I return to answer my own question. No, we did not end up on the wrong side of the ship. Assigned to port side when we thought we wanted starboard--we weren't sure how it would be. Turned out that at every arrival the town was on our (port) side of the ship. It was wonderful waking up in the mornings to find a new town out on our balcony, where we had breakfast.
Does canoeing down the Stillwater River in Ohio count as a cruise?