Hate to break it to you, and ANY cruise veteran will tell you this, YOU DID have a balcony cabin. Do you mean to say that you couldn't see the ocean at all? You had an open air balcony that overlooked the ocean. Were you just planning on looking down from your balcony the entire cruise? We have been on many cruises in the past where our balcony was one deck above the lifeboats yet never gave it a second thought! If this was the ONLY problem you had on the cruise along with the smell (because you didn't review anything else), you had a great cruise I would guess!! Yet, you gave it 3 stars ???
Review by tkghill
In response to review, CrusinTim says ...
If you booked a "guarantee balcony" or the cheapest balcony you got what you paid for. If you want a balcony with 100 % view pick the cabin and pay a bit more. When I book a cabin I keep a ship deck plan open so I can look above, below and on both sides to know what I'm getting.
Agree w/CrusinTim and JusMe's responses.
Next cruise, be sure to look at the deck plans so you know what is both above and below the deck on which the cabin are interested in is located. The lifeboats are usually secured to the side of the ship on the Promenade deck (some ships use different names). This is the deck that allows you to walk outside but not on top deck, it is more protected. If looking straight down to the water is your priority criteria for cabin selection, select a deck a few higher than where the lifeboats are secured OR one located away from them altogether. As JusMe noted, do not book a guarantee cabin if you do not want to risk being assigned to a cabin that does not meet your criteria.
As for the smell issue, that can be an issue on ships. I'm surprised that it took 4-6 cruises for you to experience it but I consider that some level of odor is going to be an issue at some point of our cruise, especially after a lot of sea days. We bring an air freshener and hang it in our cabin bathroom which helps a little.
Hard to tell if you enjoyed anything specific on your voyage but three stars is still a decent rating so something must have gone well :)