List of Cruise Terms

Use your knowledge of cruise terms to assist you in planning, booking and enjoying your cruise experience.

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Aft - at, near, or toward the stern of a ship (farthest back).

Anchor - a heavy object, usually a shaped iron weight with flukes, lowered by cable or chain to the bottom of a body of water to keep a vessel from drifting.

Atrium - the central court (or center area) of a cruise ship, usually rising through more than one story or all the stories and having a skylight or glass on one side and the roof.

Berth - a built-in bed or bunk, as in a ship's cabin.

Boat - 1. a small, open water vehicle propelled by oars, sails, engine, etc. 2. a large such vehicle for use in inland waters [an ore boat on the Great Lakes] 3. any large, seagoing water vehicle; ship: a term in popular use, but not by sailors.

Bow - the very front of the ship.

Breeches Buoy - a device for rescuing people at sea, consisting of a piece of strong canvas with leg holes suspended from a life preserver that is run along a rope from ship to shore or to another ship.

Bridge - the ship's navigational control center.

Bulkhead - any of the upright partitions separating parts of a ship as for protection against fire or leakage.

Cabin - a private room on a ship, as a bedroom or office.

A Cruise Term Note:
The terms Cabin and Stateroom are used interchangeably.

Cabin Steward - a person whose work is to serve and run errands for the passengers aboard a ship.

Captain - the person in command of a ship.

Cruise Scam – refers to the offer of a cruise trip or cruise vacation package under false pretenses, and such offer is designed to cheat or swindle.

Cruise Terminology – cruise terms or system of terms used on a cruise ship.

Disembark – to unload (passengers or goods) from a ship, aircraft, etc.

Dock - a large structure or excavated basin for receiving ships, equipped with gates to keep water in or out.

Double Occupancy - refers to a cabin shared by two people.

Embark – to go aboard a ship, aircraft, etc. To begin a journey.

Fluke - a pointed part of an anchor, designed to catch in the ground.

Forward - toward the front or a point in front or before; ahead.

Gangway - a passageway for entering (embarking) a ship, or leaving (disembarking) from a ship.

Another Cruise Term Note:

You may not hear Kapok used as a cruise term. It is given below because it is included in the definition of Life Preserver.

Kapok - the silky fibers around the seeds of any of several silk-cotton trees, esp. a ceiba (Ceiba pentandra): used for stuffing mattresses, life preservers, sleeping bags, etc.

Leeward - on the side of the ship away from the wind. (As opposed to Windward).

Life Boat - one of the small boats carried by a ship for use if the ship must be abandoned.

Life Buoy - a life preserver in the shape of a ring.

Life Preserver - a buoyant device for saving a person from drowning by keeping the body afloat, as a ring or sleeveless jacket of canvas-covered cork or kapok.

Life Vest - a life preserver in the form of a sleeveless jacket or vest.

Life Jacket - a life preserver in the form of a sleeveless jacket or vest.

Muster – to come together or gather; specifically, to assemble as for inspection or roll call.

Muster Station – a specific location on ship to gather, based on cabin assignment.

Nautical - of or having to do with sailors, ships, or navigation. A unit of speed of one nautical mile (6,076.12 feet or 1,852 meters) an hour: abbrev. kn or kt [to average a speed of 10 knots]

  • Nautical as a historical cruise term: any of the knots tied at regular intervals in a line used in measuring a ship's speed.

Pier – a structure built out over the water and supported by pillars or piles: used as a landing place.

Port - the left-hand side of a ship or boat as one faces forward: opposed to starboard. Port – so named because the side toward the port (dock), since the steering oar (see starboard) prevented docking to the right.

Port of Call - regular stopover(s) on a cruise itinerary.

Purser - a ship’s officer in charge of accounts, freight, tickets, etc., esp. on a passenger vessel. Important to you – a Purser takes responsibility for all money, transactions.

Quad Cabin – a cabin that accommodates four passengers.

Ship – any water vehicle of considerable size navigating deep water, especially one powered by an engine.

Starboard – the right-hand side of a ship or boat as one faces forward: opposed to Port.

Stateroom - a private cabin on a ship.

Stern - the rear end of a ship or boat.

Tender - a boat for carrying passengers to or from a ship close to shore.

Vessel - any relatively large watercraft.

Windward - on the side of the ship from which the wind blows; toward the wind. (As opposed to Leeward)

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