Cruise Glossary Terms

Cruise Glossary Terms

Learn the language of cruising.

Cruise Wear

Abeam Off the side of the ship, at a right angle to the length of tech ship.
Aboard On the ship.
Abreast Alongside another ship.
Aft Near, toward, or in the rear of a ship.
Amidships In or toward the middle of the ship.
Ashore On shore.
At Anchor The position of the ship after it has dropped anchor.
Astern Behind a ship, or toward the rear of a ship.
Balcony A private seating area on the outside of the ship accessed from your cabin. Also known as a Veranda.
Beam Width of a ship at the widest part.
Bearing Direction or position of the ship with respect to its destination.
Berth Where the ship docks at the pier.
Board To come onto a ship.
Bow Front of the ship.
Bridge Navigational, command, and control center of the ship, where the Captain works.
Bulkhead Wall or partition separating cabins and compartments.
Bunkering To take on fuel.
Butler Person who services a suite.
Cabin Passenger room on a ship.
Captain Master or commander of a ship.
Chimney Ship’s smokestack.
Companionway Interior stairway.
Course 1. Path the ship will take to get to its destination. 2. When dining, one part of a meal.
Crow’s Nest High look-out point on the ship where crew can observe obstacles in the ship’s path.
Cruise Wear Clothes worn on a cruise vacation.
Davit Device for lowering and raising the ship’s lifeboats.
Debark Exiting the ship, usually at the end of your cruise.
Debarkation Exiting the ship, usually at the end of your cruise.
Deckie A Deck Officer. The Officers who man the bridge.
Departure The time at which your ship leaves a port.
Disembark Exiting the ship, usually at the end of your cruise.
Deck Floor of the ship.
Deck Chair The chairs available on deck for passengers to lounge in. Usually saved before you get there.
Dock Act of parking a ship at the pier.
Docs (Short for documents) Your cruise and ticket information.
Draft 1. Depth of water a ship draws (how far down into the water the ship’s hull reaches), especially when loaded.
Draught 1. Depth of water a ship draws, especially when loaded.
Eastern Caribbean Usually includes any of the following: Nassau, Freeport, Hispaniola, St. John, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Dominican Republic, Tortola, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Embark To board a ship.
Even Keel A perfectly vertical ship.
Excursion A side-trip, on land or sea, at your ports of call.
Fantail The rear (of aft) overhang of a ship.
Fathom A measure of water depth equal to six feet.
Fore 1. The forward mast or front of the ship.
Forward Toward the front of the ship.
Funnel Ship’s smokestack.
Galley Kitchen.
Gangplank Ramp running from the pier into the side of a ship by which passengers board.
Gangway Opening in the side of a ship through which it is boarded or provisioned.
Guarantee Cabin A reserved cabin, usually priced at a slight discount, guaranteed by the cruise ship to be at or better than the category you actually paid for. You do not get to choose your specific cabin or location.
Gross Tonnage The total enclosed revenue-earning space of a ship. 100 cubic feet equals one gross ton.
Hawseholes 1. The opening from which the ship’s anchor chain extends. 2. A hole in the front of the ship through which a cable passes.
Heading The direction in which the ship is traveling, usually in terms of a compass (N-S-E-W or 0-360 degrees).
Hull The ships outer shell. Excludes anything built above the main deck.
Inside Cabin A cabin inside the ship with no view of the water.
Interior Cabin A cabin inside the ship with no view of the water.
Keel Primary structural member of the ship that extends longitudinally along the center of its bottom from the front to the back.
Kids Club Programming provided for children, generally consisting of games, arts-and-crafts, and various supervised activities.
Knot One nautical mile per hour. (One knot is about 15% faster than one mile per hour).
Larboard The left side of the ship, also known as “port”.
Leeward The side of the ship opposite from the side from which the wind is blowing.
Length The distance from the extreme front of the ship to the extreme rear of the ship.
Lift An elevator on a UK-registered ship.
List 1. The degree of tilt of the ship to one side or the other.
Maître d’ Person who shows diners to their tables and supervises the waiters in a dining room.
Midnight Buffet Last meal before bedtime.
Midships In or toward the middle of the ship.
Muster Where the latest in cruise fashions and sudden disembarkations are discussed.
Nautical Mile 6,080.2 feet. Slightly more than 1.15 land miles.
Occupancy The number of paying passengers a ship can carry. Does not include 3rd and 4th passengers occupying fold-away beds in an otherwise 2-person cabin. If these are totally occupied, a ship can claim to be over 100% capacity.
Ocean Air Shrinkage (OAS) Atmospheric condition at sea which causes all your clothing to lose one or two sizes between the start and end of the cruise. The longer the cruise, the more OAS will occur. Consider bringing elastic-waisted clothing to counteract OAS.
Ocean View Cabin At the very least, you have a porthole with a partial view of the water. At best, you have large windows and/or a veranda.
Outside Cabin Usually a cabin with a porthole, window, or veranda.
Patter Daily program of the ship’s news and events.
Penthouse Suite The largest passenger cabin. Sometimes referred to as an Owner’s Suite.
Pilot Local from shore who is responsible for bringing the ship into and out of your Port of Call.
Pitch The rise and fall of the front of the ship while at sea.
Port 1. The left side the ship. Easy to remember because PORT and LEFT each have 4 letters. 2. short for “port of call”.
Porterage Porters or workers who take your luggage from the pier to your cabin.
Porthole A small window.
Port of Call A destination that your ship stops at on your voyage.
POSH Port Outbound, Starboard Home. When traveling to America from the England (or between England and India) the wealthy would want the Port side going, and the Starboard side coming back to ensure sun in the cabin for warmth (or the cooler side with the better view, as the case may be). Note that despite exhaustive research, the TRUE origin of POSH is unknown.
Private Balcony A balcony that is attached to your cabin.
Promenade A ship’s “shopping mall”.
Prow The front of the ship.
Purser Official on a ship responsible for papers and accounts and also for the welfare of passengers.
Quay (Pronounced “key”) a dock, berth or pier.
Registry Country in which the ship is registered.
Roll The side-to-side sway of a ship while at sea.
Scuttle What happens to a ship when irons and candles are brought onboard and the ship catches on fire.
Seating Which dinner service you have — Early (which is the Main seating) or Late.
Ship What you are cruising on or in.
Shipboard Credit (SBC) Monies credited to your onboard charge account, generally as an incentive for booking a cruise or as compensation for a missed port or unsatisfactory situation. Also known as Onboard Credit (OBC).
Southern Caribbean Usually includes any of the following: Aruba, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Curacao, and Barbados. Can also include some Eastern Caribbean ports.
Stabilizer Hydraulic activated underwater fins to minimize ship’s roll.
Stack Ship’s smokestack.
Starboard The right-hand side of the ship. STARBOARD and RIGHT HAND each have nine letters.
Stateroom Fancy name for a cabin.
Steerage Cabins below the water line.
Stem The absolute front point of the ship.
Stern The absolute rear point of the ship.
Steward Person who services a cabin.
Suite A larger cabin, usually available at a higher fare.
Superstructure The parts of the ship that are above the main deck.
TA Transatlantic
Also: Travel Agent
Tender The smaller ship, boat, or lifeboat used to transfer passengers from the ship to the shore and back again when the ship is anchored offshore.
Tender Tickets A priority system used to determine when passengers may exit a ship via a tender.
Travel Insurance Insurance that pays for a variety of conditions which interrupt your voyage.
Upper Berth A recessed bunk bed that fits into the wall and can be lowered for use.
Veranda A private or semi-private balcony for the exclusive use by passengers occupying a cabin.
Wake Track or waves left behind a ship as it moves through the water.
Waterline 1. Point on the outside of a ship to which the water rises. 2. A line marked on the outside of a ship that corresponds with the water’s surface when the ship is afloat under specified conditions.
Weigh Anchor To raise the anchor.
Western Caribbean Usually includes any of the following: Nassau, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and continental Latin American countries of Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama.
Windward The side of the ship that the wind is blowing into.