When you go on a cruise, you’ll often encounter many words that aren’t normally part of the everyday language or mean something quite different than you might expect. You don’t have to sound like a sailor, but understanding some of those terms can make cruising easier.
Cruise ships are huge. They’re like little cities. Grand Caribbean Cruises, for instance, guest sail on ships with 10 public decks containing over 750 large cabins, four restaurants, eight clubs, three kid clubs, shops, a casino, spas, pools, Jacuzzi, a gym, theater and two photography areas. You could easily get lost trying to find your way to any one of them…or back to your room. Knowing the language of cruise ships can give you an advantage, while also making the newsletter of daily events easier to use.
When cruising, let’s start with basic directions!
- Aft and forward are two opposite directions. If you go forward, you’re going toward the front of the ship. Aft is the back of the ship.
- Bow and stern of a ship is similar. The bow of the ship is the front end and the stern is the furthest part back or the “aft-most” part of the ship.
- Port and starboard are the left and right side of the ship when looking toward the bow. It helps eliminate confusion by designating them this way. However, you can probably tell by now how important learning these three sets of words can be when finding your way around a cruise ship.
Names for special areas.
- If you’re going to the galley, you’ll be going to the ship’s kitchen. Some larger ships have more than one galley.
- Decks are like the floors of a building.
- You probably already realize that a cabin or stateroom is a room or sleeping quarters, but it’s included just in case.
- Anyone that has ever watched Star Trek, knows the bridge is the control area of any ship (It doesn’t matter if it’s in the air or water or whether it goes to places no man has gone before or to a favorite tropical area.)
- A muster station is used during emergencies or when you have to evacuate the boat. It’s the area designated for meeting. You’ll find the location of your muster station in your cabin.
- When you board or leave a ship, you use the gangway area.
- You’ll find the pools on most ships on the Lido deck.
- You’ll use a tender to go to shore if docking isn’t possible. It’s a small ship that acts like a ferry.
Whether you realize it or not, it takes hundreds of people to help make your cruising experience fantastic. Here’s a small sampling of the titles for some of the crew members you may be meeting.
- The Captain of a cruise liner is in charge of everything aboard the ship. Don’t worry if you see him or her at dinner. In most cases the staff or deputy captain is in charge of navigation of the ship or it’s on autopilot and driven by computers. That is until the ship is docking or undocking when the captain takes physical control of the ship.
- The Chief Engineer is in charge of all power systems and anything technical. There are a host of other crew members who also make sure your ship makes the cruise safely and on course, from the quartermaster to the navigation officers.
- The purser is the money person on a ship. They do everything from cashing checks to tracking the accounts of the passengers. It’s easy to remember the title of this crew member since it has to do with holding the purse strings.
- You’ll recognize the cruise director after just a few days. He or she is the person that provides the onboard hospitality and often emcees various events and social occasions.
This list isn’t every term you may hear or need when cruising, but the most frequently used ones used. You’ll enjoy your voyage with Grand Caribbean Cruises more when you learn these key terms and have a better grasp of the cruise ship lingo.