Cruise Ship Vocabulary: A Basic Guide

We know what it's like to go out on your first cruise ship contract. So, we've created a short list to help familiarize yourself with some of the more common cruise ship terms you would hear on board. When you're on the Flagship team, you'll know that we prepare our musicians with a ton of information before boarding. This is just a snippet, however, a great start for any New Hire…

Directions On Board

Forward - A term used for the front of the ship

Aft - A term used for the back of the ship

Port - Left side of the ship when facing forward

Starboard - Right side of the ship when facing forward

Ship Areas

Crew Areas – Areas of the ship designated specifically for crew

Guest Areas – Areas of the ship designated specifically for guests

Deck - A term similar to a"floor"used to designate the different levels of a ship

Cabin - The living accommodations on the ship. Also, referred to as Stateroom (for guests)

Muster Station - The specific area where guests must report to in the case of an emergency on board. Boat drills are conducted at various muster stations around the ship

Gangway - An area where Guests and Crew get on and off the ship. The area is overseen by ship security 24/7, and all guests and crew must scan their ID's when entering and exiting

Guest Services - A term that refers to the office and crew in charge of guest affairs. Crew members deal with the Crew Welfare office for all of their needs, and Guests through Guest Services

Crew Welfare - Refers to the office in charge of crew affairs; sign-on and sign-off information, issuing of crew ID's on board, crew mail, and more

Embark - A term referring to where you enter the ship

Disembark - A term referring to where you exit the ship

I-95 - In addition to describing a document, 'I-95' also commonly refers to the main hallway area for crew members, of which the Crew Welfare, Crew Training Center, Staff Mess and Gangways are located

Crew Training Center - An area of the ship that provides training and resources for the crew

Crew Bar - A crew-only lounge that sells snacks and beverages to crew at discounted prices

Crew Mess - An area on the ship where crew members eat

Music-Related Terms

Musical Director / MD aka Band Master - The manager in charge of all musicians on board. He/she is your Boss

Orchestra or Band Pit - The moveable platform on (most ships) where the orchestra aka showband performs. Typically used for production shows, guest headliner shows, and other various on board events

Production Show - 35-45-minute show in the main theatre, involving singers, dancers, techs and the Showband

Tech Run - A practice run-through of a production show

Tech - Crew members that deal with the technical aspects of all main stage shows (sound techs, lighting techs, etc)

Backstage - The area directly behind the main theatre where Cast and Musicians prepare / meet before the shows

Safety Measures & Procedures

Fire-Screen Door - Fire resistant doors on the ship designed to contain a fire in the event of an emergency on board

Water-Tight Door - Doors on the ship designed to stop water passing through different areas of the ship. Never attempt to pass through a water-tight door while it's operating, even during a crew training drill

Tenders - Smaller boats used for Guests and Crew to go ashore

Life Boat - Small boats, with a capacity of approximately 150 people equipped with emergency supplies, used to evacuate guests and crew in the event of an emergency on board

Life Raft - Inflatable rafts, near the life boats with the similar purpose of evacuating the ship in the case of an emergency. Life rafts have a capacity of approximately 35 passengers and are typically designated for Crew

Boat Drill / Pax Drill - Refers to a mandatory exercise in accordance with maritime law and conducted the first day of

each cruise, to familiarize guests with the procedure in case of an emergency on board

In Port Manning - For safety reasons, a certain number of crew must be on board the ship at all times. Therefore, In Port Manning is the duty of remaining on board for this purpose.

Shipboard Familiarization - A short training session for all new crew members on basic shipboard concepts and procedures

Alpha, Bravo, Oscar, etc - Terms describing different different emergency situations on board, announced over the P.A. These code names are different depending on the cruise line, and crew members will learn each during initial crew trainings on board

Itinerary-Based Terms

Home Port - The port where guests begin their cruise

Port Day - When the ship docks and guests and crew can go ashore

Sea Day - When the ship is at sea for the day

Run - A term used for the ship's itinerary on any given cruise

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