Know Your Cruise Ship Terms: 12 Words Along with Tips, Tricks and Trivia

Toy ark with animals climbing gangway

Ships have probably had their own lingo since back when Noah was herding a couple of giraffes up the gangway of the Ark.

I’ve put together a dozen terms for areas on a ship that will have you sounding like a pro. But have no fear if you don’t remember them.  I promise the Captain will not have you “walk the plank” if you forget them!

Front of ship, people, mountains

Eurodam opened the bow for viewing Glacier Bay during one of our group’s recent cruises in Alaska. They even served drinks and snacks as we looked around in awe.

Aft – Near or at the rear of a ship. It can also mean towards the back.  Trick- “Aft” = “after”…. Toward the back after the rest of the ship.

Bow – The very front of a ship.  Trick- If you bow, you bow forward.  Trivia- That’s where the iconic “I’m flying” scene  with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DeCaprio took place in the movie, Titanic.  Because of the number of people who wish to reenact the scene who don’t have the sense they were born with, cruise lines typically close off that area from guests.  However, it’s sometimes opened up like when I recently escorted a group on a Glacier Bay, Alaska cruise aboard Holland America Line’s Eurodam.

officers sitting and standing on the bridge of a ship

Shot from a Bridge Tour aboard a Princess Cruises’ ship.

Bridge – The area on a ship from which the vessel is commanded. Here’s a chance to see a Bridge Tour of Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas. She’s a “sister ship” to Anthem of the Seas.

Cabin – Stateroom or room on a ship.

Forward – At or near the front of a ship. It can also mean toward the front of the ship. Trick

woman plating food in a kitchen

One of the cooks preparing meals in Celebrity Reflection’s galley.

Galley – A ship’s kitchen. Tip- Many cruise ships offer a Galley Tour at some point during the sailing and usually free, but only available to a small number of guests because of logistics.  Watch for it to be listed on your daily activity listing or ask at the Guest Services desk.

Lido – A ship’s swimming pool and the area surrounding it.

outside view of balconies on a cruise ship

To know whether this is a port or starboard, you would need to know which direction was the front or back of the ship.

Port – The left side of the ship when facing forward (toward the bow). Trick- “Port” and “left” both have four letters.

Stabilizer – Part of a ship built to reduce or practically eliminate rolling of a ship. Trick- Stabilizers make the ship feel more stable, particularly as you are walking or dancing if there are a lot of waves.

Starboard – The right side fo the ship when facing forward (toward the bow). Trick- “Port” and “Starboard”…. Port and left are both four letters so “starboard is the other side.”

back and side of a cruise ship

Aft-facing balcony cabins are coveted because their balconies are typically much larger.

Stateroom – Cabin or room on a ship.

Stern – The very back of the ship.

Now you are set to sound like an expert when you are describing the location of your cabin on your next cruise!

Happy Traveling!

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