cruise ship terms definitions

Cruise Ship Terms, Definitions and Basics

February 12, 2019

At Cruise Lady, our goal is providing quality, comfortable family Latter-day adventures in the form of our various cruises and land tours. This means that, along with our high-quality amenities and programs, we’re also always on hand to offer education and points of expertise for areas of our cruises that might be new to first-timers.

In many cases, “first-timer” doesn’t just refer to a large cruise ship like ours – it might even refer to any water vessel whatsoever, which some of our cruisers have never stepped foot on. Whether you’re part of this group or just need a refresher, here are some basics on cruise ship terms and definitions, plus a few other ins and outs you may have wondered about.

Terms and Definitions

A few basic terms or words to know on your cruise ship:

  • Right and left side: In the nautical world, “right” and “left” are not the terms used. Rather, the term “starboard” refers to the right side, and the term “port” refers to the left side. This is based on the direction the front of the boat is facing.
  • Ship front: The front of the ship is known as the forward, or FWD. It may also be called the “bow,” though not all cruise ships use this term (it’s more common on sailboats and military vessels).
  • Ship back: The back of the ship is simply called the back, or sometimes the AFT for abbreviation. It may also be called the “stern,” but again, this is a more common term for military or other sailing vessels.

Speed Measures

One of the most common questions we get from our clients about our LDS cruises: How fast is the cruise ship going? The answer will completely depend on the vessel, but it’s important to note that the measure here will be in nautical miles, not regular miles or kilometers. A nautical mile is called a “knot,” and is roughly equal to about 1.15 standard miles.

Crew, Docking and Turnaround

A few random facts you may not have known about the crew, docking and turnaround times on your cruise:

  • Crew: Most cruise ship crew members live and work on their cruise ship, with cabins in a private area that guests cannot access. They usually sign contracts to work for months at a time, then get vacation time in between these. Don’t be rude and joke or make fun of crew members based on any part of this – if you’re interested, ask politely about their living situation.
  • Docking and turnaround: In most cases, cruise ships are turned around fairly quickly. Crews clean the ship area and another cruise can begin within just a few hours in some cases. This is known as a turnaround day, and it’s much more common than ships docking for days at a time. The exception here will be if a ship is being taken out of service for maintenance work of some kind, called a dry-dock.

For more terms and basics regarding cruise ships, or to learn about any of our LDS tours, speak to the staff at Cruise Lady today.

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