In my opinion they are well worth the extra money. We got our first balcony because my wife does not like confined spaces. We love them. In the mornings I sit out there with coffee, a book and watch the sun rise. In the afternoon we sit on the balcony with wine and cheese as our relaxation before the evening festivities begin, usually watching the sunset. Before we turn in for the night we often sit out there and read or just enjoy the sound of the waves. a few times I even fell asleep on the balcony.
We've had mini-suites a couple times and felt they were not worth the extra money but I'm sure there are those who would disagree about that. Cruising is great because there are so many choices
Being higher is a personal matter, You are closer to the pools and the action but farther from the dining rooms shops, entertainment and some bars. You may also feel a bit more movement up high. We've been on the baja, caribe, and dolphin decks. This February we will be on the aloha.. I've never really felt much difference between them.