Cruise Vocabulary Guide

When people talk about cruising the vocabulary can be a foreign language to some people. Whether you’re trying to find your way around the ship, planning what to do or just learning about different aspects of cruising, it helps to know the appropriate lingo for on your cruise.
Here’s our guide to the meaning of cruising words.

Galley – Ships Kitchen

Gangway – The ramp linking the ship to the land

GRT – Gross Registered Tonnage. How big and heavy the ship is

Inside Cabin – A cabin with no window or balcony

Knot – Term for speed at sea

Life Boat – A smaller boat for use in an emergency

Life Jackets – A sleeveless jacket of buoyant or inflatable construction, for supporting the wearer in deep water and preventing drowning

Midship – Towards the middle of the ship

Muster Station – The designated meeting spot for passengers during emergencies or evacuations

Outside Cabin – A cabin with a view. They will have a picture window or a porthole

Pilot – Independent navigational adviser who comes on board to guide the ship when entering and leaving port

Pontoon – Used and lowered to the side of the ship for guests to walk on prior to getting in the tender boat to go ashore when the ship is at anchor

Port – left side of the ship

Port – Places you visit

Porthole – A round window

Pullman Bed – Pull down bed from the wall for some of the beds in the cabin

Quay – Dock, pier or berth

Satellite Navigator – The global positioning system (GPS). A system using 24 satellites to fix the ships position

Stabilisers – Wing shaped fins on the bottom of the ship that helps minimise the side to side rolling movement

Starboard – The right hand side of the ship

Stern – The back of the ship

Swell – The motion of the ocean

Tender – If the ship cannot dock in port you will get a tender to the shore

Aft – Towards the back of the ship

Alongside – When the ship is beside the pier

At Anchor – When the ships is anchored offshore

Balcony – A private open space outside, attached to your cabin. Referred to as Veranda on some American ships

Beam – Width of the ship at its widest point

Bearing – Compass direction expressed in degrees from the ship to a particular destination

Berth – The name given to the beds in your cabin

Berth – When the ship is docked

Bow – The front of the ship

Bridge – The place where the Captain steers the ship.

Bunkers – Fuel storage area

Cabin – Your accommodation on a ship. Sometimes known as stateroom

Cabin Grade – Type of cabin booking, inside, outside, balcony, mini suite and suite

Cabin Steward/ Stewardess – Lady or gent that takes care of your cabin everyday

Cashless System – No need to carry cash around the ship as your boarding/swipe card can be used to make purchases on board

Colours – Ship’s emblem or flag of nationality

Crew – All the people that work on board the ship

Decks – Floors of the ship

Disembarking – Getting off the ship

Dock – The act of bringing the ship alongside the quay

Draft – Distance from the ship’s waterline to the bottom of its keel

Embarking – Getting on the ship

Emergency Drill – A requirement of maritime law, it is compulsory for guests to attend and emergency drill. It is to familiarise yourself with the ships safety procedures for a real emergency. Also known as Muster Drill

Forward – Towards the front of the ship

Funnel – Ship’s exhaust


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