If you’ve never cruised before, the language of the seas can often confuse you! But not to worry – Mr Cruise has compiled an A-Z list of some of the most common cruising terms you’re likely to come across. You’ll be a pro-sailer in no time!

Aft

The back of the ship.

Atrium

The central passenger area on a cruise ship, similar to a hotel’s lobby. Here you’ll usually find the reception desk and purser’s desk.

Beam

The width of the ship at its widest point.

Bearing

The compass direction from a ship to a particular destination, in degrees.

Berth

The bed in your cabin. Also refers to the dock or quay where a cruise ship ties up to the shore.

Bow

The front of the ship.

Bridge

The elevated platform where the captain steers and navigates the ship.

Buoy

A floating object in the sea used for marking a channel or highlighting a hazard, for example a reef. Smaller vessels can also be moored or tied to a buoy.

Cast off

To release a ship for its mooring.

Coastal Cruise

A cruise that stays close to dry land.

Course

The direction in which a ship is heading.

Cruise Director

The crew member who is responsible for all the ship’s activities and entertainment. Often acts as the emcee at events.

Deck

The floor of the ship. A deck plan will show passengers what they can find on each floor of the ship.

Disembarkation

The process of leaving a cruise ship at the end of the voyage.

Embarkation

The process of boarding a cruise ship at the start of the voyage.

Expedition Cruise

A cruise usually on a small ship, often with an ice-strengthened hull, which takes passengers off the beaten track. Hosted by expedition leaders and expert lecturers. Also known as an adventure cruise.

Fleet

A number of ships operating under the same ownership.

Galley

The kitchen on a ship.

Gangway

The ramp or staircase from the ship to the quay or pier used by passengers to get on and off the ship.

Gratuities

A tip.

Helm

The outside shell of a ship from the main deck down to the keel.

Hull

The outside shell of a ship from the main deck down to the keel.

Inaugural Cruise

A cruise on a refurbished or reconstructed ship.

Itinerary

The schedule of destinations and days at sea on your cruise.

Keel

The main structure of a ship that extends lengthwise along the centre of the ship’s bottom.

Knot

A unit of speed equivalent to one nautical mile per hour.

Lido

The deck of a cruise ship with outdoor pools.

Midship

The midpoint of the ship.

Muster Drill

A lifeboat safety drill where all passengers must follow instructions and learn what to do in an emergency. A muster station is the location where passengers must gather.

Nautical Mile

A unit used in measuring distances at sea, equivalent to 1,852 metres or 6,076 feet.

Open Seating

When no fixed time or fixed seating arrangement is given for dining.

Port

The left side of the ship when facing forward, marked by a red light. Easy to remember as the words ‘port’ and ‘left’ both have four letters.

Porthole

A round window on a ship.

Repositional Cruise

A one-way cruise that beings and ends in different ports as a ship moves from one cruising region of the world to another.

River Cruise

As it says on the tin – a cruise along a river!

Roll

The movement of a ship when it sways side to side. Rarely experienced on large cruise ships.

Sail Cruise

A cruise aboard a sailing ship with masts and sails.

Sea Day

A day where the ship stays out at sea and does not visit a port.

Single Supplement

As cruise fares are based on double occupancy, travelling solo may incur an additional cost.

Starboard

The right side of the ship when facing forward, marked by a green light.

Stateroom

Another word for cabin.

Stern

The very back of a ship.

Tender

A small boat that transports passengers from a cruise ship to the shore when the ship is unable to dock at a quay or berth and is therefore anchored in a harbour. Also refers to the ship’s lifeboats.

Wake

The trail of waves at the stern of the ship created as the ship moves forward.

Windward

The side of the ship facing the wind.

Ready to put your knowledge to the test?

If you’re yet to book your next cruise, take a look at our latest deals by clicking here – you’re sure to find that sailing you’ve been dreaming of! Or simply call our friendly team of cruise experts on 0800 027 8302 – they’ll have you heading to your perfect location in no time!

* Terms & Conditions apply

We are acting as an agent on behalf of travel suppliers and your booking will be subject to the supplier’s terms and conditions. Prices may be subject to very limited availability and are correct as at the date and time of writing. Prices may go up or down from time to time. Prices quoted are for the dates, accommodation, board basis, departure points and number of persons sharing specified only and cannot be combined with any other offer. We reserve the right to amend any quotes given if there is a genuine error as soon as we become aware of it. We reserve the right to withdraw any offers without notice.