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Choosing the Best Side of a Cruise Ship: Port or Starboard?

Choosing the Best Side of a Cruise Ship: Port or Starboard?

Planning a cruise vacation is an exciting endeavour filled with anticipation and choices. One crucial decision to make is selecting the ideal side of the ship to stay on—port (left) or starboard (right). While it may seem like a trivial matter, this choice can significantly impact your onboard experience.

Delve into the factors to consider when choosing the best side of a cruise ship, ultimately helping you make an informed decision for your next voyage.

Scenic Views

One of the main considerations when selecting a side of the ship is the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking views. Both the port and starboard sides offer unique perspectives, depending on the itinerary. If you’re sailing along a coastline or visiting scenic destinations, such as Alaska or the Norwegian fjords, having a balcony cabin on the side facing the land (port side for northbound, starboard side for southbound) will allow you to soak in stunning vistas from the comfort of your cabin.

Sun Exposure

Sun worshippers may have varying preferences for their ideal sun exposure. If you enjoy basking in the morning sun, consider choosing a cabin on the starboard side if your itinerary faces east. On the other hand, if you prefer afternoon sun, opt for the port side when the ship is sailing westward. By understanding the direction the ship is facing during different times of the day, you can select the side that aligns with your sunbathing preferences.

Privacy and Noise Levels

While enjoying your cruise vacation, finding the perfect balance between privacy and avoiding excessive noise is essential. In terms of privacy, both sides of the ship generally offer similar levels. However, it’s worth noting that some ports may have docking configurations that affect privacy. If privacy is of utmost importance, you might consider choosing a cabin closer to the middle of the ship, away from the public areas.

Regarding noise levels, there are several factors to consider. For example, if you’re sensitive to noise, you may want to avoid cabins near elevators, stairwells, or high-traffic areas. Additionally, if you’re a light sleeper, it’s worth considering the location of the ship’s engines and machinery, as noise and vibrations could potentially disturb your sleep. These factors can vary from ship to ship, so researching specific cruise ships and the layouts can help you make an informed decision.

Excursion Departures

If you’re planning on participating in shore excursions, the side of the ship you choose can impact your convenience. Ships typically dock with their starboard side facing the pier, which means that passengers staying on the starboard side might have a shorter walk to disembark for excursions. However, this can vary depending on the port layout and the ship’s docking arrangements.

Variability and Flexibility

Lastly, it’s important to note that the direction the ship faces and the side offering the best views can change depending on the itinerary and ports of call. Therefore, if you prioritise scenic views, it’s worthwhile to research your specific cruise route and consult with the cruise line or experienced travellers who have previously sailed the same itinerary. Their insights can provide valuable guidance regarding which side of the ship to choose for optimal views.

Deciding between the port or starboard side of a cruise ship involves a careful evaluation of personal preferences and considerations. Whether you prioritise scenic views, sun exposure, privacy, noise levels, or excursion convenience, understanding these factors will assist you in making an informed decision.

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