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Have you ever asked – which side is the port side on a cruise ship?
Get on board any cruise ship, and you will soon see and hear terms that may sound familiar to you yet foreign. All cruisers would benefit from knowing some cruise ship terms that will help you navigate the ship and understand the crew better. This knowledge can also help you choose the best part of the ship for your stateroom.
Regardless of what cruise line you are on, there is a new language you need to understand that will help make your trip even more enjoyable. It may seem odd to have to relearn the names of directions and the physical parts of the ship, but knowing these cruise ship terms will help to ensure you are always on time for dinner, your fantastic excursion, and nighttime entertainment. What if you hear the announcement, “Head to the port side of the ship to see a pod of whales as they make their way by”? Do you know where to go? Knowing where the “port side” is will help you get there faster so that you don’t miss it.
Cruise Ship Terms Defined
All cruise ship terms use the bow as a reference point, just as compass markings are all related to their position to North. Learning these terms will help navigate the ship and know where all the venues are that you will want to get to.
- Bow: The front-most part of the ship. (remember that scene from the Titanic with Jack and & Rose)
- Forward: To get to the bow, you must go forward.
- Midship: It seems obvious, but it is the portion of the ship between forward and aft.
- Stern: The back of the ship.
- Aft: Means to go away, or you’ll head aft towards the stern.
- Port: Is the left side as you face the bow.
- Starboard: Is the right side as you face the bow.
- Passageways: These are the hallways you will use to move from the bow to the stern.
- Bridge: The captain and his crew are piloting the ship from here and are typical forward. Think of it as the cockpit of a plane but much more significant. Unlikely you can walk up to the bridge, but your cruise line may offer tours. Ask your cruise director.
There is still much to learn about cruise ship terms, as we have only scratched the surface. It is acceptable to approach any crew to ask them further questions. Look especially for those walking around in white uniforms with lapels adorned with stripes and swirls. These officers will be more than happy to inform you more about their world and the language they all speak.
Bonus Tip – What Does the Cruising Know it All say?
#1 – One way to remember port and starboard is like this:
The word left is shorter than right. The word port is shorter than starboard.
#2 – On many ships, when you are on the weather deck (the part of the ship exposed to the elements giving access to walking around the outside), you can also identify what side of the ship you are on with colors. The Port side lights will always be red, and the starboard side lights will always be green.