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Glossary of Shipboard Terms

Published 03/12/2015 01:50 AM   |    Updated 09/21/2018 06:30 PM

AFT - Near, toward or in the rear of your cruise ship.

ATRIUM - Like the lobby of a hotel, this is the central hub of your cruise ship, where you will find the Guest Services Desk (reception desk) and other guest services, such as a desk where you can book shore excursions. 

BEAM - The extreme width of a ship at its widest point.

BERTH - A bed on a ship; also where a ship is positioned on a dock or pier. 

BOW - Front or forward part of your cruise ship.

BRIDGE - Navigational and command control center of a ship.

CABIN TYPE - The category of stateroom you book. Most ships offer different sized staterooms with varying amenities and views. For example: interior stateroom, ocean view stateroom with a window or balcony stateroom. 

CAY - [pronounced 'key'] A small island, usually above a coral reef. 

CROSSING - When a cruise sails across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

DEBARKATION - The process of disembarking guests from the ship.

DECK - A floor on a ship.

DECK PLAN - Diagrams of each cruise ship, showing the different levels and the locations of staterooms, restaurants, shops and other amenities onboard. Useful for booking a cruise.

DOUBLE OCCUPANCY - Two people sharing one stateroom. The basis of most cruise fares.

DRY DOCK - When the ship is taken completely out of the water for overhaul, maintenance and repairs. Usually done every two years.

DUTY FREE - Merchandise purchased in a foreign port that is U.S. tax-exempt.

EMBARKATION - The process of checking-in guests prior to sailing from the homeport.

FORWARD - Toward the front or bow of your cruise ship.

FUN TIMES - The name of our shipboard newsletter delivered to each stateroom every evening which outlines the next day's activities and entertainment.

FUNNEL - The smokestack of a ship.

GALLEY - The ship's kitchen.

GANGWAY - The opening through the ship's side and the ramp by which the guests embark and debark the ship.

GRATUITIES - A more formal word for tipping, used in reference to customary tips for waiters, assistant waiter and stateroom stewards.

GROSS TON - Measure of a ship's volume.

INTERIOR STATEROOM - Stateroom with no picture window. 

ITINERARY - The schedule of what you can expect each day of your cruise, including sea days and the ports you can visit. 

KNOT - 1 nautical mile per hour, equals to 1.15 land miles per hour. 

LEEWARD - The side of a ship or an island that is most sheltered from the wind. Often where you will find the best beaches.

LIDO DECK - The deck where you will find the pool (and loads of fun!).

MIDSHIP - The midpoint or middle area of your cruise ship.

MUSTER STATION - The area on the ship where guests assemble for a safety drill or in case of an emergency. 

PORTSIDE - The left side of your cruise ship (when you are facing forward). 

REPOSITIONING CRUISE - A one-way cruise where you will disembark in a different port from the one where you embarked. ('Repositioning' refers to the periodic movement of the ship from one home port to another.). 

SEA DAY - A day when your ship is sailing at sea, with no calls at a port. 

SHORE EXCURSIONS -  Tours or activities you can book for fun when the ship is docked in a port. Many shore excursions can be booked in advance or once you board your cruise ship. 

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT - The extra charge incurred when just one person stays in a stateroom. 

STARBOARD - The right side of your cruise ship (when facing forward). The opposite of portside.

STERN - The very back section of your cruise ship.

TENDER - A smaller boat (also known as a water shuttle) you take from your cruise ship to shore, used when a ship cannot dock at a pier due to the water depth or size of the ship.

TRANSFER - Typically the bus ride from the airport to your cruise ship or from your ship to a hotel once your cruise has ended.

WATER SHUTTLE - A smaller boat (also known as a tender boat) you take from your cruise ship to shore, used when a ship cannot dock at a pier due to the water depth or size of the ship.

WINDWARD - The side of a ship against which the wind blows - or the windier side of an island.

CAPTAIN - Master of the vessel, with complete responsibility and command of the ship.
HOTEL DIRECTOR - An official on the ship responsible for the hotel operations.
GUEST SERVICES MANAGER - The officer on board the ship in charge of accounts. Also referred to as the Chief Purser. 
CRUISE DIRECTOR - Master of Ceremonies for onboard entertainment and guest activities. He and his staff are on hand to see that our guests have a good time. 
MAITRE'D - Individual responsible for the dining room operations.



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