Best side of ship to be on for Alaska cruise

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#2
24,743 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Most prefer to be on the side of land.

Northbound - Starboard (right)
Southbound - Port (left)

Some argue that one side over the other gets more glacier time. That has not consistently been my experience. Regadless if that is true, I recommend being on deck for glacier days for the best views.

IMO - it really doesn't matter.
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#3
Ottawa, Illinois
4,031 Posts
Joined May 2009
My Alaskan cruise was from Seattle and ended in Seattle so it really didn't matter. Going through the inside passage you have land on both sides.
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#4
California
730 Posts
Joined May 2011
There will be land on either side nearly all the time.

We go to Alaska all the time. We always book a portside balcony for the glacier bay days. We've been to Hubbard glacier as well, and had a port side cabin. They say both sides gets equal time, but I don't think it's true...

Have fun! I'm envious! I haven't done a two weeker that went that far north!!
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#5
The Big Tomato; i.e. Sacramento CA
7,412 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Personally I don't think it matters. On the glacier day(s), you will most likely be on either the Promenade deck or up top taking in as much as you can. When the Alaska cruise I was on went up Tracy Arm, well as far as we could go anyway, I spent all the time on the Promenade deck taking LOTS of pictures from both sides of the ship.
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#6
Arizona
8,464 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I agree, it doesn't matter.

We spend a great deal of time out on deck with our cameras taking photos from all angles/sides. There is just so much to see. You are going to have a wonderful time no matter which side you choose.
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#7
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,708 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
It would appear that you are on the northbound leg of the Voyage of the Glaciers from Vancouver, in which case I strongly prefer the starboard side as you will almost always be in sight of land which is not the case on the port side. Some believe that the port side is better for your glacier day but on that day you really want to be out on deck to take all the scenery in.
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#8
Syracuse, New York
49,949 Posts
Joined May 2000
Inside passage has land views on both sides.

It does "matter", however, IF you are ONLY going to be viewing Glacier Bay from your cabin and have no intentions of being out on decks. Then you need a port side cabin so the commentary matches up with what you seeing.

I have sailed Glacier Bay over 20 times- consistently the starboard side gets shortchanged. This was noted as recent as twice last year. One Princess sailing I was on several years ago- had NO glacier viewing of Margerie/Grand Pacific, as the cpt did a 180 and left, after "parking" for an hour with port side viewing. Glad that was a one time thing.
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#9
Sechelt, BC & Fort Mohave, AZ
26,708 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
When transiting thru the Inside Passage the are two bodies of water, Queen Charlotte Sound which is about 100 miles in length or about 5 hours and Dixon Entrance which is about 50 miles in length or about 2.5 hours where you are out of sight of land on the port side northbound and the starboard side southbound.
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#10
Orange County, CA
1,089 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
What if you are in a totally aft suite, it doesn't matter, right? You can see both sides?
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#12
Syracuse, New York
49,949 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by 2 to cruise
What if you are in a totally aft suite, it doesn't matter, right? You can see both sides?
People love the aft cabins. BUT these are NOT the place if interested in marine wildlife opportunities- you need forward, for tracking ahead, not a fraction view as you sail away. But, it doesn't matter to a lot of people and they are just fine with chance looks.

Even if you have side viewing, forward will be superior in all the glacier itineraries. So you may want to consider going outside, at least part of the time. BUT again- it certainly is not a priority for some people.
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#13
Arizona
8,464 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
On our last cruise to Alaska on the Dawn Princess we literally stood for HOURS on the front of the ship. It really got cold, but it was so worth it. We didn't want to miss a thing and also by being out on deck we were able to hear the naturalist's talk over the loud speaker.

We also spent time walking around to see it all and even spent time on our balcony which was warmer (side panels on the balcony, completely covered balcony).

Being cold was so worth it. We got so many wonderful photos.
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Alaska/Glacier Bay - Grand Princess Review - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1856141
(note: photos no longer show because of website being gone --- lots of good information though about our trip and the Grand Princess)

Grand Princess 05/2013 to Alaska/Glacier Bay
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#14
Syracuse, New York
49,949 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by MilliesMom
On our last cruise to Alaska on the Dawn Princess we literally stood for HOURS on the front of the ship. It really got cold, but it was so worth it. We didn't want to miss a thing and also by being out on deck we were able to hear the naturalist's talk over the loud speaker.

We also spent time walking around to see it all and even spent time on our balcony which was warmer (side panels on the balcony, completely covered balcony).

Being cold was so worth it. We got so many wonderful photos.
Proper attire solves the cold problem. I'm thankful people are underprepared- which many other, because it keeps the crowding down and people moving.
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#15
Arizona
8,464 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by Budget Queen
Proper attire solves the cold problem. I'm thankful people are underprepared- which many other, because it keeps the crowding down and people moving.
We definitely were prepared, it just was plain cold out on the front of the ship. We had jackets, sweatshirts, heavy socks, hats, gloves. Then in Ketchikan we got by with wind breakers.

We stayed in the same spot for hours. Didn't want to lose our premium location. It was one of those areas you had to know which door to take to get to, so only about 30 people there during the course of the day.
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Alaska/Glacier Bay - Grand Princess Review - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1856141
(note: photos no longer show because of website being gone --- lots of good information though about our trip and the Grand Princess)

Grand Princess 05/2013 to Alaska/Glacier Bay
RCCL Mariner OTS 4/2009 to Mexican Riviera
Carnival Spirit 11/2007 Acapulco
Carnival Spirit 4/2007 Mexican Riviera (Cabo/LaPaz)
Dawn Princess 9/2006 (Alaska)
Carnival Spirit 1/2006 (Acapulco)
RCCL Viking Serenade 4/1999 Ensenada
Carnival Elation 4/1998 Mexican Riviera (Puerta Vallerta)
RCCL Viking Serenade (11/1995) Ensenada
NCL Southward (1994) Ensenada
Pacific Princess (9/1986) Alaska
#16
Syracuse, New York
49,949 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by MilliesMom
We definitely were prepared, it just was plain cold out on the front of the ship. We had jackets, sweatshirts, heavy socks, hats, gloves. Then in Ketchikan we got by with wind breakers.

We stayed in the same spot for hours. Didn't want to lose our premium location. It was one of those areas you had to know which door to take to get to, so only about 30 people there during the course of the day.
Where's the scarf??? I don't ever stay in one place for hours. It sounds like you also get caught up in maybe some wind, which cools down even more. I also wear wind pants, very insulating.
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#17
Arizona
8,464 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Originally posted by Budget Queen
Where's the scarf??? I don't ever stay in one place for hours. It sounds like you also get caught up in maybe some wind, which cools down even more. I also wear wind pants, very insulating.
Jacket had a hood with tie and snap around the neck plus I had my hat on.

I'm just one of those people that get cold. It didn't feel windy, to us it was really cold out that day. We live in AZ. Yesterday it was 90 here and today 85. During the winter it gets below freezing at night but it typically at least 40 degrees warmer during the day. When we went to Alaska, it was in September and the temps in AZ had been 110 to 118 degrees, so Alaska even with being prepared was cold to us ...

We didn't want to move. The viewing area was pretty private and perfect. We were right by speakers too to hear the naturalist and it had to be in a similar area but higher than us. We had a 180 degree view and could walk over if needed to see down the side.

Later we went up on deck and walked around too.

It was great fun. But as I said, we were prepared with our winter weight clothing and insulated items, but to us it was cold.

I think each person is different on how they respond to the cold. AND yes, you are correct many come unprepared.
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Alaska/Glacier Bay - Grand Princess Review - http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1856141
(note: photos no longer show because of website being gone --- lots of good information though about our trip and the Grand Princess)

Grand Princess 05/2013 to Alaska/Glacier Bay
RCCL Mariner OTS 4/2009 to Mexican Riviera
Carnival Spirit 11/2007 Acapulco
Carnival Spirit 4/2007 Mexican Riviera (Cabo/LaPaz)
Dawn Princess 9/2006 (Alaska)
Carnival Spirit 1/2006 (Acapulco)
RCCL Viking Serenade 4/1999 Ensenada
Carnival Elation 4/1998 Mexican Riviera (Puerta Vallerta)
RCCL Viking Serenade (11/1995) Ensenada
NCL Southward (1994) Ensenada
Pacific Princess (9/1986) Alaska
#18
Syracuse, New York
49,949 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by MilliesMom
Jacket had a hood with tie and snap around the neck plus I had my hat on.

I'm just one of those people that get cold. It didn't feel windy, to us it was really cold out that day. We live in AZ. Yesterday it was 90 here and today 85. During the winter it gets below freezing at night but it typically at least 40 degrees warmer during the day. When we went to Alaska, it was in September and the temps in AZ had been 110 to 118 degrees, so Alaska even with being prepared was cold to us ...

We didn't want to move. The viewing area was pretty private and perfect. We were right by speakers too to hear the naturalist and it had to be in a similar area but higher than us. We had a 180 degree view and could walk over if needed to see down the side.

Later we went up on deck and walked around too.

It was great fun. But as I said, we were prepared with our winter weight clothing and insulated items, but to us it was cold.

I think each person is different on how they respond to the cold. AND yes, you are correct many come unprepared.
And your Az normal temps, are boiling to some people. Absolutely everyone is different. This board is just excellent with those reminders and practical suggestions for attire.

I know right where you are talking about, I'd sailed the Sun Princess 3 times, when new, was a sister ship to the Dawn.
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#19
Southern New Jersey
382 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
We have an aft balcony for our July inside passage cruise. Will write again regarding the wildlife, land side, and glacier views.
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#20
Syracuse, New York
49,949 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by kidz_rn
We have an aft balcony for our July inside passage cruise. Will write again regarding the wildlife, land side, and glacier views.
You will have good luck seeing humpbacks which are pretty easy. Not sure what wildlife you plan to otherwise see, but good luck, and always have those binoculars handy.
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