Susan Dunn

Article Summary:

Understanding the words used on a cruise liner helps with your first time cruise.

Your First Time Cruise – Understanding the Jargon

You’re hearing “Disembarkation will be…” and you’re wondering what on earth they’re telling you. If you’re planning your first cruise, here’s a list of terms that can help you get your sea legs.

1. Adjoining cabins: Your cabins are next to one-another
2. Aft: Toward the rear, or stern of the ship.
3. Berth: The bed in your cabin.
4. Cabin: Your room on the ship.
5. Category: The price of your room depends upon its location, and that is its “category”
6. Coast Guard: You may find that your embarkation or disembarkation is delayed “because of the Coast Guard.” They are charged with responsibility for the safety, order and operation of maritime traffic, may delay the departure while they inspect, and are not a part of the cruise line.
7. Connecting Cabin: This means there’s a door between the cabins that lets you go from one to the other without going into the hallway.
8. Customs: U.S. Customs & Border Protection which has various regulations you and the ship must comply with. For instance, you must “pass through customs” when you return, filling out a form, declaring purchases, and sometimes your baggage is inspected.
9. Debarkation: Getting off the ship
10. Dock: The pier
11. Duty: A tax on imports. Of course it’s nice to find something “duty-free.”
12. Embarkation: Getting on the ship, or boarding it.
13. Fore or Forward: Toward the bow of the ship, or toward the front.
14. First seating (or sitting): Generally there are two meal times, and this would be the earlier of the two. Usually around 6:00 p.m.
15. Free port: This is a port free of customs duty and other regulations.
16. Gangway: The ramp by which you embark and disembark. Gets you from the ship back onto dry land.
17. Gratuities: This is the tip you give the service personnel on the ship.
18. Inside Cabin: A cabin on the inside of the ship that has no window or porthole. It’s usually priced cheaper, but many people actually prefer it. I do.
19. Muster: Generically means “assembling”, on a ship, means “practice fire drill.” You’ll put on your life jacket and go to your “muster station” to receive instructions in case of a fire.
20. Outside Cabin or Oceanview: A cabin on the outside of the ship that has a porthole or a window.
21. Passport: A formal document (it’s a small booklet) issued by an authorized official of a country to one of its citizens that’s usually necessary for exit from and reentry into the country, that allows that citizen to travel in a foreign country in accordance with visa requirements, and that requests protection for the citizen while abroad.
22. Port Charge: This is the docking fee charged by the host city or country.
23. Port-of-Call: The place on the cruise itinerary you stop at.
24. Purser: The person who takes care of the money.
25. Sea/air: This means you are buying the cruise plus air transportation to the port.
26. Second seating (or sitting): The later of the two meal times, usually around 8:00 p.m.
27. Shore Excursion: The sightseeing and activities you can enjoy while at the port-of-call, i.e., swim with the dolphins, scuba diving, a tour of the island.
28. Single: A cabin occupied by one passenger.
29. Single rate: That I’m aware of, there’s no longer a true “single rate” on a cruise. Passengers who wish to travel and room alone generally have to pay 150-200% of the stated “single rate”.
30. Stateroom: Another word for your cabin, or room.
31. Steward: The person in charge of taking care of your room, changing your linens, vacuuming and cleaning it up.
32. Tender: A small boat that takes passengers to and from the ship when the ship is unable to anchor next to the port. “Tendering” is taking the boat to and fro.

Susan Dunn, MA, of The EQ Coach, offers coaching, Internet courses and ebooks for your personal and professional success. She is founder of the EQ Alive! coach certification program, which has no residency requirement and trains coaches internationally. For a free ezine, email [email protected].

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