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cruise line terminologies

A-Z of useful cruise terms to learn


before you embark
Aft
Aft is at or towards the back end of the ship.

Anytime dining
Anytime dining allows guests to dine whenever they want, with no set schedule or timetable
dictating their meals times. They can make a reservation if necessary or simply wander into
their favourite restaurant on-board.

Beam
The beam is the widest part of the ship, usually located towards the middle of the vessel.

Berth
Berth can mean either a bed or a place where the ship is docked.

Bow and stern


The bow is at the front of the ship and the stern is at the back of the ship.

Bridge
The bridge is where the captain and crew controls, navigates and steers the ship.

Galley
The galley is another name for the ship’s kitchen.

Gangway
The gangway is the ramp which is used to connect the ship with the shore upon arrival in
port.

Gratuities
Gratuities is another word for the tips that are automatically charged to a guest’s on-board
account for the service that they have received on-board.

Helm
The helm is the equipment used to steer and navigate the ship, found in the bridge.

Hull
The hull is the ship’s outer shell which extends from the main deck down to the keel.

Keel
The keel is the ship’s backbone, which runs lengthways along the middle of the bottom of
the vessel.
Maiden voyage
A maiden voyage refers to the very first sailing of a new ship.

Muster drill
The muster drill is a non-optional event on the first day of a new cruise during which
passengers are guided through their ships safety and emergency procedures. It is
imperative that guests do not miss this safety briefing as it contains vital information for
everyone on-board.

Open-seating
In an open-seating dining venue, guests can sit wherever, whenever and with whomever
they wish.

Port and Starboard


When facing towards the front of the ship, port is on the left side and starboard is on the
right.

Promenade
The promenade is an open deck which runs all the way around the ship, sometimes used
as a jogging track for guests.

Roll
The roll refers to the movement of the ship from side to side whilst in the water.

Single supplement
Single supplement is an additional charge that single passengers must pay to allow just one
person in any given suite or stateroom.

Tender
A tender is a small boat used to transport passengers to shore when the port’s dock is not
large enough for the cruise ship to access.

Traditional dining
With traditional dining, guests are allocated a specific table and timeslot for their meals, so
that they can dine with the same group of people each night and develop a standard routine
and rigid schedule on-board.

Veranda
The veranda is a private balcony featured in certain suites and staterooms.
aboard

onboard, or on the ship; the opposite of ashore. Used when referring to being or doing something on the

ship

about

To turn the ship around

abreast

Alongside something, usually another ship or a dock

add-on

An additional charge to the cruise fare that usually refers to airfare, transfers, or land tours

aft

The back of the ship

air/sea package

A package deal that includes the cruise price, airfare, and transfers between the airport and the ship

all hands

All the crewmembers working aboard the ship

alternative restaurant

A smaller onboard restaurant where guests can choose to eat, often for a small fee

amidships

The middle section of the ship

ashore

On land; the opposite of aboard

astern

Toward the aft (back of the ship), or behind the ship

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beam

The width of the ship at its widest point, usually right across the middle section of the ship
bearing

The compass direction the ship is sailing, expressed in degrees

berth

A bed; or the place where the ship is docked in port

bow

The front part of the ship

bridge

The location where the captain and crew controls the ship-where navigation and steering occur

bulkhead

The structural wall in the interior of the ship

buoy

A marker or float used to identify navigational landmarks or channels

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cabin

A passenger room onboard the ship; sometimes referred to as a stateroom

cabin steward

The person who cleans the cabin

Capers

Previous name for Carnival's daily activities publication, now known as the Carnival Fun Times

cast off

To release the ship from her mooring

category

The price level of a cabin based on location, size, and amenities

channel

The deepest part of a river or harbor

companionway
A stairway inside the ship that connects the deck levels

course

The ship's route from one port to the next

cruise director

Head of the ship's entertainment staff, often emcees events

Cruise To Nowhere

Any cruise in which there are no ports of call; the ship embarks and debarks from the same port without

making any stops in between

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davit

A steel structure that hoist lifeboats over the side of the ship

debark

To go ashore

deck

Each level (floor) of the ship

disembark

To leave the ship and go ashore

dinner seating

The time a passenger is assigned to a particular dining venue on the ship

dock

A place to moor the ship

draft

The depth of water needed to sail so that the ship doesn't touch the ocean floor (The draft is measured

from the waterline to the lowest part of the ship, usually the keel)

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E

embark

To go aboard the ship

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fantail

The rear overhang of a ship (shaped like a duck's bill)

fathom

Measurement of water depth (One fathom equals six feet.)

first seating

The earlier of two meal servings (dinner seatings) in the ship's main dining room-also referred to as the

main seating

fleet

A number of ships under the same ownership

FlowRider

Onboard surf pool on Royal Caribbean ships

fore, forward

The area toward the bow of the ship

Freestyle Cruising

Norwegian Cruise Line's style of cruising, featuring casual dress and no set dinner times

Fun Ships

Name for Carnival's cruise ships

Fun Times

Carnival's daily activities publication, previously known as the Carnival Capers

funnel

The ship's smokestack

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G

galley

The ship's kitchen

gangway

Ramp or stairway between the ship and the shore while the ship is docked

gross registered ton (grt)

A measurement of enclosed passenger space, including the space in cabins, lounges, showrooms, and

dining rooms. This does not apply to open spaces such as decks and pool areas (unless, of course, they are

enclosed)

guarantee

A cruise reservation in which one pays for a certain category cabin, but is not given a cabin number.

Passengers often take this type of reservation with the hopes of getting upgraded to a higher category

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hand

A crewmember

head

A bathroom

helm
The ship's steering equipment, located in the bridge

hold

The ship's cargo area

hotel manager

Shipboard director of hotel operations such as housekeeping and passenger services

hull

The outside shell of the ship from the main deck down to the keel

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I

inside cabin

A stateroom that does not have a porthole, window, or balcony

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J
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keel

The chief structure of the ship that extends lengthwise along the center of the ship's bottom-the ship's

backbone

knot

The measurement of the ship's speed. One knot is one nautical mile per hour

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latitude

The distance north or south of the equator expressed in degrees

league

A unit of measurement equal to 3.45 nautical miles

leeward

The side of an island or ship that is sheltered from the wind

lines

The ropes used to tie up the ship while it is at the dock

longitude

The distance east or west of the prime meridian expressed in degrees

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maiden voyage
The first voyage of a new ship

maiden call

The first port-of-call on the ship's maiden voyage

master

The person who is in charge of the ship; the captain

mini-suite

The smallest, most affordable suite on a ship, often with just a curtain dividing the living and sleeping areas

moor

To hold the ship in place with lines at a berth

muster

To assemble the passengers and crew

muster station

A meeting place onboard the ship that usually refers to the area where one would go to get into the

lifeboats in case of an emergency

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nautical mile

A unit of measurement equal to one-sixtieth of a degree of the earth's circumference; it's measured in the

U.S. as 6,080.2 feet or internationally as 6,076.1 feet

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oceanview cabin

An outside cabin with a large porthole window or a verandah

onboard

Located on the ship; carried or used on the vessel

open seating
A dinner seating in which tables are not assigned
outside cabin

A stateroom with a porthole, window, or balcony that overlooks the ocean-also referred to as an oceanview

cabin

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passageway

A hallway inside the ship

passenger space ratio

The number of gross registered tons (grt) divided by the total passenger capacity

passenger to crew ratio

The total number of passengers divided by the total number of crewmembers

pitch

The forward and backward rise and fall of the ship as it moves

port

The left side of the ship when facing forward; also the harbor where a ship docks

porthole

A round window on a ship

port-of-call

A port at which the ship anchors or moors, and the passengers are allowed to disembark

promenade

An open deck that encircles a ship, often used for walking or jogging

purser

The officer onboard who serves as a financial or administrative manager for guest services

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quad

A cabin that will accommodate four passengers


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repositioning cruise, repo cruise

A one-way itinerary that brings a ship from one region to another at the change of the cruise seasons

roll

The side-to-side movement of the ship

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screw

The ship's propeller

second seating

The later of two meal servings (dinner seatings) in the ship's main dining room-also referred to as the late

seating

single supplement

An extra charge solo travelers pay to have just one person in a cabin

sister ships

Ships built of the same design-sometimes referred to as ships owned and operated by the same cruise line

shore excursion

A tour or guided activity in which guests participate while ashore

stabilizer

A retractable arm located below the waterline mid-ship, which can be extended to help reduce the

ship's roll in rough sea conditions

starboard

The right side of the ship when facing forward

stateroom

A cabin

stern
The back end of the ship

suite

The largest class of stateroom; features separate living and sleeping areas

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tender

A small boat used to transport passengers from the ship to the shore. Tenders are used when the harbor is

not deep enough for the ship to dock

transfer

Transportation from the airport or a hotel to the ship and vice versa

triple

A cabin that will accommodate three passengers

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underway

The act of sailing

upgrade

A change in cabin assignment to a better category

upper berth

A bed similar to a bunk bed, often folded or recessed into the wall or ceiling

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verandah

A private balcony adjacent to the ship's stateroom (cabin)

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wake
The track left in the water at the stern created by a moving ship

windward

The side of the ship against which the wind is blowing

world cruise

A three- to four-month-long cruise that sails around the world; guests can choose to cruise the entire time

or just on select one-way segments

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