The " port" side of a SHIP, not boat, is the left hand side facing foward. However the ship will not always tie up to the pier with the port side next to the pier. In St. Thomas for example, the ships I have been on always tied up with the "starboard" side next to the pier.
2002 Celebrity " Galaxy"
2007" Explorer of the Seas
2011 " Pride"
The side of the ship that will face the port can change between cruises. It depends on what time the ship arrives and which berth they are assigned. It really makes no difference if your cabin is on the left (port) or starboard (right).
In regard to terminology. Port is the left side of the ship when facing the bow. Starboard is the right side of ship when facing the bow. The stern is the back of the ship. Forward is toward the front and aft is toward the back. The bow is the front of the ship.
Have a great cruise.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me
Normally the port, (left side), of the ship, the cabin numbers will be even numbers. On the Starboard, (right side), of the ship your cabin numbers will usually be odd numbers. From my Navy days...the only boats are lifeboats, small boats and submarines...but we use to call submarines targets. (My Destroyer days).
We almost always reserve a port side balcony stateroom. I normally can take the best photographs from that side.
We love anything assocated with crusing and traveling. We are retired U.S. Navy...and loving it, "Been there...done that"! (almost).
MS Carnival Glory 11/2010
MS Carnival Liberty 11/2007
MS Carnival Spirit 10/2006
MS Carnival Victory 12/2005
MS Star Princess 12/2002
MS Carnival Victory 12/2000
USS Bristol County, LST 1198, 1980-1982
USS Turner Joy, DD951, 1973-1978
Whether you'll be better on port or starboard is all relative to the particular port you're in. Some ports you may always tie up on one side or the other, while other ports it changes all the time, and yet other ports you're tendered. Plus, on your particular cruise, port side could be 'best' in one port and starboard side could be 'best' in another port.
As I always tell people when they demand the starboard side when doing an Alaskan cruise because they want to see the scenery, while you're on your balcony watching that, you may be missing the whales on the other side of the ship.
Whenever arriving into or departing port, it's always best to be outside up on the highest deck so you can walk from one side to the other to take pictures because it always changes. And if you're on your balcony, you're missing half of it. Plus, the sun moves and what was a bad picture in the morning while you were coming it, may be a spectacular picture in the evening while you're going out.
Besides, most people want to be in port walking around, seeing the sites, going to the beach, or taking excursions, so it's not like you plan to spend all day on your balcony while in port. And if you do, you may be in the sun or shade all day, which may or may not be what you want.
So the only hard and fast rule is about which side of the ship is best.... there is no hard and fast rule.
__________________ 47 Cruises & Counting! Favorites: Paul Gauguin to Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises in Europe; any of the Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America for 12-nights in the Baltics & Russia; RCCL for 14-night Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America for 14-day Alaska cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days in Hawaii including a 7-night NCL cruise; Oceania for 25 days in Asia; & 3 months touring Europe by train. And many days spent in all-inclusive resorts!