We are a family of five with kids 16, 15 and 12. We just returned from a great cruise to the Bahamas. This was our first cruise so we don't have much in the way of comparisons. The following is our take on the actual experience.
We booked a Penthouse Suite for me and my wife and the kids were in an inside cabin across the hall. This route obviously costs more but for all the people that said to me before we sailed, "Don't worry about your room, you are never in it", I say, "You never had a room like this!". We loved the suite, nice dinning and living area plus a separate bedroom with a king sized bed and huge bathroom with jacuzzi bath and shower overlooking the ocean. The best thing about getting a suite is that you get incredible amenities like two butlers and a concierge. Additionally, everything we got, the kids got as well even though they were in an inside cabin.
Embarkation - We arrived at the pier after spending two days in NYC seeing all the sights. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Midtown at 3rd Ave and 51st. This room was very nice, great location and all 5 of us could be in one room. Took a cab to the pier for 10 bucks and were there in 15 minutes. Because we were booked in the suite, we bypassed all the lines, they checked us in and then took us to VIP lounge where we met our Concierge Humberto. He explained all the services for which we were entitled and how to use them. They provided food, drink and a nice uncrowded room. After only 10 minutes our Butler Jose arrived and escorted us on board directly past the long lines of people to Cagney's Steak House for lunch. Cagney's was reserved just for those with suites for breakfast and lunch each day.