We stayed in an outside cabin (had never been in a balcony at that time) & did 2 nights pre-cruise in Seattle & 1 night post cruise in Seattle. I got an incredibly good deal on airfare that I lucked in to ($209 round trip including taxes & fees non stop from Texas) and we used Marriott points for our note 1 night & paid for the other 2. I think the cruise portion was around $3200 & we spent another $700-$1000 for excursions including a boat ride/zip line tour in Juneau, a lighthouse & whale watching excursion in Prince Rupert, BC and a tour into Canada where we saw Emerald Lake which was unbelievably beautiful, stopped at a couple small towns on the way with a return trip to Skagway on Whitepass & Yukon railway where we saw the Trial of '98 the settlers took, an outpost of the Northwestern Mounted Police, waterfalls, gorges, 10 foot snowdrifts - we felt like all our excursions were worth the price we paid. All of our excursions for this trip were booked thru the ship (we hadn't discovered private tours back then).
We loved our trip so much we said we wanted to go back & visit the interior. We've done several Caribbean, Hawaiian, etc. trip since then & just booked our trip for 2013 to do 1 week pre cruise land tour (thru RCI) and 1 week cruise Southbound from Seward to Vancouver. Paying around $6k for 2 weeks for a balcony cabin 6/1-6/14/2013. This is before airfare & excursions... this is our first land tour thru the cruise line but includes all hotels, travel 3 different days on the Wilderness Express Train line wit the huge glass windows & windrow wrapped ceilings, Denali, a 3 hour fjord cruise, a guided tour in Denali, etc. We are super-excited and feel it will be worth every penny. Port excursions I will probably research & book on my own to save $. And you can be sure I will diligently watch our cruise prices for any price drops and get my balance credited. I always book as far out as possible so that I can pay it out over many months & hopefully take advantage of a price drop and plenty of time to research.
But as everyone has said, WORTH it is up to you and what you feel is worth it. We had a great time in an outside cabin the first time. Bt we've discovered balconies since then & enjoy our private time on our balcony... so the cost of that is WORTH it to me. You may be super social & enjoy spending your time with lots of other people & be just as happy in an inside or ocean view for less money & enjoy more tours or drinks for the same amount of money spent.
Only you can decide what's best for your family. Whatever you decided I hope you have a great time!
Travel Along with the OCD Planner by following my blog:http://ocdplannercindy.blogspot.com
2015 OCD Planner's Pacific NW Coastal Trip Report: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2265840
2015 OCD Planner's Explorer Pictorial Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2148764
2014 OCD Planner's Mediterranean Trip Report:http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2126000
2014 OCD Planner's Navigator Pictorial Review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=41563297&posted=1#post41563297
2013 OCD Planner's Alaska Cruise Tour Report: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1852077
2012 OCD Planner's Canada/NE Trip Report: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1769976
2011 OCD Planner's Caribbean Trip Report: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1399698