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Here is your quick reference to cruise ship terminology.


Cruise Ship Dictionary

AbeamOff the side of the ship, at a right angle to the length of tech ship.
AboardOn the ship. Opposite of ashore.
Abreast1. Alongside another ship. 2. Something your wife better not see you touching.
AftNear, toward, or in the rear of a ship.
AmidshipsIn or toward the middle of the ship.
AshoreOn shore. Opposite of aboard.
At AnchorThe position of the ship after it has dropped anchor.
AsternBehind a ship, or toward the rear of a ship. (Also, the type of look you'll get when a spouse catches you staring at his or her significant other).
BalconyA private seating area on the outside of the ship accessed from your cabin. Also known as a Veranda.
BeamWidth of a ship at the widest part.
BearingDirection or position of the ship with respect to its destination.
Berth1. The particular parking space in which the ship docks at the pier. 2. your cabin beds. 3. What you might experience nine months after a romantic cruise.
BingoCasino in disguise.
BoardTo come onto a ship.
BoatWhat you'll be in if the ship sinks.
BowFront of the ship.
BridgeNavigational, command, and control center of the ship, where the Captain works.
BrigPlace where unruly teenagers and their parents are held prior to their being thrown off the ship at the next port of call.
BulkheadWall or partition separating cabins and compartments.
BunkeringTo take on fuel. Sometimes an announcement may be made such as "Smoking will not be allowed for the next 6 hours as we are bunkering".
ButlerPerson who services a suite. May have an assistant.
CabinPassenger room on a ship.
CaptainMaster or commander of a ship.
Chair HogScourge of the ship. Self-centered maggots whom should be made to walk the plank.
ChimneyShip's smokestack. Note: some are fake and just for appearances.
CHOGSShort for Chair HOGS.
CompanionwayInterior stairway.
Course1. Path the ship will take to get to its destination. 2. When dining, one part of a meal.
Crow's NestHigh look-out point on the ship where crew can observe obstacles in the ship's path (ie. "Iceberg!").
DavitDevice for lowering and raising the ship's lifeboats.
Dealer1. Casino employee running card games in the ship's casino. 2. Someone frequently encountered in Jamaican ports, dispensing "herbal" supplements.
DebarkExiting the ship, usually at the end of your cruise.
DebarkationExiting the ship, usually at the end of your cruise.
DeckieA Deck Officer. The Officers who man the bridge.
DepartureThe time at which your ship leaves a port.
DisembarkExiting the ship, usually at the end of your cruise.
DeckFloor of the ship, especially the open areas.
Deck ChairThe chairs available on deck for passengers to lounge in. Usually saved before you get there. (See "Chair Hogs" and "CHOGS" listed above).
DockAct of parking a ship at the pier.
Docs(Short for documents) Your cruise and ticket information which always seems to arrive latter than you want it, but before you actually need it.
Draft1. Depth of water a ship draws (how far down into the water the ship's hull reaches), especially when loaded. 2. Beer dispensed from a tap.
Draught1. Depth of water a ship draws, especially when loaded. 2. Beer dispensed from a tap.
Eastern CaribbeanUsually includes any of the following: Nassau, Freeport, Hispaniola, St. John, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Dominican Republic, Tortola, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
ElevatorMechanical device for conveying passengers from one deck to another. Generally located on any deck EXCEPT for the one you are on. It is suggested that one acquaint oneself with the stairs, which are said to help combat Ocean Air Shrinkage if employed on a regular basis. Also called a Lift.
EmbarkTo board a ship, especially at the start of your cruise.
EmbarkationTo board a ship, especially at the start of your cruise.
Even KeelA perfectly vertical ship.
ExcursionA side-trip, on land or sea, at your ports of call.
FantailThe rear (of aft) overhang of a ship.
FathomA measure of water depth equal to six feet.
Fore1. The forward mast or front of the ship. 2. DUCK! Be sure to duck quickly if you hear this shouted on the recreational deck. (You'll thank me later).
ForwardToward the front of the ship.
Frou-Frou DrinksConcoctions one normally does not drink, consisting of frothy colored liquids mixed with distilled spirits, normally served in a tall hurricane-like glass with garnishes such as cherries, umbrellas and other fancy stuff! Best consumed while on deck (in a chair confiscated from some CHOGS).
FunnelShip's smokestack.
GalleyKitchen. Palatable and unpalatable edibles are prepared in mass quantities here.
GangplankRamp running from the pier into the side of a ship by which passengers board.
Gangway1. Opening in the side of a ship through which it is boarded or provisioned. 2. What you hear when the buffet first opens.
Guarantee CabinA 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 TonnageThe total enclosed revenue-earning space of a ship. 100 cubic feet equals one gross ton.
Hawseholes1. The opening from which the ship's anchor chain extends. 2. A hole in the front of the ship through which a cable passes.
HeadingThe direction in which the ship is traveling, usually in terms of a compass (N-S-E-W or 0-360 degrees).
Hold1. Place where the uncooked palatable and unpalatable edibles are stored. 2. What you should do with an "18" in BlackJack.
HullThe ships outer shell. Excludes anything built above the main deck.
Inside CabinA cabin inside the ship with no view of the water.
Interior CabinA cabin inside the ship with no view of the water.
KeelPrimary structural member of the ship that extends longitudinally along the center of its bottom from the front to the back.
Kids ClubProgramming provided for children, generally consisting of games, arts-and-crafts, and various supervised activities.
KnotOne nautical mile per hour. (One knot is about 15% faster than one mile per hour).
LarboardThe left side of the ship, also known as "port".
LeewardThe side of the ship opposite from the side from which the wind is blowing.
LengthThe distance from the extreme front of the ship to the extreme rear of the ship.
LiftAn elevator on a UK-registered ship.
List1. The degree of tilt of the ship to one side or the other. 2. What your Darling Wife has for you when you get home.
Maître d'1. Person who shows diners to their tables and supervises the waiters in a dining room. 2. Seldom seen Dining Room official, usually resurfacing on next to last night of cruise, whose apparent duties are soliciting tips and removing lobster tail meat from its shell.
Midnight BuffetLast fill-up before bedtime.
MidshipsIn or toward the middle of the ship.
MusterWhere the latest in cruise fashions and sudden disembarkations are discussed.
Nautical Mile6,080.2 feet. Slightly more than 1.15 land miles.
OccupancyThe 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 CabinAt 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 CabinUsually a cabin with a porthole, window, or veranda.
PatterDaily program of the ship's news and events.
Penthouse SuiteThe largest passenger cabin. Sometimes referred to as an Owner's Suite.
PilotLocal from shore who is responsible for bringing the ship into and out of your Port of Call.
PitchThe rise and fall of the front of the ship while at sea. (Also, what you get at Art Auctions and Port Shopping Talks).
Port1. The left side the ship. Easy to remember because PORT and LEFT each have 4 letters. 2. short for "port of call".
PorteragePorters or workers who take your luggage from the pier to your cabin.
PortholeA small window.
Port of CallA destination that your ship stops at on your voyage.
POSHPort 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 BalconyA balcony that is attached to your cabin. Does not mean it is covered or secured from the gaze of others.
PromenadeA ship's "shopping mall".
ProwThe front of the ship.
Purser1. Official on a ship responsible for papers and accounts and also for the welfare of passengers. 2. The poor sap left holding his wife's handbag outside a dressing room in a clothing store or at any shop requiring the wife's undivided, two-handed, attention.
Quay(Pronounced "key") a dock, berth or pier.
RegistryCountry in which the ship is registered.
RollThe side-to-side sway of a ship while at sea.
ScuttleWhat happens to a ship when irons and candles are brought onboard and the ship catches on fire.
SeatingWhich dinner service you have --- Early (which is the Main seating) or Late.
ShipWhat you are cruising on or in.
Shipboard Charge AccountA ridiculously large numeric figure, expressed in dollars and cents, that will be delivered to you at the end of the trip as a souvenir detailing, item by item, day by day, exactly how much fun you had on your cruise.
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 CaribbeanUsually includes any of the following: Aruba, St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Curacao, and Barbados. Can also include some Eastern Caribbean ports.
StabilizerHydraulic activated underwater fins to minimize ship's roll.
Stack1. Ship's smokestack. 2. How many ships they can get into the same port of call at one time.
StampedeResulting action which occurs when the doors to the dining room or showroom open.
StarboardThe right-hand side of the ship. STARBOARD and RIGHT HAND each have nine letters.
StateroomFancy name for a cabin.
SteerageCabins below the water line.
StemThe absolute front point of the ship.
SternThe absolute rear point of the ship.
StewardPerson who services a cabin. May have an assistant. Has a way of mysteriously keeping your room cleaned without ever being seen.
StewartSomehow this always ends up being the name of the guy who cleans your cabin.
SuiteA larger cabin, usually available at a disproportionately higher fare.
SuperstructureThe parts of the ship that are above the main deck.
TATransatlantic
Also: Travel Agent
TenderThe 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 TicketsA priority system used to determine when passengers may exit a ship via a tender.
Travel InsuranceInsurance that pays for a variety of conditions which interrupt your voyage. See How to Select Cruise Insurance / Travel Insurance.
TroughBuffet.
Upper BerthA recessed bunk bed that fits into the wall and can be lowered for use.
VerandaA private or semi-private balcony for the exclusive use by passengers occupying a cabin.
WaiterPerson who services a table. Will have an assistant.
Wake1. Track or waves left behind a ship as it moves through the water. 2. What you possibly won't do in a timely manner if you have an inside cabin and you forget to bring an alarm clock.
Waterline1. 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 AnchorTo raise the anchor.
Western CaribbeanUsually includes any of the following: Nassau, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and continental Latin American countries of Mexico, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama.
WindwardThe side of the ship that the wind is blowing into.


















































































































































Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. Since we do not have complete control over the "Ads by Google" appearing on this page, we do not directly endorse their sites or products. Please notify us if you find any of the advertisers to be misleading.
How to Select Cruise Insurance / Travel Insurance
Great consumer tips to assist you in choosing the right insurance for your trip.

Tips for First-time Western Caribbean Cruisers
Detailed information to assist you in getting ready for your first Western Caribbean cruise.

Tips for Eastern Caribbean Cruisers
Detailed information to assist you in preparing for your Eastern Caribbean cruise.

Cruising Alaska on a Budget
Detailed information to assist you in preparing for an Alaska cruise on a budget.

Tips for Bermuda Visitors and Cruisers
Detailed information to assist you in preparing for your Bermuda visit.

Celebrity Millennium and Four Eastern Caribbean Ports
Detailed information on the Celebrity Millennium and the ports of Dominican Republic, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Nassau

Secrets of the Caribbean
Detailed information, hints, and tips to assist you in visiting popular Caribbean cities and ports.

Celebrity Zenith and Nine Caribbean Ports
Detailed information on Celebrity Zenith and ports in Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Isle Catalina, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Maarten, Tortola, and Key West.

Tips for Southern Caribbean Cruisers
Detailed information on Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, St. Kitts, Dominica, St. Lucia, and Tortola.

Celebrity Constellation and Seven New England and Atlantic Canadian Ports
Detailed information on the Celebrity Constellation and the ports of Boston, Portland, Halifax, Quebec City, Charlottetown, Sydney, and Saint John.

Hike Diamond Head!
Detailed information to prepare you to hike Diamond Head in Honolulu, Hawaii. Yes, even out of shape travelers can hike this volcano. It's a great experience that is well worth the effort.

Feel free to contact me to correct any information in this article or to alert me to additional information that should be included.

© 2004 Topher
Updated 2013

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