We went form Alcapulo to San Jaun through the Canal and we had a balcony on the starboard side. It was great. On the open decks we went back and forth on the side of the ships. Generally I liked the starboard because you could see the land. The naval base was on that side. The fire station was on the other side though and the ships passed on the other side.. Make sure you see both. When you go under the bridge of Americas on the Pacific side be up on deck and you feel like you can reach up and touch it! Read as much as you can - we could bearly hear the naration going on. I have read so much since we did this cruise in 1996 that now I need to go again!