European lines are still a bit behind North American ones when it comes to demand for balconies, but that's changing. On Costa Concordia, 575 cabins (out of 1,500) have private verandahs. This is rather on the low side for the newest ships being designed for North American passengers -- but on the high end among European ones.
Cabins come in the usual configurations including insides (that measure at about 150 square ft.), more elaborate mini-suites (279 square ft.), a bigger suite (337 sq. ft.) and 10 Grand Suites (456 square ft.). There are 29 cabins designated for disabled passengers.
I sailed in a standard balcony stateroom that measured 220 square ft., and if you've traveled on any Carnival ships lately you'll do a double-take as it looks almost identical. It features twin beds that can be converted into a queen size bed and a large leather sofa that can be converted to a third bed. There is a large working table. Closet areas are spacious enough for a seven-night cruise, and there is also a locked minibar (which will be opened upon request), a safe, a multi-function telephone and an interactive TV, although surprisingly, not yet a flat screen model (flat screen models are in the suites, though). The shower-only bathroom is spacious.
The balconies are a decent size and have glass rather than steel balustrades. Unfortunately, many passengers still opt to smoke cigarettes on their balconies so your effort to get fresh air may feel more like a pub-stop.
A round of applause: Costa Concordia has a handful of cabins -- insides only, measuring a cozy 150 square ft. -- to accommodate single travelers. It's one of the rare new-builds to include cabins for solo passengers.
Guests who really want the full spa experience can book one of 55 Samsara cabins or 12 Samsara suites on Deck 10 with direct access (via spiral staircase or elevator) to the two-deck facility. Though no bigger than their non-spa counterparts, Samsara staterooms offer extras not found in "regular" staterooms, including flat-screen TV's and Samsara bath products.
Passengers who book one of these spa-exclusive cabins receive a "Welcome Ritual" package, which includes an invitation to a relaxing tea ceremony, a personalized consultation, a choice of two spa treatments, a choice of two fitness or meditation lessons, two tanning sessions, unlimited use of in-spa perks such as the thalassotherapy pool, and a reserved table in the Samsara Restaurant (guests can also opt to eat in the main restaurants or Club Concordia).