offer a view of the lifeboats or other obstructions. It is important to keep in mind that most cruise ships can only travel in the deeper parts of the open ocean, so the view from a cabin's porthole or window may not be all that spectacular until the ship reaches some form of land. Many passengers book a standard outside stateroom or ocean view room to avoid feeling claustrophobic or isolated in the windowless interior staterooms. At least a porthole allows for normal light cues as the sun rises and sets.