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Which Side of Cruise Ship Is Best for Alaska

Which Side of Cruise Ship Is Best for Alaska

Alaska, with its breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife, is a popular destination for cruise enthusiasts. Cruising through the icy waters, surrounded by towering glaciers and snow-capped mountains, is an experience like no other. However, when planning an Alaska cruise, one question that often arises is, “Which side of the cruise ship is best for Alaska?” In this article, we will dive into this question and explore the factors that can help you decide.

Factors to Consider

1. Scenic Views: Alaska’s scenery is the main draw for most travelers. When choosing a side of the ship, you need to consider the spots where you can get the best views of glaciers, fjords, and other natural wonders. Generally, the starboard side (right side when facing forward) offers better views during the southbound journey, while the port side (left side) provides better views during the northbound route. This is because the ship often sails close to the coastline, and the ports of call are usually on the opposite side.

2. Sunlight and Shade: Another aspect to consider is the amount of sunlight and shade you desire. The starboard side tends to receive more sunlight during the day, while the port side offers more shade. If you prefer to bask in the sun on your balcony or enjoy long daylight hours, the starboard side might be more suitable. On the other hand, if you prefer a cooler and shaded environment, the port side may be a better choice.

3. Wildlife Spotting: Alaska’s wildlife, such as whales, dolphins, seals, and eagles, is a major highlight of any cruise. To increase your chances of spotting these magnificent creatures, you should choose a side that offers the best vantage point. Generally, both sides provide opportunities for wildlife sightings. However, the side opposite the ports of call often offers better chances of spotting wildlife, as the ship tends to slow down or stop near these areas.

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4. Glacier Views: Glaciers are a major attraction in Alaska, and witnessing their majestic beauty is a must-do. When it comes to glacier viewing, the side of the ship is less important, as most cruise itineraries take passengers close to glaciers from both sides. Moreover, some ships even rotate 360 degrees near glaciers, ensuring everyone gets a good view. Therefore, glacier viewing is not a deciding factor when choosing the side of the ship.


Q: Can I change sides during the cruise?
A: Yes, you can move around the ship to experience different views. However, keep in mind that certain areas might be restricted for safety reasons or reserved for specific cabin categories.

Q: Will I miss out on anything if I choose the “wrong” side?
A: No, both sides of the ship offer stunning views and unforgettable experiences. While one side may have a slight advantage in certain situations, it does not mean you will miss out on anything significant if you choose the other side.

Q: What about balconies?
A: Balconies are a great way to enjoy the scenic beauty of Alaska. Regardless of the side, having a balcony allows you to soak up the views whenever you want, without worrying about crowded decks or limited viewing angles.

Q: Are there any other factors to consider?
A: Yes, weather conditions can impact your experience. Be prepared for rain, wind, and cooler temperatures, and pack appropriate clothing layers. Additionally, consider the ship’s layout and amenities, as these aspects can greatly enhance your overall cruise experience.

In conclusion, choosing the best side of the cruise ship for an Alaska voyage depends on personal preferences. Whether you opt for the starboard or port side, you are bound to witness the unparalleled beauty of Alaska’s landscapes, wildlife, and glaciers. So, sit back, relax, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the Last Frontier.

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