They are if you use them. Some people are never on the balcony and they should do a window cabin. We have coffee delivered in the morning and sit out, have drinks in the evening, leave the door open at night (cruise lines discourage this) and usually meet other couples on board and have at least one party in the cabin. In additoin while wife is getting ready for dinner etc. I sit out there and have a drink and watch the ocean go by. If you are from Kansas that is a wonderful experience.