Great points mentioned above. It's not a "must", but a nice upgrade if your the type of person that enjoys having more privacy while enjoying those special moments. I enjoy a balcony even if there's nothing but the sound of wind and sea when I'm sitting out on it whether it be day or night. Then again, I get a special discount for a balcony cabin because of my Crown and Anchor status. If I had to pay an extra three or four hundred dollars extra for a balcony cabin...I wouldn't do it. For that much difference in price I would be content to find a spot top side to enjoy the experience of the sound and sites enjoyed by the folks in balcony cabins. Another thing-- if I were contemplating booking a cruise either to Alaska or the Carribean, it would be a no-brainer. CARIBBEAN!