Planning on a cruise holiday? Beware of the cruiselings. These are the seasoned cruisers that tend to have developed a language of their own that can be confusing for a first-time cruiser.
As self-confessed cruiselings, Itchy Feet Family have compiled a list of lingo that to a novice may not quite make as much sense - so we have broken it down for you.
Here are our top 15 Cruise Ship Lingo explained.
When you make your booking you will have an option of either booking a specific cabin on the ship that you select from the deck plans or to book a “Guaranteed Cabin”. A Guaranteed Cabin means that you are guaranteed that class of cabin or above. You will not be notified of your cabin number until close to your cruise departure. If you are booking multiple cabins and want to make sure you are positioned together, it is not a good idea to book a guaranteed cabin. People sometimes think if they book an interior cabin on guaranteed they will be upgraded to a balcony - this is not likely……
An interconnecting cabin is like interconnecting hotel rooms - it means there is a door between two cabins that can be opened to connect the two. However unless you are actually booking two cabins, being allocated an Interconnecting cabin does not mean you have been given two rooms. It is just a courtesy to let you know that there is a door between your cabin and the next - and essentially that the noise restriction between the two rooms may be affected.
A tender is not a document produced and written to the government asking for a contract or grant funding, on a cruise ship the Tender is the small boat used to ferry passengers between the ship and the port of call.
When you board the ship you will notice the Tender ships hoisted up on the side. They are also what the ships use in an emergency - lets hope you never have to use them for that - only to explore a port.
If you are taking a cruise on a small expedition ship, a Zodiac is used instead of a tender boat. A zodiac is a robust motorised small rubber boat used to ferry passengers from ship to shore or to simply explore waterways at a more intimate level.
A tender port is a location that does not have the infrastructure for the cruise ship to pull directly in to disembark passengers. It is a tender port that will require the use of the Tender boats to get passengers ashore.
When visiting a tender port your ship will instruct you the process of getting onto a tender, generally you are required to gather in the ship’s theatre to collect a numbered ticket. When your ticket number is called you head to the bottom deck where there will be a pontoon set up for embarking/disembarking onto the Tender.
Before your ship leaves it’s embarkation port it is international law that a safety drill is performed with all passengers onboard. Passengers will be directed to collect their life jacket from their cabin and assemble at their allocated Muster Station. This does not refer to an outback sheep station in central Australia, but rather your meeting/assembly point for the safety drill and subsequent emergencies should it be required.
This is a tour arranged by the cruise line at your port locations. The advantage of booking a shore tour is that you are guaranteed the ship will not leave without you. If your tour bus gets caught in traffic or breaks down in the middle of nowhere, the ship will not leave without you. The risk of booking independent shore tours is that if you do not make it back to the ship by boarding time, the ship will happily sail into the sunset without you!
It seems crazy that I would explain this, however I recently completed a weekend Sea Break where I heard a passenger complaining that they were astounded that the ship had not stopped anywhere all weekend! A Sea Break - or Sea Days - literally means your cruise ship will be out at sea and not docking anywhere. Sit back and enjoy the Sea!
Sail Away Party
One of the best parties to get involved with on the ship - the Sail Away! Say farewell to land and hello cruise holiday. Most ships will have music playing, bars fully stocked and all the entertainment staff on the deck getting you in the right spirit for your relaxing getaway.
The Entertainment Director on a cruise ship is the fun police. It is their job to schedule all the passenger activities and ensure passengers are having fun. Often you will see them running a Trivia or a Bingo and they will appear on the theatre stage at the end of the night letting you know what entertainment is planned for the rest of the night and the next day. You may hear them over the loud speaker with announcements of activities you can get involved with and you will also see them at all the parties around the ship getting people involved in whatever is going on. A good Entertainment Director can really set the tone of your cruise and make sure everyone is having a good time.
A lot of ships have a common deck named the Lido deck. This is a common term for the deck that has the open air pool and activities.
The wake of the ship is the powerful wash of water viewed from the back of the ship as it sails through the ocean. Quite often you will see people at the back of the ship watching the wake at sunset or sunrise.
This is your most important item on your cruise. Before you board the ship, at check in, you will have your photograph taken and issued a cruise card. Your cruise card is you key access to your cabin, your payment method for all things on the ship and your identification as you board and disembark the ship.
On-board Credit/ On-board Spend
Many cruise lines offer incentives for booking that includes OBC - on board credit. This is a nominated amount that is added to your cruise card available for you to spend wherever you wish on the ship. Spend it at the bar, on shore tours, at the duty free shop or spa - the choice is yours.
Anytime dining is a dining room that allows you to simply walk up and ask for a table at whatever time you feel like dining. If a table is available you will be seated immediately, if there is a queue you will need to wait your turn. Alternatively you will have allocated dining which is a set time for your dining. Many ships will have allocated dining times for evening meals. An early dining time - around 5:30 and a late seating time of 8pm. If your ship has allocated dining you choose one of the times and that is your dining time for the duration of the cruise. Generally you will sit at the same table each night. A great option for solo travellers wanting some company for dinner.
I am sure there are many more that would be of interest to first time cruisers. If you have a word to add to our list, share it with us in the comments below, we would love to hear them.
Penny - Itchy Feet Family
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- Christmas Cruising: Pros and Cons
- Family Cruising - Five Top Tips
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Penny, an avid Trip Advisor Reviewer, is the author of ITCHY FEET FAMILY. A family of 4 living in Adelaide, Australia, and taking every opportunity to travel and explore the world.