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A “Cruise Lingo” Glossary


Aft/forward

Aft describes the back of the ship and forward is the front.

Bow/stern

The front of the ship is the bow, while the back is the stern.

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.

Closed-loop sailing

An itinerary that begins and ends from the same port, a roundtrip cruise.

Cruise Director

The emcee of the cruise who heads the entertainment staff and might handle passenger requests and complaints.

Debarkation

The process of leaving 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, which are useful for booking a cruise.

Double occupancy

Two people sharing one stateroom; this is the basis of most cruise fares.

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.

Galley

A ship's kitchen.

Gangway

The ramp or stairway that leads from the ship to the pier, allowing passengers and crewmembers to get on and off the ship.

Knot

One nautical mile per hour, equals to 1.15 land miles per hour.

Leeward

The side of a ship or an island that is mostly sheltered from the wind and where you will often find the best beaches.

Lido deck

The pool deck.

MDR

Main dining room.

Muster drill/muster station

A muster drill is a mandatory event where passengers assemble in a specific location and receive instructions on what to do in an emergency. The muster station is the location passengers must go to during a drill or in an actual emergency.

OBC

Onboard credit, a credit added to your onboard account, either as a perk of booking or as compensation for an unforeseen event.

Port/starboard

The nautical terms for left (port) and right (starboard). You can remember because both "left," and "port" have four letters.

Porthole

A small, round window found in most outside cabins.

Purser

The officer in charge of financial accounting who handles billing issues as well as general customer service.

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.

Tender

A small boat that ferries cruise passengers from the ship to the shore when docking isn't possible. It can also be used as a verb; i.e., we tendered to shore in Grand Cayman.

Shipboard Personnel

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.

Captain

The master of the vessel who has complete responsibility and command of the ship.

Cruise Director

The master of ceremonies for onboard entertainment and guest activities. They and their staff are on hand to see that each guest has a good time.

Guest Services Manager

The officer on board the ship in charge of accounts, also referred to as the Chief Purser.

Hotel Director

An official on the ship responsible for the hotel operations.

Maître’d

The person responsible for the dining room operations.

Purser

The officer in charge of financial accounting who handles billing issues as well as general customer service.