That's a hard question for someone else to answer. It really depends on you.
Do you have the budget for it?
Are you accustomed to more cabin space when you cruise?
Carnival's suites are nice and they are also roomy but the amenities are far less than the amenities you receive with suites on other lines. They are also less expensive than suites on other lines. There is no butler, special restaurants, free laundry(?), espresso machine, etc. You do receive priority embarkation and disembarkation and priority tendering.
Regular balcony cabins are a nice size and I doubt two people will feel cramped.
I have stayed in both Cat 11 and Cat 12 suites and I do enjoy the extra room but I have no problem with a regular balcony.
Carnival has reclassified their suites so there are now a number of different suite categories based on location and size.
Think about what fits your needs the most and make your decision.
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Balconies are small on Carnival. I sailed the Conquest and Victory in the aft extended balcony rooms. There's no more space in the actual room but you get a reasonable sized balcony. I love the view...
Celebrity Constellation (Penthouse booked for 2014)
Princess Grand Princess (2012) Vista Suite
Princess Crown Princess (2011) mini-suite
Princess Emerald Princess (2010) min-suite
Carnival Conquest (2008)
Princess Grand Princess (2003)
Carnival Victory (2002)
Celebrity Century (1997) Century Suite
Carnival Fantasy (1997)
Carnival Ecstasy (1994) Grand Suite
NCL Sunward (1992) Marquee Suite
RCI Nordic Empress (1990)
RCI Song of America (1988)
You get more space with a walk in closet, the balcony is wider, because it is the same width as the reset of the room. More counter space and more drawers. The decor is slightly upgraded. There is a bathtub but it is too short to lay down in and the sides are high making it somewhat difficult to get into for showering or bathing.
You get the VIP boarding and priority debarkation but we did not get any priority at the other ports. That may vary from ship to ship.
That is about it. We have booked the suites twice because that was the only way to get a balcony on the fantasy class ships. If balcony cabins are available I don't pay the difference to get a suite. By the way, I don't count the balconies on the Fantasy Class Cat 11 as true suites. They are the same size as a regular balcony cabin and the balcony looks down on a deck, not the water.
Thanks gang. That's really how I was feeling. I think if we're going to upgrade, well then upgrade and book a suite on HAL...it seems like you get real benefits there. If not, then we'll just stick with what we've had previously on CCL. Thanks!