All pre-departure checks have been made, the dreaded muster drill has been performed and the lines are being cast. It can only mean one thing – sailaway time!
Now, the question is, where is the best place to go and see the ship sail? Firstly you have to get there and especially after muster drill when there are larger crowds than normal in one given area, it can be very frustrating and to try and get the best spot, you have to be nimbled footed to try and get past the crowds who are moving in one direction.
A popular spot for many is the upper outer decks, around the main swimming pool. This is generally where the sailaway parties are conducted from with live music and the entertainment crew trying to get the passengers to participate. This is ususally the busiest place at sailway. With more of an elevated position, you can get some very good views of both port and starboard whilst up on the top decks. Here you can grab a drink and relax by the railing whilst looking back at the port from where you’ve left with a sense of excitement and satisfaction as your cruise has begun.
On some cruise ships, particularly Princess Cruises, you can get access to the bow area. It’s an extension to the main promenade deck but you can go right round the front of the bow and get some very unusual angles. It’s a great design really and we experienced that on both Sapphire Princess and Emerald Princess and also on P&O Cruises Azura. This is great for sailaway as it gives you a wonderful outlook into the port and what’s ahead of you as you sail out.
The promenade deck on ships is also a popular place to witness a sailaway. Depending on which ship the side is berthed, you are best to go to the side which is berthed alongside to see the lines slip and to wave at any of the wellwishers who have come to see the ship sail from the prospective vantage points shoreside. Once departed, you can then switch to the other side and get a different perspective from there. There is also the chance to partake in some sailaway drinks too as their will be bar waiters out on the deck to tempt you with a glass of bubbly to mark the ship sailing.
For ships that have outer aft decks, this can also be a great vantage point to see the ship sail. Here you can stand by the railing and wave back at the ever increasingly disappearing land as you make your way out to sea. Grab a drink, take a deck chair and sit back, relax and enjoy the view. It’s often one of the more sheltered areas too, particularly if the ship is sailing into the wind.
If you are lucky enough to have a balcony (we rarely sail in a balcony cabin) this is a great place in which to enjoy your sailaway. It’s your own private space in which you can sit back, relax and enjoy a drink without the noise of being at the party. Restricted to only what you see on your side of the ship, you can still can great views and perfect opportunities for photos too!
Finally, one place that does tend to attract a good crowd is the viewing areas above the bridge. Sadly not all cruise ships have this area but the ones that do, it’s a great place to go and see the ship sail. We a vast panaroma on offer, you get a great elevated postion above the bridge overlooking the bow. On Sapphire Princess, there is a great viewing area that covers the bridge area directly above the bridge with wonderful views across the bows and also access to the wings where you can look back aft along the ship both on the port and starboard sides.
So, where is the best vantage point on a cruise ship for sailaway? Well, that’s quite tricky to give a definitive answer but there is definitely lots of places where you can go to witness the ship sail. Whether that be from the comfort of your own balcony, to the viewing area above the bridge or from the promenade deck to the aft decks, you’ll be spoilt for choice, no matter what size of ship you sail on. It’s about exploring the ship and testing out all the areas, that way you can come to an informed decision. No matter where you decide to go, you’ll always enjoy the wonderful experience of sailaway. That is virtually guaranteed!