I am in the process of booking my Princess cruise. We will be traveling southbound in a balcony cabin. How important is it to be on the port side? How much better is the view? We can have a midship starboard cabin or portside either forward or aft? Which would you recommend that we take?
Thanks so much for your help!
Cruisers have devised a rule-of-thumb that if you are travelling southbound, you book portside and starboard of travelling north; and if you were cruising straight north or south, this would be good advice.
However, take a CLOSE look at a map of Alaska. To get from port to port you are cruising anything BUT north or south; and you often have land on both sides of the ship. And most ports you sail out the same way you sailed in, so the port/starboard theory just dosen't hold up.
Given your cabin choices, I would pick midship/starboard for its better location on the the ship.
By the way, hello and welcome to cruise-chat (how rude of me); is this your first cruise? What ship are you sailing on?
Any other questions, please ask. We all love to talk about cruising.
Thanks for the info f-mattox. I've cruised a few times, Bermuda and the Caribbean.
In the past I've just gone for the bargains. I usually go for an inside cabin on a good ship. I'm booked on a repositioning cruise in April for 15 days out of Tampa on Royal Caribbean. It will be my first with a window but the price was great.
The cruise in Alaska will be the first time that I'm splurging on the cabin. We'll be on the Sapphire. I'll appreciate any advice you can give me.
If you haven't already, go to the P&O Princess forum and scroll through; you'll find a lot of posts dealing with Princess and Sapphire Princess.
I was on the Sapphire in March and I can tell you it is an absolutely fabulous ship. I could go on for pages, but rather than bore you with my opinions, why don't you do a little reading and then come back with any issues you are particularily interested in.
Southbound is the way to go without question. Ending your cruise in Vancouver is far superior to ending it in Seward. You have made a great choice. As far as port or starboard, it really doesn't matter. The Capotain will "spin" the ship so that each side of the ship will have equal viewing and when cruising the inside passage, both sides of the ship enjoy fabulous scenery. You can't go wrong either way.
Thank you, Tom, for that validation. I have had more arguments (not here) with people who swear if you are going south and you're on the starboard side, you're not going to see any land. I tell them to look at a nautical map, not the one in the brochure.
Before everyone jumps on me let me state here and now that I am referring to a different locale/destination with my comments but I felt compelled to let folks know that there are some venues where the "it doesn't matter what side" does not apply.
I just returned from a 16-day cruise on HAL Rotterdam from Valparaiso to Rio de Janiero. We had a Deluxe Veranda Suite on the PORT side for the very reason that during the inland passage thru the Chilean fjords, the glaciers we would be seeing would in fact be passing on the PORT side of the ship. We were able to sit on our veranda with a drink and enjoy the the views.
The only glacier we encountered in a "cul-de-sac" was the Amalia glacier. We sailed in, hung out for a while, turned around and sailed out. We walked out on the fantail for that one to get "official" ship's photographer pics of us with the glacier in the background.
So, when rounding Cape Horn, if you sail from Valparaiso then you want to be on the Port side - if you sail from Rio (or BA) then you want to be on the Starboard side.
Again, I apologise for posting this on the "Alaska" site.
Thank you, ChucksOK, for that good information.
I would like to clarify that I was not implying that the "it dosen't matter what side" theory is universal; I was applying it only to Alaska, although, of course, there are many places where it really dosen't matter.
But, as I pointed out in another thread recently, some places it matters very much--as in your example.
Two examples I gave are sailing into Istanbul (you want to be on portside) and sailing into Venice (you want to be on starboard side).
I, too, apoligize for posting this on the Alaska Port Forum.
The advice you have been given is good. I have cruised Alaska 8 times with Princess and it is true when you get into glacial areas the ship will stop and turn so that both sides of the ship get good viewing. Most of the cruise will also be in the inside passage so there will be ilands or land on both sides of the ship.
The one great thing about cruising Alaska is that it is never the same due to the fact the glaciers change shape and you never know when or where you will see wildlife. In other words don't just look for the glaciers you should also keep your eyes open for the sealife that can be on all sides of the ship at anytime. I have spent hours watching dolphins and porpoise from the deck of a ship as well as spotting whales.
In the Inside Passage you can see many kinds of wildlife from the sides of the ship with a good pair of binoculars. And one of my biggest thrills was watching eagles drifting along effortlessly behind the ship, riding the thermal updraft created by the ship.