I know it is a small port with minimal traffic, but yesterday I found a great spot to see ships at Morehead City NC USA.
Go across to Bogue Banks/Atlantic Beach and go to the Fort Macon State Park. At the main Fort Parking Lot, across from the Fort is a beach overlook. It has a wooden walkway and covered shelter for it. It overlooks the main channel going in and out of the Harbour and is a great place to spot ships. Why I hadn't found this before I don't know.
Hope this helps someone, even in a small way.