Your Cruising Dictionary
Cruising has its own language and jargon which can be confusing for the first-time cruiser.
We will assist you by translating the common ‘cruise lingo’ so even if you are a first time cruiser, you will be speaking like a cruise expert in no time!
The Aft is the back of the ship where the engines are located (stern). Some cabins are located at the Aft of the ship, these cabins tend to usually have a bigger balcony.
Forward is to move towards the front of the ship where the bow is located.
This is usually the most desirable location of cabins on the ship. The midship locations are best if you don’t want to be far away from the heart of the ship – the main Atrium, lifts and most bars/restaurants.
Is the right side of the ship when you are facing the front of the ship. When selecting your location of cabin, Starboard will be an option you can select.
The left side of the ship when you are facing the front of the ship. When selecting your location of cabin, Portside will be an option you can select.
The name of each level of the ship
The front end of the ship.
The back end of the ship where the engines are located.
This is the command and navigation area of the ship, which is usually located on a high deck, forward location of the ship. This is where the Captain will be.
The narrow walkway on the lower deck of the ship which is used to embark and disembark passengers on and off the ship.
The Homeporting of a ship means that a cruise ship is calling a port home for the cruise season. This could be for a few months, or up to a few years depending on the ship’s deployment schedule. When a ship, particularly a new ship to the region is homeporting in a city, it is often surrounded by a lot of excitement in the cruise world.
Cabin vs. Stateroom
Cabin and Stateroom mean the same thing – it is your own private room onboard the ship.
Embarkation is the process where you will board the ship and begin your unforgettable cruise holiday. Your ‘embarkation port’ is the city or town you will start your cruise.
This is the process of getting off the ship either at your port of call, or at the end of your cruise holiday. Your ‘disembarkation port’ is the port where you will unfortunately get off the ship and continue your holiday on land or your start your journey home.
Obstructed View Stateroom
These Outside or Balcony cabins will have a lifeboat or some part of the ship blocking your view from your window or balcony. Some cabins only have a partial obstruction so you will still have some views of the ocean, however some will be fully obstructed.
Guaranteed Stateroom (GTY)
If you have booked a GTY cabin onboard the ship, you will not receive a cabin number until closer to sailing, even up until the day prior when the cruise line allocates your cabin for you. These cabins are usually cheaper as you cannot select your preferred cabin or location on the ship. If you have booked a GTY Oceanview cabin, you are guaranteed an ocean view cabin, however it may have an obstructed view. If you do not care where your cabin is located, there are benefits of booking a GTY cabin. Along with your reduced cruise fare, you can sometimes receive a free upgrade to a higher cabin category, a higher deck or a more desirable location on the ship. If you are travelling with a group or multiple cabins, do not book GTY cabins as there is not guarantee you will be located close together.
Cruise cabin names
Interior v Inside, Oceanview v Outside & Balcony v Veranda – mean the same thing.
Cruise lines sometimes have different terminology and names for their cabins, however rest assured they are the same.
Future Cruise / Future Cruise Credit (FCC)
A Future Cruise is when you are onboard, and you book another cruise on the same cruise line for a future date. By booking your next cruise with a Future Cruise Consultant onboard, you will generally receive additional onboard benefits and discounts for your next cruise. A Future Cruise Credit is when you have cancelled, or the cruise line has cancelled your upcoming cruise, and in lieu of a refund, you can receive a Future Cruise Credit. The benefit of taking the FCC option, is usually the cruise line will give you the credit for 100% of your cancelled cruise fare, plus add on up to an additional 50% of your cruise fare.
If you re-book on a cruise line that you have already sailed with previously, you are then classed as one of their Past Passengers. As one of these valued past passengers, you are entitled to additional benefits & discounts through the cruise lines past passenger loyalty programs. Depending on your loyalty tier, these benefits can range from additional amenities in your cabin to priority boarding, and even cabin upgrades.
This credit/money is provided to you by the cruise line or from your Travel Agent for you to spend whilst you are onboard your cruise. It is applied directly to your onboard account and can be used almost anywhere on the ship. You can treat yourself on behalf of the cruise line or your Agent to Spa treatments, Specialty Dining meals and extra cocktails at the bar!
This is a bed that pulls down from the ceiling, or one that folds down from the wall of a cabin. Usually the 3rd and or 4th guest in your cabin will sleep on a pullman bed.
Lifeboat Drill / Muster Station
Once onboard, all passengers must participate in the lifeboat safety drill prior to the ship sailing. This is conducted by the crew onboard and passengers must go to their allocated Muster Station (located on your cruise card) when you hear the emergency alarm. Here you are given a safety briefing and instructions on what to do in the rare case of an emergency at sea. This drill is mandatory.
Although your main meals are included in your cruise fare when dining in the complimentary restaurants such as the buffet or main dining restaurant etc, there are also Specialty Dining restaurants onboard. These restaurants incur a surcharge (unless you have a Specialty Dining package), and are usually fine dining venues that require a different dress code, and also a dinner reservation is a must. If there are Specialty Restaurants onboard you wish to experience, it is always best to pre book these prior to boarding the ship as they tend to book out very quickly.
Some cruise lines have adopted the Anytime Dining program, which is a flexible dining option with no set dining times for the guests. This can sometimes be available ship wide, or only specific restaurants onboard.
Shore Excursions are the day trips you can experience whilst in each port. Cruise lines have an array of shore excursions with reputable local tour operators on offer to enhance your time in destination. These excursions cater for all budgets, families, and experiences, and are best to be pre booked prior to boarding your cruise as the most popular excursions often have limited availability and sell out fast. Shore excursions can be half day, full day, or even just a few hours – and also range from guided leisurely tours to more active independent experiences. You wouldn’t want to miss out on dogsledding in Alaska, a cooking class and winery tour in Tuscany, soaring over a volcano in Hawaii, snorkelling in Tahiti or getting a tour through the Hermitage in St Petersburg.
Gratuities = Tips.
Cruise lines have gratuities, or tips that are to be paid in addition to your cruise fare, however some cruise lines already include them in your cruise fare.
It is always recommended to prepay these fees prior to boarding, so you have no extra expenses once onboard. These gratuities are a per day fee that can sometimes vary depending on what cabin category you are in. If you have no pre-paid them, the gratuities will be applied directly to your onboard account and distributed to crew members onboard.
Most ports of call will have a dedicated terminal on the land where you will embark/disembark the ship. There are however some smaller cruise ports, that are very remote, or the water is far too shallow for the cruise ships to dock close to land. At certain ports of call, you will instead board a smaller lifeboat, known as a tender to get to the port.
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