Our first Carnival Cruise was in September 2006 and we went every September thereafter for many years. Why September? The first half of September is the peak of the hurricane season, so they had the lowest prices. We got the most bang for our buck by booking higher floors with windows on the cheaper days.
We learned the windows are important to orient yourself and to see where you are. We wished for a balcony, but never booked one. As for the hurricanes, we learned that the ships sail away from them, so it’s no big deal. Look at all of the awards that Carnival has in the PDF file below.