My daughter and I went on a cruise together. We got a balcony stateroom. Since we booked late, we had to take what we could. We ending up getting a connecting stateroom. This meant that we ended up with a chair instead of a couch. It sure made the stateroom seem a lot bigger, but there was seating only for one, unless one of us sat on the bed or on the chair at the desk/vanity (or on the balcony). It was ok, but if it’s important for you to have more seating, be sure of what you are getting.
We had put on our reservation that we wanted the beds separated. When we got there, the beds were together, however, our wonderful stateroom steward (and he was the best I’ve had on any cruise) got them separated in no time. No longer a king, but two twins!
One of the reasons I love cruising so much is because I love watching the water. That makes a balcony important to me. I suppose I could sit on the pool deck, but when the weather is bad (and it was several days on our cruise), the smaller covered balcony with the separating walls on the sides made it much more comfortable for me to sit out and watch. It was easier to get inside, too, when needed.
Is a balcony stateroom a “must.” Well, no, but I do enjoy it.