My confusion involves people referring to mini-suites NOT having a balcony. We are booked in guaranteed Cat. AC or better. Ther's no chance we won't have a balcony is there? At the kind of price we're paying, I better get a balcony.
Every suite and minisuite aboard MV Grand Princess has a private balcony. The discussion, and the confusion, has been over the meaning of the word "private." In the real estate business, a balcony or a deck on an apartment is considered to be "private" if it is accessible only though the unit to which it belongs. So, too, in the cruise industry, a balcony is "private" if it is accessible only from one cabin.
Note that a "private" balcony is not necessarily a suitable place for "private" activity since there is no guarantee of "privacy" -- that is, no guarantee that a "private" balcony is not visible from other places on the ship, just as there's no guarantee that an apartment's "private" balcony won't be fully visible from other apartments in the same or another complex. Some folks misunderstood the term "private" and were very disappointed that their cabin's "private" balcony did not provide adequate "privacy" for "private" activities.
I really don't understand all this discussion of "private" balconies. In the Marine Corps, a "private" does not merit quarters with a "private" balcony. In fact, a "private" does ot even merit "private" quarters!