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Posted (edited)

We've only cruised with Royal and are looking at future Alaska cruise. Possibly HAL Westerdam from Seward to Vancouver. Looking at rooms now. Question... I would like to be on the side of the ship that looks out into the port water and into land while sailing mostly. Not looking at the dock or the Pacific Ocean. From my experience on Radiance, I'm guessing that might be the port side. We were on the starboard side in May on Radiance and only saw docks and open ocean most of the time - loading and unloading were on the starboard side of Radiance. Does this process hold the same on Westerdam? Just doing my research because finding a port side balcony on the Radiance for our next possible dates has become a futile effort.

Edited by masterdrago

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Which side is to the dock will vary with the port, and the needs of the ship. It is generally not predictable. On our recent Alaska cruise, the Captain deliberately put varying sides to the dock for varies reasons, including so that away from the dock side could drill with the lifeboats/tenders. Drills were happening almost every day in port. 

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Posted (edited)

Luck of the draw maybe as regards the ports.  For me personally, I'm just delighted to be on the ship.  If I don't like the view from my balcony, I can always go to one of the public decks/rooms to view the preferred vista.  In Alaska, though, most of the views, regardless of port/starboard are jaw-dropping.  Enjoy.

Edited by sevenseasnomad

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33 minutes ago, T8NCruise said:

 

How very, very helpful of you and hopefully not indicative of the onboard staff attitude towards the paying passenger.

 

To masterdragoI - quite often, the ship docks with the starboard side facing the dock, so you never can tell which side to book. I personally like to be on the dock side, but honestly, it's a gamble when you book.  Perhaps an aft-facing cabin would suit?

Aft facing cabin??!! And I thought a Grand Suite was expensive. We were in a starboard grand suite on deck 10 on the curve jut out just aft of mid ship. The room was awesome with a great view except the for the dock views at all 6 ports. So yep, Radiance unloads on the starboard side. I was just wondering if the Westerdam did the same thing. I do know that RCI Liberty of the Seas does the same. Also, sailing south, the land view looking back to the east (port side) is more involved with topography than the west facing (ocean) starboard side. Image is looking east (port side) after leaving Hubbard Glacier on May 25th.

J9PsO8l.jpg

room 1556 deck 10.jpg

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1 hour ago, sevenseasnomad said:

Luck of the draw maybe as regards the ports.  For me personally, I'm just delighted to be on the ship.  If I don't like the view from my balcony, I can always go to one of the public decks/rooms to view the preferred vista.  In Alaska, though, most of the views, regardless of port/starboard are jaw-dropping.  Enjoy.

Agree on the jaw dropping views - part of the reason we did a balcony room. I had little issue hiking the ship for the better views. I had read somewhere, maybe CC, that some folks had witnessed bubble net feeding in port. Hard to do that from a big $$ balcony facing the dock. I'm just trying to plan with a bit of research b4 the next Alaska trip. I'm getting the message that it's completely unpredictable and I had a feeling that any ship can load/unload from either side. Actually, in Ketchikan Radiance was docked with the port side against the dock, so my mistake about all 6 ports using starboard side.

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2 hours ago, masterdrago said:

Possibly HAL Westerdam from Seward to Vancouver. Looking at rooms now. Question... I would like to be on the side of the ship that looks out into the port water and into land while sailing mostly. Not looking at the dock or the Pacific Ocean. From my experience on Radiance, I'm guessing that might be the port side. We were on the starboard side in May on Radiance and only saw docks and open ocean most of the time - loading and unloading were on the starboard side of Radiance. Does this process hold the same on Westerdam? 

Drago:

In my unscientific (no control!) experience, passenger loading is more often starboard. I hear that it's random, but not what we've had (everywhere, not only in Alaska). 

 

As far as Seward to Vancouver: in the Gulf of Alaska, everyone's view is water. In glacier viewing areas (Hubbard, Glacier Bay) the ship will turn giving all sizes exposure. Marine mammals could be on either side, forward or aft. In the areas from Cape Spencer to Ketchikan -- Including Icy Point Strait/Hoonah, Haines/Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, but not Sitka if that is in your itinerary -- you will have land on either side, as you will from just south of K, to Vancouver as you sail between Vancouver Island and mainland BC.

 

I would pick my cabin from other criteria, myself. 

 

Westerdam is a Vista Class ship and that is our newest favorite class after doing a transAtlantic on the Zuiderdam last March. HAL has a very good product in Alaska!

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It appeared that when we had land on both sides of our ship in May, it was dark or close to it. With the possible exception of the departure from Icy Strait and Ketchikan for a few hours. Getting close to Skagway we had some very nice Golden Hour times as we made our way up Lynn Canal. I want to try and pick our next trip and cabin location with possibly a better view than loading docks. I also want to research better when the ship will have daytime viewing of the fabulous Alaska coastline.

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Our first three cruises were on the Veendam, Zaandam, and Noordam and we observed that the Starboard side was the side most likely to be towards the dock but our experience on the Westerdam last fall was that the dock side was split equally between port and starboard. We now pick the side that will have the sunset, Can't beat sipping a cocktail on your private balcony as the sun sets.

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We just came off the Westerdam two days ago and were thrilled with our aft-facing veranda. In fact we turned down a free upgrade to a Signature Suite to keep the aft veranda.  At dock we saw both land and water except in Seward where the aft was backed into a slot. There we saw river otter and a seal behind the ship. Note that we were sailing north so always had sun, whereas sailing south an aft veranda would face north.

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This might or might not be helpful.  According to our resident HAL insider, the docking plan is drawn up by the Staff Captain, and some seem to have a preference for one side or another while others have opposite preferences.  I've been following the Juneau webcam and notice that some ships virtually always dock port to with the stern facing webcam and some virtually identical ships always dock starboard to.  That's just for Juneau, it might be different for other ports.  You might try following the Westerdam on https://www.marinetraffic.com for a couple of weeks,   If you zoom in on it on port days it will show a ship shaped icon with a pointy bow, and you would see the orientation in the different ports.  That isn't a guarantee, the staff captains might rotate, or there might be special maintenance or training needs but it's at least a start.  Enjoy Alaska.

 

Roy

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10 hours ago, rafinmd said:

This might or might not be helpful.  According to our resident HAL insider, the docking plan is drawn up by the Staff Captain, and some seem to have a preference for one side or another while others have opposite preferences.  I've been following the Juneau webcam and notice that some ships virtually always dock port to with the stern facing webcam and some virtually identical ships always dock starboard to.  That's just for Juneau, it might be different for other ports.  You might try following the Westerdam on https://www.marinetraffic.com for a couple of weeks,   If you zoom in on it on port days it will show a ship shaped icon with a pointy bow, and you would see the orientation in the different ports.  That isn't a guarantee, the staff captains might rotate, or there might be special maintenance or training needs but it's at least a start.  Enjoy Alaska.

 

Roy

Thanks. Outstanding suggestion.

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Just reviewed my Westerdam photos from last week and can tell you we docked  starboard  side in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagwa, but port in Seward.

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3 hours ago, Rosmerta said:

Just reviewed my Westerdam photos from last week and can tell you we docked  starboard  side in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagwa, but port in Seward.

Thank you.

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Using the tracker idea by rafinmd, I see right now that Radiance is docked Ketchikan with port side loading. So folks on the starboard side might get to watch if bubble-net feeding happens in the nearby waters. I'll keep tabs on the Westerdam soon. She appears to be docked port side in Haines. Thanks to all.

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