An Introduction to Cruise Ship Terminology


Just like any industry the world of cruising has its very own vocabulary. While lifelong cruisers may be familiar with key terms, newbies can find the terminology a little confusing to say the least. If you’re new to the cruising scene we’ve put together this handy guide listing some of the most popular cruise terms and what they mean:

  1. About – The term used to describe the ship being turned around
  2. Aft – Refers to the back of the ship
  3. All hands – encompasses every crew member working on-board a vessel
  4. Berth – Can either refer to a passenger/crew member bed or the place where the ship is docked in port
  5. Bridge – This is where the captain and crew navigate and steer the vessel
  6. Cabin– This refers to passenger and crew accommodation
  7. Course – The ship’s path from one port to another
  8. Deck – A name for each different level of a ship
  9. Draft – The depth of water required to sail a cruise ship without touching the ocean floor
  10. Embark – The term used to describe the process of boarding the ship
  11. Fleet – A group of ships sailing under the same company
  12. Galley – The ship’s kitchen
  13. Gangway – The walkway that connects the ship’s deck with the dry land of the port
  14. Hand – A member of the crew
  15. Hull – The name for the outside shell of a ship
  16. Inside cabin  – Accommodation located on the inside of the vessel, usually without a window
  17. Knot – The unit of measurement used to calculate a ship’s speed
  18. Leeward – The side of a ship or island that is protected from the wind
  19. Maiden voyage – a vessel’s debut journey
  20. Master – Another name for the captain
  21. Open seating – A dining system in which seats are not pre-assigned
  22. Promenade – An open air deck used for walking or running
  23. Purser – An on-board financial/administrative manager servicing passengers
  24. Quad – Accommodation catering for four passengers
  25. Roll – The movement of a ship from side to side
  26. Second seating – The term used to describe the later dinner service
  27. Singles supplement – The extra fee charged to solo travellers booking just one cabin place
  28. Shore excursion – On-land activities arranged by the cruise company
  29. Suite – The most luxurious accommodation option
  30. Tender – A small boat used to ferry passengers from ship to shore
  31. Transfer – Complimentary transportation from the hotel/airport to the vessel
  32. Underway – Used to describe the act of sailing
  33. Wake – The water tracks left by a moving ship

Now that you’re all clued up on cruise lingo why not put your knowledge to the test and book a place on-board one of today’s next generation liners? Cruise 1st has great deals from all the leading company’s including Royal Caribbean, P&O, Celebrity Cruises, Disney, Captain Cook and more!

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Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: My Travel Photos.


About Author

Alyssa Beit

Alyssa lives in Sydney, NSW. Born on the 14th October and is a Social and Human Service Assistant at Cruise 1st Australia. She is in her early 40’s and loves tranquility on luxury cruises.

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