Cruise Lingo

While cruising throughout the years we’ve heard a lot of interesting cruise lingo. What is a Poop deck? Lido deck? Tender? For some reason, a vacation at sea can be filled with unfamiliar words and misunderstood terms. What do these words mean and where did they originate? We talked with some seasoned cruisers and captains of various cruise lines to learn more about cruise ship jargon.

Lido deck is from early steamship travel and the era of multi-class travel. The pool and sun deck were for first class passengers only.  Fortunately, now a days everyone can stroll the Lido Deck while cruising the open seas.

Every time we sail on a cruise, within 24 hours one of us will say “Ok, now I have my sea legs.” This phrase means to walk steadily on the deck or a boat or ship. To balance on a pitching deck by shifting one’s weight from one foot to another, without holding on to something solid to maintain balance.

The poop deck in naval architecture, is from the ancient Roman times. Sailors placed sacred idols on a raised deck at the “aft” (farthest back) of the ship to look down and protect the crew and ship. The term comes from the Roman word for the statue puppis, and the platform it rested on, puppim. These terms became poupe and then poop.

Ever curious how the term “as the crow flies” comes from?  We learned that mariners carried crows or ravens as aids for navigation. The birds would usually fly in the shortest and most direct path to land.

Don’t get berth confused with birth. Even though they sound the same, on a ship, the berth is a built-in bed or bunk in a ships cabin. The funnel is not a device with a wide conical mouth and a narrow stem on a ship, instead it’s the cruise ships smokestack, where the cruise line’s logo is displayed.

Bridge is the ship’s navigational control center. The fluke is a pointed part of the anchor that is designed to catch in the ground. Leeward is on the side of the ship away from the wind, opposite of the windward side.

During the first few hours of a cruise, before the ship sets sail, guests must unite at the muster stations. Guests gather their life vests and gather at a specific location on a ship based on their cabin assignment. Many times guests walk down the companionway to muster. It’s a stairway inside the ship that connects the deck levels.

Nautical comes from the knots that were tied in a line at regular intervals to measure a ship’s speed. While, tender is not a fragile and soft thing on a ship, but a smaller boat carrying passengers from the ship to a pier or shore.

Knowing some cruise terms when on a ship can provide a more enjoyable cruise.  Instead of raising your shoulders about a word, you can confidently share the meaning with others.




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