Cruise Ship Vocabulary and Glossary
First-time cruise passengers may feel baffled by some of the cruise vocabulary on their cruise – some of the words and phrases they hear aboard.
Tips and Advice About the Language of Cruise Ships - Vocabulary and Glossary
Occasionally, when you're aboard your first cruise, it can sound like a whole new language, and sometimes the lack of translation can mean you miss out on things.
One of our visitors aboard Prow’s Edge told us that during an Alaska cruise, a lot of the passengers missed some of the sights simply because they didn’t understand the vocabulary. When the Captain announced a whale sighting on the port side, several folks looked baffled and then dashed off in the wrong direction. They missed the whales.
Of course, had they known that “port” meant the left side of the ship, they may well have made the sightings in time.
For those not familiar with the nautical terms and don’t wish to make any gaffs on their first day on board the cruise ship, here are some tips.
Remember of course, that the tub you’re sailing in is NEVER referred to as a boat, (nor a tub, of course) but a ship. And remember also that the ship is always she, and NEVER he, and NEVER, NEVER it.
aft – refers to the rear or the back of the ship
berth – just to confuse you, this could refer to your bed on a boat, or the location in a port where a ship can be moored
bow – the front of the ship
bridge – the place where the captain and his officers steer the ship
brig – ship’s jail
draft – the depth of water (from the waterline to the bottom of the ship) needed to float a ship
fathom – a measure of six feet, usually of water depth
fore – towards the front of the ship
leeside – the side of the ship away from the wind;
midships – the middle of the ship
port – refers to the left side of the ship.
purser's desk – the cruise ship equivalent of the land lubbers Front Desk or Information Desk
starboard – refers to the right side of the ship.
stateroom – a cruise ship name for a cabin or room in which you sleep
stern – the rear of the ship
tender – a vessel that transports passengers between the ship and shore when the ship is at anchor in a port.
And last but not least, important measurement terms are:
1 nautical mile = about 6078 feet/1.15 statute miles
1 league = 3 nautical miles
1 knot (a measurement of speed) = 1 nautical mile/hour