Image: Princess Cruises
The dilemma for cruise passengers used to be whether it was worth paying extra for an outside cabin, but now the question appears to be, is it worth paying extra for a balcony or not?
With the rocketing number of balconies on offer and the cost of a balcony having come down significantly, it asks the question whether they are worth the extra cost, USA Today reported.
BoardingArea blogger Marshall Jackson says he opts for a balcony depending on the length of the trip, with if the cruise is at least seven nights, there's more time to relax in your own outdoor space, particularly on days the ship is not in port.
He says though that if the cruise lasts only three or four days, he rarely bothers to get one, adding, "it just seems like you spend so little time in your stateroom on shorter itineraries that a balcony is a waste of money”.
Marketer Ellen Davis says she doesn't go much for big cruise ships, preferring river cruises where balconies are the norm and she's not sure a balcony on a large cruise ship is worth the extra cash just to gaze out at an endless blue sea.
"Not that it's lacking in its own beauty, but it falls a little flat compared to watching castles float by on the Danube, or seeing children washing down their water buffalo on the Nile," she said.
"I'd rather enjoy the ocean from the shore, watching the waves crashing, than pay extra on a big boat."
Meanwhile others disagreed, saying that having more than a window to the sea has benefits beyond aesthetics, supply chain services company, Frisco director of sales Brian Matos, saying he enjoys having his own piece of the outdoors, away from the crowds.
"It really limits the claustrophobia that sometimes comes with small cabins on a cruise ship," he explained.
"It's great to be able to sit outside late at night with a glass of wine, looking at the sea and stars."
William Rodgers, of Martinsburg, West Virginia said couldn't agree more, adding, "It's usually said that the stateroom on a cruise matters little as one is never there."
But, he says found out differently when he and his wife, Judy, decided to book a cabin with a balcony on a cruise to the western Caribbean, including Grand Cayman Island and Belize City, adding, "We spent more time in the stateroom than we ever expected”.
Rodgers said while his wife slept in, he would order from room service, then sit on the balcony "reading my book, drinking a cup of coffee and watching the sun rise”.
"After we returned to the stateroom in the evening, my wife and I spent time together on the balcony.”
“It was, in her words, a beautifully romantic moment each time we were there."
Now they're hooked, he says. "We will never cruise without a balcony again."
What do you think? Do you think balconies on a cruise are good value for money and worth the extra cost? Let us know!