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  • 03
  • Sep
  • 2015

Nautical Terms Cruisers Need to Know

Cruising for the first time can be very exciting…and confusing all at the same time. Once you’re on that large hotel at sea, you realize there’s an entirely new vocabulary you need to learn to get around the vessel. Talks of port or starboard sides, tenders and much more can make your head spin quickly if you aren’t familiar with basic nautical terms.

Nautical Terms Cruisers Need to Know

So for the novices out there, we’ve compiled a list to help you get navigate the ship like a pro:

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  • Aft: the inside (onboard) rearmost part of the vessel
  • Beam:  the width of a vessel at the widest point
  • Balcony or Veranda stateroom: an outside cabin with a door that opens onto a small private deck

    balcony with chairs table lamp on ship with view on sea

    Nautical Terms Cruisers Need to Know: Balcony (or Veranda) stateroom

  • Bow or Prow:  the outside front of a ship
  • Bridge:  the command control center and navigation center of a ship
  • Buffet: the type of dining service that is usually found in the main casual dining venue on the Lido deck
  • Cabin Steward: the person who cleans your cabin and turns down the room at night. A steward can assist with minor tasks such as bringing you ice and taking your laundry to be cleaned
  • Crew: ship personnel or staff
  • Cruise Director: the emcee of the cruise who heads up the entertainment staff and might handle passenger requests and complaints
  • Deck: floor or level on the ship
  • Disembark:  to leave a cruise ship, especially at the end of the voyage
  • Draft:  the depth of a ship’s keel below the waterline

    10 Fun Cruise Facts

    The front of the ship is called the bow

  • Embark:  to board a cruise ship, especially for the first time at the beginning of the cruise
  • Formal night: the night everyone going to the main dining room is encouraged to dress up.  Ladies sometimes wear evening gowns and men could be wearing tuxedos. But, over the years, it’s become somewhat toned down.  A man in dark suit or even nice slacks, sports coat and tie would also fit right in.  Women can be comfortable in a nice dress outfit.  If you don’t want to dress up you can always go to the “Lido Deck” and enjoy the “Buffet” or some other casual dining venue on the ship.
  • Forward: the inside front of the ship
  • Friends of Bill W.: friends of Bill W. is the code name for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings onboard
  • Gangway:  the covered entrance/exit (just like an airplane jet way) between land and ship
  • Knot:  1 nautical mile per hour, unit of speed
  • Inside stateroom: an interior cabin that has no windows.
  • Lee side:  the side of a ship sheltered from the wind
  • Lido Deck: the generic term used by many cruise lines for the deck with the swimming pools and the main casual dining venue.
  • Midship:  in the middle portion of the ship, along the line of the keel
  • Muster drill/Muster Station: sometimes called a lifeboat drill,  an exercise conducted by the crew of a ship prior to embarking on a voyage. The purpose of a muster drill is to prepare passengers for safe evacuation in the event of an emergency while on board the ship and to familiarize crew and passengers with escape routes. Muster station is the location passengers must go to during a drill or in an actual emergency.

    Nautical Terms Cruisers Need to Know: Muster Drill – done at the start of each cruise

  • Nautical mile:  one minute or latitude or 6,076 feet; about 1/8 longer than a land mile
  • Ocean view stateroom: an outside cabin with a window or porthole
  • Port:  the left side of the ship
  • Starboard:  the right side of the ship
  • Stern:  the (outside) rear part of a ship
  • Suite: a class of stateroom that usually has an extra sitting area and a balcony

    Suite Princess.jpg

    Suites are the largest and most luxurious staterooms available on a cruise ship

  • Tender:  a smaller vessel used to transport passengers from ship to the shore when anchored
  • Weigh anchor:  to bring up a ship’s anchor

Now when you get on that cruise ship for the first time, you’ll sound like a seasoned cruiser!

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