PORT OUT, STARBOARD HOME – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday – POSH

That was the way to travel. Port outboard, starboard on the way home. POSH – the comfortable way to travel aboard a steamship. Now, it means something else. Elegant or fancy. Even “dressed up.”


But once, it meant how you chose the best room on the steamship carrying you on your worldwide travels.

I would like to travel POSH, wouldn’t you?

Just one addition:

Once upon a time, there was a great sea captain. Every morning, before he talked to his crew, he went to his safe, took out an envelope. He then read its contents, nodded, and moved on with his day. He never told anyone what was in that envelope (or the safe).

Not surprisingly, after his death, everyone wanted to know what was in the envelope.

It was opened. It read:


I was always taught by people I knew who sailed that the most comfortable cabins were always “port out, starboard home.” I never met a sea-going person who did not know this. It has to do with how the ship takes oncoming waves or the position of the sun on the deck of the ship. Only the wealthy could afford two separate cabins, one for outward bound and the other heading for home.

What do dictionaries on the Internet know about the seas? Not much!

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

21 thoughts on “PORT OUT, STARBOARD HOME – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. I love cruising or did, back when we were able to do it. I’m not sure I’d like it now.

      I don’t like the way they design new cruise ships. They are, to my mind, too big above the waterline with not enough draft for safe travels. Yes, I’ve seen the DVDs and read the literature, but I have also noticed that there are many more accidents since these new ships came to life — maybe 20 years ago? I think deeper hulled ships are more stable. And having sailed a bit, whenever the water got a little bouncy, we dropped the centerboard so we’d have more depth of hull in the water. I think we were right.

      The ocean is fickle. For now, I’ll take a nice, small craft and let others ride on those giant sea-going monsters.


    2. We liked cruising because it was simple. Meals just showed up — pretty much everywhere and any time of the day or night. In your room, out on the deck, in a dining room. You could eat until none of your clothes fit and you had to buy new ones. Most travelers brought elastic or generally loose garments. The food … oh my god the FOOD. But everything is available and there’s no effort in getting to it. There are shows and movies and pools and sunshine and occasionally, drama. The dolphins leap in the wake of the ship and when you pull into a harbor, like as not, there is a rainbow.


  1. I didn’t know any of these ….. but I also never felt inclined to travel on an ocean liner. I love water, the sea, lakes, rivers, ponds, any water and I’m fine. But I tend to get ‘sea’sick very quickly and badly. So I’m happy to do ‘cruises’ on our lakes, take boat tours when in a city with a river & a boating company and go swimming if possible….. Love the Capitain’s Envelope’s story 🙂


  2. Posh is nice for a change but we usually went backpacking with cheap food and cheap hotels, as a rule. If you did “posh” you could easily spend the same amount for one night as you would for our entire trip. Besides one posh hotel is the same as another. The cheap ones had character and characters in them.


    1. There was a period during the 90s when cruises were VERY cheap. Cheaper than motels. I think they assumed your bar bill would make up the difference. But our first cruise cost us like $750 for the TWO of us including all the food. Garry’s BAR bill was more than twice that, so I guess we made up the difference. If you cruise, definitely DON’T drink!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I would have also needed that envelope… although with an added reminder of which end is the stern and which if the bow. Thankfully, I don’t go on ships so all I need to know if the perfectly fine landlubber terms right, left, front and back…


    1. The bow has a point and that’s usually where the boat is going. Otherwise, I remember that port and left have the same number of letters (4). A lot of people have abandoned “boat-speak” for normal English. You may understand it, but your guests don’t know that “JIBE AHOY” means DUCK DUMMY! Also, airplanes use “right, left, front, and rear” because passengers need information in a hurry. Boat-speak is fun in a piratical way, but not necessarily informative.


      1. Me, too! we are actually hoping to buy on in the next year, figuring we can resell it later. Getting older, getting less spry, we want to get out there NOW before its too damn late…..We will be “POSH” as we go, though, because I will make sure we have great meals, if nothing else!


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