Bow thrusters are the mechanisms which have made tugboats almost obsolete. They "push" the ship away from the pier, and shouldn't have any impact on your choice of cabin, since they're used only when leaving port.
a bow thruster is just that,in the bow,so midship is a good spot to not be near them. the worst that will happen is that u could hear or feel them when they operate. mind u,they only are used in port(to help dock and stear the ship) so,if u where close they might wake u in the morning as the ship docks befor u planed on awakining.
first-off midships is the place to be!! as for the thrusters, they are only used in port. Its really cool to watch how they work!!! You will hear them, and feel a slight back & forth motion. Not to worry.
Hopefully you are feeling a sideways motion. They are used three or four minutes on a good day, ten if things are going badly. An onshore or offshore wind can really screw up handling alongside, especially with the sail area on today's cattle boats.
There is nothing magic about the thrusters. It's just a pipe through the ship with a propeller in the middle. You can put them on your 35 footer these days.
I still think shouting orders to be passed in another language to an array of tugs is far more romantic than flipping a toggle switch, even though the ship does seem to go where you want with the toggle switch.
Don, it also sounds like the don't use the same array of hawsers with these new propulsion systems. Those would be cast off in specific sequences as part of the undocking procedure in different circumstances.
It also sounds like the evolution of ships controls has come almost full circle. Started out with steering oars, then tillers, then whipstaffs, then wheels. Then from wheel to yoke (tiller), from yoke to joystick (whipstafff). What's next, passengers pay to take turns rowing? :-)
You're correct about working a ship in using lines. They can now position the ship precisely with the thrusters and use them to take the strain off the lines when getting under way. Bow and stern lines tending fore and aft seem to serve as spring lines. Spring lines amidships would apparently get in the way of brows and mess up the view.
Biggest change to seamanship with the coming of the pods (1000 hp trolling motors) and thrusters is that the captain or pilot physically controls the ship himself (cannot bring myself to say herself, - yet). In the good old days, the officer of the deck would bark orders to the helmsman(helmsperson) and lee helms(whatever) to maneuver.
A challenge to the navigation team that they have it too easy usually leads to an invitation to the bridge. They love to show off their new toys, especially to someone seemingly entrenched on the old school. Lot of fun since today's bridge teams grew up with GPS and electric propulsion systems. If I can keep them chuckling with stories about steam turbine lag and tugs playing bumper car, my welcome lasts forever.
One of the most unique docking maneuvers I ever saw was in Port Canaveral, about
15 years ago. It was before the full development of the cruise terminal.
A tug assisted the approach of an immense dry goods carrier--I can't recall the name, but the stern showed a home port of Valencia. As the ship passed passed us, a man in a Ford Bronco pulled up along the North quay, near the base of the "grain" elevators. A mesenger line was thrown or shot from the ship to the man standing next to the Bronco. He wrapped the messenger one time around a bollard on the quay, then tied the free end to the trailer hitch on the Bronco. He then drove the Bronco to the opposite end of the quay, untied the line from the trailer hitch, backed up to the original bollard. He half hitched the another portion of the line to the hitch and drove, very slowly this time, away from the bollard.
At this point in time the ship end of the line had finally emerged from the hawsehole. It was attached to the hauser which was now being slowly deployed by the winch. After the loop end of that hawseline was finally mounted on the bollard, he drove down to another bollard, and repeated the process for the stern of the ship.
After both hawsers were mounted on their bollards, the ship was winched, again with tug assistance, up to the quay. The remaining lines, springs, etc. were then secured.
Because I don't live an area ships can reach, I had never seen a Ford used that way, and I've never forgotten it.
The Voyager of the Seas has port and starboard azipods, plus a fixed but reversible electric prop mounted in the skeg. Maybe I don't understand thrusters, but it seems to me that they wouldn't be able to overcome all the inertia if they're all at one end or the other. It seems to me that the ship would just pivot, rather than move sideways, if there weren't a thruster at the bow. Maybe there's some combination of RPM and prop pitch that compensates. Any physicists or engineers, out there?
Paul... those azipods replace the stern thrusters... the "bow thrusters" are still there... but I don't get the complaint. At their worst, they may operate for a few minutes. Heck... folks are on a ship at sea... not some kind of land based hotel!
Usually your only indication they are operating is the mud being churned up. With bow thrusters and either stern thrusters/pods, the ship can move sideways or pivot. They are also handy to offset an onshore or offshore wind.
We had a forward suite on the Regal Empress years ago and the bow thruster sounded like the anchor being let go. The ship's draft was so deep, she was a converted (sort of) ocean liner, we had to stay so far offshore at the various ports that we couldn't anchor. The ship had to constantly maneuver to maintain any semblance of position and we had to listen to the racket all day.