I get asked this question all the time. Which side of the ship is the best side to book your cabin on? The answer is not clear and is not necessarily the same for each person. It all depends on what you want to see, where your cabin will be located and personal tastes.
I’ll start with personal tastes. On some ships in suites generally, the decor may be different from one suite to another. For instance, on the Disney ships, the Roy O. Disney Suites are decorated differently than the Walter E. Disney Suites. The classic ships are the same and the new ships are the same, but on the ships themselves, the two rooms are different. On the Celebrity Millennium, the Sky Suites have different color schemes. If you have an aversion to Azure, you will want to make sure that your room is not decorated in that color!
Next you’ll need to take into account what is around the room you are interested in. If there is a galley above my room on the starboard side, but a hallway on the port side, I’ll take the port side for my room (or switch decks!).
Finally, I think about the itinerary – what you might see while cruising but, more importantly, what you might see in port. The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t count on the ship berthing a certain way in the ports. While most of the time the ship you are looking at may “back in” to a port, there is the chance that they could do things different based on the sea conditions, the dock they have to use, any number of factors. You can look for which side most likely will be facing the way you want, but don’t set your heart on that happening.
Also keep in mind that on a roundtrip itinerary, you are covering the same area so one side is not going to be better than the other (you’ll face one way on the outbound and the other on the inbound). Of course this is something to keep in mind with one way or repositioning cruises. A Transatlantic Cruise may not matter because you have ocean on both sides of the ship for many days, but an Alaskan Cruise may make a difference. When going through the Panama Canal, some people wanted to face the side where the webcams are or where the welcome center is located while others wanted it more quite and also to face the other ships going the opposite direction through the canal.
Also asked a lot is where is the best place on the ship to book, forward, midship or aft. Again, this is a personal question, but it also depends on the ship. I have had many clients over the years ask me for an oceanview stateroom midship on the Disney Magic at least deck 5 or above. That simply doesn’t exist! As with most ships, the higher decks only have balcony cabins midship. Some will have ocean view rooms on the ends of the ships. Likewise, you can’t get a balcony room too low on the ship.
Midship rooms, lower on the ship, are theoretically the best for minimizing motion. After that, I would say aft is better than forward, but that is my personal opinion. I do have a tendency to get a bit seasick at times and have found this to be the case.
I recommend deciding which is more important to you – location on the ship or type of cabin. Let your travel agent know and tell them what your choices are. Many times you can have both, but in case you can’t, at least your priority is known.