Steamship was the way to travel. The best was was to be on the port side going out to sea and on the starboard side on the way home. That is what POSH means. Port outbound, starboard home. POSH was the best way to travel aboard a steamship. Now, it means something else. Elegant or fancy. Even “dressed up.”

Our first cruise was on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas. Not posh.

Once, it meant choosing the best room on the steamship carrying you on your worldwide travels. I would like to travel POSH. Wouldn’t you?


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. Not surprisingly, after his death, everyone wanted to know what was in the envelope. And so they opened it. It said: PORT IS LEFT

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.

The dictionaries have lost the original meaning of the term, but now you know.

Categories: Daily Prompt, Travel

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12 replies

  1. Posh would also depend upon your departure and destination, I would think. If leafing Europe and sailing towards the US it would be one side, while in the other direction it would be the opposite.


    • You know, maybe you are right. I am not sure. I think it has to do with how the boat hits the water and I don’t think, once you are out of a port or harbor, that the waves have a direction other than from weather and the ship itself. I’ll have to ask Tom. They’ve got a big boat (well, to me it looks pretty big). He ought to know. I’ll get back to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always thought it had to do with the direction of the sun (which is the sunny side of the ship vs the darker side) — and that it originated in England, so the orientation was based on Out = away from England, or west, and home = toward England. But I learned that a LONG tme ago, and it may have been a kid’s imipression!


        • And here’s the answer:

          TOM CURLEY
          12:13 AM (19 hours ago)
          to me

          Yes it does. When you went from England to India the expensive berths were on the port side of a cruise ship because it was not in the sun. On the way back it was the starboard side. Only the rich could afford it. They were Posh.

          Sent from my iPhone

          On Mar 23, 2022, at 10:32 PM, Marilyn Armstrong wrote:

          Port out, Starboard home.

          Does the direction in which you are sailing have anything to do with which side is the “better side” on the open sea? Questing minds are asking questions and I don’t know the answer.


  2. Of course, on a cruise you don’t get to choose two different cabins but I’m told that if you are midships you won’t feel much movement. Of course, with the giant ships of today you hardly do anyway. We cruised on Explorer of the Seas which is the same class of ship as Mariner so a similar size. We attended a Q&A session with the captain and officers on the way home from New Zealand and someone asked if the ships stabilisers would be needed on the voyage. The answer was “They are on now.” That’s how good these ships are. We were in a forward cabin a couple of decks below the Bridge.
    I would like to travel posh, in the elegant and fancy meaning. Now we’ve tried a balcony cabin it would be hard to go back to just a porthole, even the big ones that the Royal Caribbean ships have.


    • I was surprised at how little movement there was — but then again, we didn’t encounter any bad weather. My mother was on one of their ships when it hit a storm. She said she was at one point the only person not in the actual crew who came to dinner. She never got seasick. I do, but we sailed on flat seas.

      We sailed VERY cheap, but we were only in the cabin to change clothing, shower, and sleep. Otherwise, we were up top. It would have been nice to have a real cabin with a balcony, but we were glad to be able to travel at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Marilyn, I didn’t know this and it is interesting. I’ve never travelled by ship.


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