I. Location On The Ship: Things To Look Out For & To Avoid
There are some locations on a cruise ship that you will want to avoid. Avoid selecting a stateroom under or above a main lounge, dining room, galley, or any late night hotspots (for example, bars and casinos). These areas may create some noise at night that could keep you awake. I have read some reviews of cruisers that have had rooms under pools and major outside decks that have reported noise above their cabin too. Try to avoid being under a main outside deck area as well. You could get noise at any time from any of these areas. If possible try to avoid being near elevator banks because you may hear a little bit of elevator noise or passengers getting on/off the elevators. Although you can try to avoid these spots, noise can come into any room from the passengers walking in the hallway, elevator banks, or from the ship's motors in general. It is difficult to find a spot onboard that is 100% free from noise, but try to choose a room that you think will mitigate the amount of noise you may hear from public areas and other passengers.
In addition to having to worry about location, you need to worry about obstructed view staterooms. If you are staying in an interior stateroom (with no view) this is something you don't have to worry about. Some cruise ships have staterooms that have obstructed views that are caused by jut-outs in the ship, lifeboats, or porthole windows. If you are staying in a stateroom with a window, balcony, or both you need to find out if your stateroom has an obstructed view. Obstructed views would allow you to see out, but it would be limited by something else. This could put a damper on your vacation because of limited visibility. Some cruise lines report staterooms with an obstructed view, but some do not! Make sure you find out before booking if the room you want to choose has some type of obstruction that could hinder your view out!
II. In Order To See The Most Amount of Scenery Possible: Which Side Do I Choose?
This is a commonly asked question about Alaska cruises. Some cruise ships have specific set paths that would make it easy to know which side of the ship will allow you to see certain highlights and which side of the ship will face the port when the ship docks in a port of call. If this is the case for your cruise ship & line all you have to do is contact your cruise line to get these details so you can make an informed decision when choosing which side of the ship your cabin is on.
However, most cruise ships don't sail the exact same route each cruise. This means many circumstances could play a role in what your side of the ship sees and which side of the ship faces port when the ship docks. Factors could include the navigational bridge's staff, the ship's timeliness when arriving to the port, and the harbormaster/coast guard's preference.
Don't lose hope in your stateroom because many cruise lines turn the ship 360 degrees at highlights in scenic cruise spots. This will ensure balconies and staterooms on both sides have an opportunity to see the scenic spots. Ask your cruise line if they turn the ship around in their scenic cruise spots to insure each side has the fair chance to see one of the spot's highlights. In ports of call, one side may get to have a look at the port, but the outside public decks are open to everyone and you can visit those to see the port if your side didn't get to the dock the way you wanted it to.
III. Rough Seas in Alaska? Which Shipboard Location Will Lessen The Effects?
There are some spots that cruise ships have to travel through around Alaska that are known for having rougher seas, wave heights, and making some people feel a little sick. For example, the area known as the Outside Passage is known for have rougher seas and making some people sick. When I cruised the Carnival Miracle in 2013 the rougher seas of the Outside Passage made me feel motion sick. There a few other areas like the Outside Passage that are known for having rougher seas.
If the whole ship is rocking there may be no location that can completely escape the effects. On my Carnival Miracle cruise I noticed the middle of the ship did not feel as much of the effect of the Outside Passage's rockier waters. For this reason, I recommend booking a stateroom in the middle of the ship if you think you might experience sea-sickness.
If you are not prone to sea-sickness, I would not place much emphasis on rough seas when selecting a stateroom location. However, I recommend bringing some sea-sickness medicine that could help you if you get sea-sick, whether because of the waves or just from being on a moving ship.
Make sure you put time and effort into choosing your stateroom for an Alaska cruise. If you are just excited about cruising to Alaska and want to take whatever room you can that is an option too! However, don't be upset if you get stuck with a stateroom that has an obstructed view. If you have the power to choose your stateroom use it wisely and make informed decisions!