Coming to the experts once again, because this site was so helpful in getting info for our first cruise...
We are considering taking an 8 day Eastern Caribbean iten on the Carnival Freedom in November 2009. We just took our first cruise, also an Eastern iten, on the Carnival Triumph this last September.
Now, on the Triumph we had a Cat 6b room. We loved how spacious it was, and after viewing a friends inside cabin decided that we have to have some sort of window if we cruise in the future. But we also noticed that we didn't really spend a lot of time in our room - mostly just sleeping, showering, or nap time. Because of this we're considering getting a Cat 5a room on the Freedom because it's cheaper, and we figured the portholes would be just fine. However, we're not finding any info on whether this room would be smaller, and if would have the couch & table that our room on the Triumph did (we used both for room service).
SS Norway (12 times) '85 - '97; Radiance OS 06/01; Island Princess 11/04, Grand Princess 11/04/05, Golden Princess 7/21/06, Golden Princess 2/24/07, Explorer of the Seas 12/23/07, Island Princess 11/15/08
The rooms are the same and as long as you have some kind of window like a porthole, it is a lot better than a room with no window at all. The reason being, when you wake up in the morning, with a window, at least you know it's daylight. Without a window or porthole and if you wake up in an inside room, you have no idea if it's 2 in the morning, 5am or 9am.
However, any room is fine, you don't spend really that much time in the room except to sleep, change, shower and maybe a little rest.
If possible, a balcony is wonderful if you can get a great deal on it, otherwise, is it worth an extra 200.00 per person, probably not if you don't have unlimited funds.