Hey J @ S,
Maybe we have just had luck but each time we have booked a balcony cabin (and that goes for the last time this past December on Emerald Princess) our cabin was port side and the ship faced the town. We were not facing the ocean. So I guess the islands that we hit gave us a great view of the town from our balcony cabin. I have no issues with insides at all. I will usually book an inside for a very busy cruise eg. a European Cruise because there is so little time to spend on the balcony. We loved the Emerald Princess. We especiallly loved the International Cafe on the Plaza Deck 5. It was a happenning spot and the coffee bar is there too and they have a great greek salad and a great shrimp salad and it is all free. We did not realize this until three days in on a 123 day cruise in the med this past May and we were sure to go right there and tell our friends when we were on Emerald in Dec. The only issue we had with our Deck Aloha 12 floor mid was it was a little rocky up there. Lots of motion. Made for a good sleep however. It was a lot less turbulent on the fifth floor and our friends who were on fifth had no motion whatoever. Almost so that the higher you go, the more the motion. Also, if you do not like smoke be careful to stay away from cabins on the Lido Deck near any of the doors because there is a high level of smokers who present there and I would hate to always walk into that stink.