I'm a newbie cruiser myself, having only just returned from my first...I'd definitely go with the balcony again! It is well worth the extra money IMO. Our teens had an inside stateroom across the hall from our balcony and the difference is amazing. Like night and day. Thiers felt like a dungeon, ours was airy and fully of light. It was great falling asleep to the swish of the ocean against the ship and waking up to the sound of the ocean lapping up against the ship. And sometimes, during downtime, it was nice to just sit out there and chill. And in the morning, we'd have our coffee brought up and have it out there on the balcony while taking in the sunrise - absolutely beautiful! If we go again, we're getting a balcony again. Our kids kept coming in to see the water constantly!