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Glossary of Shipboard Terms

Published 03/11/2015 09:50 PM   |    Updated 08/12/2022 03:30 PM

AFT - Near, toward or in the rear of your cruise ship.

ATRIUM - Like the lobby of a hotel, this is the central hub of your cruise ship, where you will find the Guest Services Desk (reception desk) and other guest services, such as a desk where you can book shore excursions. 

BEAM - The extreme width of a ship at its widest point.

BERTH - A bed on a ship; also where a ship is positioned on a dock or pier. 

BOW - Front or forward part of your cruise ship.

BRIDGE - Navigational and command control center of a ship.

CABIN TYPE - The category of stateroom you book. Most ships offer different sized staterooms with varying amenities and views. For example: interior stateroom, ocean view stateroom with a window or balcony stateroom. 

CAY - [pronounced 'key'] A small island, usually above a coral reef. 

CROSSING - When a cruise sails across the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.

DEBARKATION - The process of disembarking guests from 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. Useful for booking a cruise.

DOUBLE OCCUPANCY - Two people sharing one stateroom. The basis of most cruise fares.

DRY DOCK - When the ship is taken completely out of the water for overhaul, maintenance and repairs. Usually done every two years.

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.

FORWARD - Toward the front or bow of your cruise ship.

FUNNEL - The smokestack of a ship.

GALLEY - The ship's kitchen.

GANGWAY - The opening through the ship's side and the ramp by which the guests embark and debark the ship.

GRATUITIES - A more formal word for tipping, used in reference to customary tips for waiters, assistant waiter and stateroom stewards.

GROSS TON - Measure of a ship's volume.

INTERIOR STATEROOM - Stateroom with no picture window. 

ITINERARY - The schedule of what you can expect each day of your cruise, including sea days and the ports you can visit. 

KNOT - 1 nautical mile per hour, equals to 1.15 land miles per hour. 

LEEWARD - The side of a ship or an island that is most sheltered from the wind. Often where you will find the best beaches.

LIDO DECK - The deck where you will find the pool (and loads of fun!).

MIDSHIP - The midpoint or middle area of your cruise ship.

MUSTER STATION - The area on the ship where guests assemble for a safety drill or in case of an emergency. 

PORTSIDE - The left side of your cruise ship (when you are facing forward). 

REPOSITIONING CRUISE - A one-way cruise where you will disembark in a different port from the one where you embarked. ('Repositioning' refers to the periodic movement of the ship from one home port to another.). 

SEA DAY - A day when your ship is sailing at sea, with no calls at a port. 

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. 

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT - The extra charge incurred when just one person stays in a stateroom. 

STARBOARD - The right side of your cruise ship (when facing forward). The opposite of portside.

STERN - The very back section of your cruise ship.

TENDER - A smaller boat (also known as a water shuttle) you take from your cruise ship to shore, used when a ship cannot dock at a pier due to the water depth or size of the ship.

TRANSFER - Typically the bus ride from the airport to your cruise ship or from your ship to a hotel once your cruise has ended.

WATER SHUTTLE - A smaller boat (also known as a tender boat) you take from your cruise ship to shore, used when a ship cannot dock at a pier due to the water depth or size of the ship.

WHAT'S HAPPENING - The name of the section in our HUB App which outlines the day's activities and entertainment. "What's Happening" is also available in print at the Guest Service Desk. "The daily activities flyer (in print) was previously called 'Fun Times' and prior to that, 'Carnival Capers'. 

WINDWARD - The side of a ship against which the wind blows - or the windier side of an island.

CAPTAIN - Master of the vessel, with complete responsibility and command of the ship.
HOTEL DIRECTOR - An official on the ship responsible for the hotel operations.
GUEST SERVICES MANAGER - The officer on board the ship in charge of accounts. Also referred to as the Chief Purser. 
CRUISE DIRECTOR - Master of Ceremonies for onboard entertainment and guest activities. He and his staff are on hand to see that our guests have a good time. 
MAITRE'D - Individual responsible for the dining room operations.



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