Which is the Best Side of a Cruise Ship to Be On? (Port vs. Starboard)

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The terms’ Starboard’ and ‘Port’ are widely used while describing parts of a ship. Ideally, these terms refer to either side of the ship in nautical terms. It doesn’t matter which side of the ship you’re on while you’re sailing. This is because the cabins or rooms located on both sides are similar. Moreover, the ship can be docked on either side of a port, which means no particular side enjoys the best views throughout the trip.

What is the origin of the terms’ Port’ and ‘Starboard’?

Words that are commonly used, such as “starboard” and “port,” were used when sailors used a steering oar to control the ship. The steering oar was placed at the right side since most of the sailors were right-handed. Thus the Starboard came to be known as the right side of the ship.

On the other hand, the word Port came from the age-old method of mooring the ship on the left side to protect the steering wheel at a port. Another explanation for the term Starboard is that sailors in the good old days followed the stars to navigate through unknown waters, hence the name.

How is it associated with sailors on old ships?

The ships of yore were quite large and had sails that stretched to a height of up to several meters. These large sails didn’t allow the sailors and the helmsman to see the stars for a sense of direction while sailing. This problem was solved by making a sailor on the deck read the stars and shout out instructions to his partner at the helmsman. The deck where the sailing route was decided came to be known as the Starboard deck. Again, the helm was located at the right side of the ship, assuming that most of the sailors at that time were right-handed.

How do these sides aid in navigation?

Technically, the port side and the starboard side have different colored navigational lights and marine antennas that help in following a particular direction while sailing at night. Starboard lights and portlights are also used to alert other ships to let them know whether you’re crossing, overtaking them, or coming head-on. Either one of the ships can thus alter their course to avoid any kind of collision at sea.

What should you consider while picking a cabin on the ship?

If you’re going to sail, you should be more concerned about the deck and the type of room you’re booking. Which side you are wont really make a difference. The only time the side can matter is when your ship is sailing in one direction. There are some routes on which ships travel in a single direction throughout the journey. Instead of focusing on the direction, find out on which side the gym, elevators, or swimming pool are situated. You can then book your room on that side. Being closer to the restaurant or bar will also make things more convenient while you sail.