I wish I had your dilemnas. First things first. My kids are teenagers now but when they were under 9, I never let them alone in a balcony room. So the connecting balcony scenario would be a not to do for me. What if they open the door at night, sleepwalking, type of thing. No way. At those ages, we had them in the cabin with us. We did not do balconies until they were a little older. Large family oceanviews were fine. The penthouse would be a luxury on the Pearl = but pricy I am sure. We used to do two insides with a connecting door when they were young as well. We liked having two bathrooms between the four of us. Much cheaper too to have four people in one cabin as long as it is a large cabin. Just returned from INDY and we just adored it. Kids would love the parades, the entertainment that takes place on the promenade at night. There is a great fun water zone for kids on the Indy. A place for the adults to hang out in the sanctuary once you put the kids into their programs. Very large hot tubs that hang over the ship. Just wonderful. You see I have become partial to the Indy. Liberty was fine and so was the Jewel (very similar to PEarl) but without the rock climbing and the bowling. As I said, I wish I had to make the choice. One of the other suggestions someone gave was to check out the ports. We have decided that future cruises will be governed pretty much now by the ports. Some are just basically cruise line owned stomping ground. Happy choosing.