Is a balcony really important? Never haviing cruised, I am wondering if a cheep inner room (perhaps on a Carnival ship) would be too "closed in)? Are there enough spots on dect to sit and look at the sea that the balcony isn't a "necessity"?
Carol - this is a total personal preference, you will get a lot of responses to this question with as many different opinions. So here's mine. Having had an inside, window and balcony i will tell you that I will never, ever book an inside stateroom again. Its like staying in a closet, you never know if it is morning or evening, no sunlight or moonlight. That being said i will tell you that once a balcony always a balcony. There is nothing like a private balcony for some quiet rest-full time. I love sitting out on my balcony in my jammies in the morning with my coffee, especially when we are pulling into port. It's also great to be able to open that slider and let the fresh sea air into your cabin - aahhh.
Actually, no, you really don't need a balcony and yes there are enough spots to sit on deck and enjoy the scenery, but its really nice to have one. Having had one a few cruises ago, I just can't cruise without one. We do end up spending a good amount of time in the cabin/balcony. Its a great way to start of the day with your cup of coffee outside on your own balcony.
If it should come down to not cruising or having a balcony, I'd go for the cruise and hopefully someday have that balcony, they really make any cruise special, especially an Alaska cruise, then I'd say really get that balcony!
We've done inside, outside, and balcony. The only one that is really a waste is outside, no balcony. Windows are often foggy or coated in water spray and limited view.
We liked our balcony and sat out in the sun a lot. But as you say, you can do that on deck.
Inside is nice because you can nap in pitch black in the middle of the day--great for cruisers who really want to relax! And if there are lots of shore stops or if you plan to participate in many activities, you won't be in your room that much anyway.
A balcony is nice, but if it is a choice between no cruise and an inside cabin, the inside cabin is just fine. We've had one many times and have never felt claustrophobic or shut in. There are too many other places to go and things to do to worry about that.
We've done all options and we are hooked on the balcony. It is great for a couple reasons (eps. if you have young ones)...
1. a guaranteed private quiet retreat with a magnificent view
2. a nice place to hang out while our daugher takes her pm nap
3. sounds of the ocean as you sleep with the door cracked (open door, close your security bolt lock, close the door)
4. always have a chair
5. can wear your bathrobe out there :-)
6. place to hang out and chill with your young child w/o having to chase after him/her :-)
That said, our other cruises were great even without the balcony (of course we didn't know what we were missing). To me, a balcony is like having icecream with your brownie/cake/etc. - you can really brownie/cake/etc. by itself but it is just oh so much better with that icecream on top :-)
I'm the family cruise editor. If you have a child who still takes a daily nap, definitely get the balcony. That way you can be outside while they nap inside, rather than being stuck in a dark room on a beautiful Caribbean day! I bring my monitor since if you close the door to keep in the a.c., you won't necessarily hear your child if you are sailing due to the sound of the sea.
Luisa Frey Gaynor