To begin I will say I haven't tried all locations and cabin categories, so I can't speak for all. For some, a cabin is just a place to sleep, and they don't care about the type or location. For others choosing the right cabin could cause you to have a miserable cruise or turn a not so good time more manageable. If you're like me, you want the perfect vacation, and I tend to spend hours looking for the right cabin before I book. My favorite, along with the masses is mid ship with rooms above and below. I say mid ship cause of the access to aft and forward are the same distance. And I say rooms above and below for noise issues. You pick a cabin above a night club, and you are early to bed person, you most likely have bass and music keeping you up. If you like to sleep in, then the morning set up of the lido deck might wake you up. Some people say that for motion sickness midship is also best; I haven't experienced motion sickness so I can't help you there. We also don't book less than a balcony, that is our preference, and for no other reason.
With that said, here are three experiences I had with three cruises. Norwegian Sky was the only cruise I had a mid-ship cabin. We very much enjoyed the mid ship balcony. It is everything they say, I felt no exaggerated motion to cause me feeling unwell, it was quiet and ease of access to the aft and forward amenities. The cabin was all it was supposed to be.
The next cabin we had was on Carnival Liberty, and yes, I did book a mid-ship balcony cabin. Then Carnival called two days before we left and offered us an upgrade to the captain's suite. I was a little nervous being the front of the ship but who would turn down that chance! I am going to gush a little here because that was a fabulous cabin — two bathrooms, one with a tub the other a shower: huge living room, separate bedroom, two, one in bedroom one in the living room. Walk in closet with space to dress in. And a bank of windows that spanned the entire living area with the same view the captain and crew have from the bridge. And last but certainly not least the balcony. So big it had two lounge chairs and a couple of deck chairs, and still, there was room. The only downside to the balcony was it wasn't a glass rail to see anything you had to be standing, and people walking on the deck above can look down onto your balcony because it jets out beyond the ship. Yes, the ride got rough one night, we never got seasick, but we did get jarred awake by the bow slamming down pretty hard, not sure what the rest of the ship felt we went right back to sleep.
For our third cabin on the Holland America Eurodam, I couldn't find a mid-ship cabin. We were booking end of July for an early November cruise. After looking at the available cabins, I settled on an aft balcony cabin on the 6th deck. I have to admit I was pretty nervous after reading reviews about the vibration in the aft of the ship. But again we had a great cabin and only once in a while there was a low very mild vibration or hum felt, nothing to cause me any disturbance. The only other thing was walking to get our morning latte to bring back to the cabin was a long hike.
my husband and I seem to be fine when it comes to sea sickness (thank goodness), If your new to cruising and not sure if you are, you should perhaps heed the seasick warnings and stay mid ship. But if your not worried about seasickness and a little extra walking, forward or aft ship will work just fine. If you are a bit sensitive to vibrations, then I suggest when booking aft go as high a deck as possible but keep in mind the noise from Lido decks and other public decks. I will always look for the midship balcony cabin, but if I see a good deal I know, I would be pleased with aft or forward, as long as I keep cabins above and below I will have an enjoyable cruise.
In conclusion, when choosing your cabin be sure to keep in mind your surroundings, are you going to be satisfied with them, can you live with them for the duration of the cruise.