You will certainally get many responses stating a balcony is a must. I totally disagree. I now go with a cheap inside cabin and prefer to see it all from the front of the ship. Of course I pack my "Alaska Uniform"- lined nylon jacket, wind pants, knit hat and gloves. Actually $250pp for shore excursions is MODEST in Alaska. The best of the best is a glacier helicopter landing and if you take a ship excursion it is about $190pp, I never book from the ship and always book direct with the operator for better tours and savings. It is really necessary to plan on at least one flight to really see Alaska. Other examples Whale watching $100pp, White Pass RR $82pp, even a ship excursion Juneau city / glacier combo is $40 (but $20 from local venders at the dock). You seem really torn by this decision- that tells me you would be just as happy saving your money and getting an inside cabin.