Last year when I was on the HAL Veendam in Bermuda the cabin that I was in faced Front St when the ship was docked .
Do ships always dock the same way ? This is a serious question .
Simple answer: No
It depends on the port, pier assignment, weather conditions and other factors.
In one port the ship may face the land in another it may face out to sea. It may also dock perpendicular to the land. It may also dock differently in the same port depending on what berth it's assigned.
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There are many other factors that determine which side of the ship faces the pier.
1. The Chief Officer needs to have his staff wash and paint the hull nearly every day. Painting on the harbor side is normally forbidden, and can be very difficult even if allowed. It depends on which side needs washing/painting.
2. Many ships can bunker water or fuel only on one side.
3. Many ships can offload garbage only on one side.
4. Many ships have shell doors at different levels and locations on different sides of the ship. A high or low tide may force them to park with one specific side available for a gangway.
5. Many ships need to turn around to leave a port. This turning often takes some time. Some ships arriving late may opt to park with the easiest side facing the pier, then turn around before departure. This avoids tours departing late.
6. If a ship needs to turn around before leaving a port, the Captain may not want to do it in the dark if the ship has a later departure. He may opt to turn the ship around in the morning sun instead, before arriving at the pier.