Cruise Terminology You Should Know
When you go on a cruise, there will be a lot of terms you may not have heard before. If you are new to cruising, this can make things challenging when trying to get around on a cruise.
To make things easier for you, we’ve selected a list of words and acronyms we think you will need to be familiar with so as to have an enjoyable cruise.
This list is not exhaustive by any means. For a more comprehensive list of terms, check this out.
- Aft – The rear of the ship.
- Captain’s Party – a cocktail party for all passengers, usually held before dinner the first formal night.
- Cruise Director – The person in charge of all the entertainment on a ship.
- Embark/Embarkation – Boarding the ship.
- Debarkation – Exiting the ship.
- First Seating – Also known as “early seating”, it’s a fixed time for taking meals in the MDR. Usually, times are between 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock depending on the cruise line.
- Formal Night – A specific night when everyone is expected to dress up for dinner.
- Forward – The front of the ship.
- Gangway – A ramp that allows passengers to enter and exit the ship when at port.
- MDR – Stands for Main Dining Room. On most modern cruise ships there will be multiple MDRs. All meals can be taken in any MDR of your choice except for dinner on cruises with assigned seating.
- Midship – Towards the middle of the ship
- Muster Drill – A mandatory safety meeting conducted before leaving port
- Muster Station – The place you are assigned to assemble if an emergency happens on the ship. It will usually be printed on your room card and posted on the inside of your cabin door.
- Onboard Credit – A credit applied to your cabin. Sometimes issued as a credit for services not rendered such as port cancelation. Onboard credits can only be spent on the ship.
- Pilot – A person licensed to guide a cruise ship in a port. You may hear the captain say that there is a slight delay getting off the ship because it is waiting for the pilot to guide it in.
- Repositioning Cruise – A cruise where the ship is moved from one part of the world to another. For example, a ship that sails in Alaska may be repositioned to sail in warmer areas. Check with your travel agent for more details.
- Sailaway – Typically refers to when a ship leaves the first port at the beginning of a cruise. You will usually hear the word “party” after sailaway that takes place on the pool (lido) deck. You can also take one last look before leaving port.
- Second Seating – Sometimes referred to as “late seating”, it refers to the scheduled dining time in the MDR after early seating. This time is usually between 7 PM and 10 PM depending on the cruise line.
- Shore Excursion – Refers to activities planned to sightsee or engage in activities on land at a port of call. Just make sure you get back to the ship on time.
- Stabilizers – These counter the effects of the motion of the sea on the ship creating a smooth sailing experience.
- Tender – These are the orange lifeboats. Tenders are used primarily to transport passengers to shore at ports of call that do not have a pier for the ship to dock.