Cruise Travel Lingo To know Before Sailing

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Referring to your cruise ship as the ‘big floaty thing’ used to be the sort of talk that would draw nasty looks from cruise travel aficionados.  Being correct in our use of nautical terminology was nearly a requirement decades ago.  Today we just flip on a smartphone app while on board most cruise ships and find out instantly where the dining room is, no nautical conversation needed. Still, cruise travel lingo is good to know, some terms are nautical, others more the language of travel agents and those who work with cruise lines on a daily basis.

  • Adjoining rooms: Two rooms located next to each other, side by side, usually with no door connecting them.
  • Adventure tour: A tour designed around an adventurous activity such as rafting, hiking, or mountain climbing.
  • Affinity group: A group of people that share a common hobby, interest, or activity, or that are united by sharing something in common; family and friends, neighbors, enemies.
  • Aft – the back or near the back of the ship or at the bottom of a deck plan.
  • Agent: One who has the power to act at the representative of another. Most frequently in travel, a specific kind of agent such as a travel agent.

cruise travel lingo

  • Air/sea: A cruise or travel package in which one or more transportation elements are provided by air and one or more by sea. The package might also be combined with pre- or post-cruise hotel stays.
  • Amenity package: Value added special features, such as complimentary shore excursions, bar or spa credit, or wine at dinner on a given tour or cruise,]usually used to attract travelers to book through a particular travel agency or organization
  • Atrium – the central area of a cruise ship, usually rising through more than one story of the ship’s interior
  • Back to back: A term used to describe tours operating on a consistent, continuing basis. For instance, a motorcoach arriving in a city from a cross-country tour may conclude the first tour upon arrival, then transport a second group back along the same route to the origination city of the first tour.  In cruise travel it’s two or more consecutive sailings of the same ship.
  • Baggage master: Rarely used, this is the person who controls baggage handling on a ship.
  • Berth – one built-in bed or bunk for one person in a ship’s cabin or stateroom

cruise travel lingo

  • Bow – the very front of the ship, the top of a deck plan.
  • Bridge – the navigational control center where Captain Kirk works.
  • Captain – the person in command of a ship, also referred to as the master of the vessel
  • Carrier: A company that provides transportation services, such as motorcoach companies, airlines, cruise lines, and rental car agencies.
  • Certified Travel Counselor (CTC): A designation attesting to professional competence as a travel agent. It is conferred upon travel professionals with five or more years of industry experience who compete a two-year graduate-level travel management program administered by the Institute of Certified Travel Agents
  • Cruise CompeteCLIA – The Cruise Lines International Association a professional organization most cruise lines belong to
  • Configuration: The interior arrangement of a vehicle.  An airplane, for example, may be configured for 190 coach-class passengers, or it may hold 12 first-class passengers and 170 coach passengers, or any other combination within its capacity. In the world of cruises, the cabins or staterooms used to accommodate a group of travelers.  For example, a group of four could be in two cabins capable of berthing two or one cabin that can berth four.
  • Connecting room: Two rooms that are connected to each other by a door between the two spaces.
  • Consolidator: A person or company that forms groups to travel on air charters at group rates on scheduled flights to increase sales, earn override commissions, or reduce the possibility of tour cancellations.
  • Continental breakfast: At a minimum, a beverage (coffee, tea, or milk) and rolls and toast, with fruit juice sometimes included.
  • Customs: The common term for U.S. Customs Service, the federal agency charged with collecting duty on specified items imported into the country. The agency also restricts the entry of forbidden items.
  • Day rate: Also called a day room. A reduced rate granted for the use of a guest room during the daytime, not overnight occupancy.  Possible to book at hotels after a cruise when a late-night departure is scheduled.
  • Deck Plan – an overhead diagram of the cabins and the public rooms- at the top is the forward part of the ship where the bow is found, at the bottom is aft part of the ship where the stern is found.
  • Deposit: An advance payment required to obtain and confirm space.

cruise travel lingo

  • Disembark – to unload passengers from a ship. To disembark is getting off the ship. Sometimes referred to as ‘debarking’ or ‘disembarkation’.
  • Docent: A volunteer tour guide who works free of charge at a museum.
  • Dock – where your ship ‘parks’ when in port and is tied to a land structure. There, passengers walk on and off the ship. That’s opposed to being ‘at anchor’ when the ship is not tied to land and smaller craft tender passengers back and forth from the land/ship.
  • Double Occupancy- What the world of cruise vacations bases everything on in reference to pricing and accommodations. Simply put: two people in each cabin. 1 person = solo or single occupancy 3 people= Triple occupancy Four people = Quad occupancy.
  • Downgrade: To move to a lesser level of accommodations or a lower class of service.
  • Driver-guide: A tour guide who does double duty by driving a vehicle while narrating.
  • Duty-free imports: Item amounts and categories specified by a government that are fee of tax or duty charges when brought into the country.
  • Extension: A fully arranged sub-tour offered optionally at extra cost to buyers of a tour or cruise. Extensions may occur before, during, or after the basic travel program.
  • Folio: An itemized record of a guest’s charges and credits which is maintained in the front office until departure. Also referred to as a guest bill or guest statement.
  • Leeward – the side of the ship that is out of or away from the wind
  • Knot –a unit of speed: one nautical mile per hour.A ship sailing at 20 knots is going about 23 miles per hour
  • Group leader: An individual who has been given the responsibility of coordinating tour and travel arrangements for a group. The group leader may act as a liaison to a tour operator or may develop a tour independently (and sometimes serve as the tour director).

cruise travel lingo

  • Gangway – allows you access on and off the ship. At large cruise ports, the gangway may resemble the jetway of an airliner. Cruise ships also carry their own gangway with them, albeit a bit smaller.
  • Frequent Independent travel (F.I.T.): A custom-designed, prepaid travel package with many individualized arrangements. F.I.T. travelers are unescorted
  • Forward – the front or near the front of the ship- towards the the top of a ship deck plan.
  • Meet-and-greet service: A pre-purchased service for meeting and greeting travelers upon arrival in a city, usually at the airport, pier, or rail station, and assisting clients with entrance formalities, collecting baggage, and obtaining transportation.
  • Manifest: Final official listing of all passengers and/or cargo aboard a transportation vehicle or vessel.
  • Midship – the middle of the ship
  • Muster – to come together or assemble aboard ship for inspection or roll call. Most often referred to in reference to the mandatory Muster (or Safety) Drill held at the beginning of every sailing.

cruise travel lingo

  • Muster Station – a specific location on ship to gather, based on stateroom assignment
  • Mystery tour: A journey to unpublicized destinations in which tour takers aren’t told where they will be going until en route or upon arrival.
  • Nautical Mile – 1 Nautical mile – 1.15078 statute miles.
  • Passenger vessel: Ships, yachts, ferries, boats, etc. As opposed to ‘cargo ship’ that primarily moves freight.
  • Pier – a structure built out over the water and supported by pillars or piles: used as a landing place.
  • Port – the left-hand side of a ship as one faces forward: opposed to starboard. Port – so named because the side toward the port (dock), since the steering oar (see starboard) prevented docking to the right.

cruise travel lingo

  • Port of Call – a scheduled place to stop on a cruise itinerary.
  • Pre- and post-trip tour: An optional extension or side trip package before and/or after a meeting, gathering, or convention
  • Purser – a ship’s officer in charge of accounts, freight, tickets, etc., esp. on a passenger vessel. Important to you – a Purser takes responsibility for all money, transactions.
  • Shore excursion: A land tour, usually available at ports of call, sold by cruise lines or tour operators to cruise passengers.
  • Starboard – the right side of the ship while facing forward (bow).  Easy way to remember:  Port is the left side and both have four letters, the other one is Starboard.
  • Stateroom – like your hotel room but on a cruise ship, also referred to as your “cabin”
  • Stateroom Steward – a person whose work is to maintain the guests’ staterooms while onboard
  • Stern – the very back of the ship
  • Tender – a boat for carrying passengers to or from a ship close to shore, often the ship’s emergency lifeboats

cruise travel lingo

  • Terminal: A building where clients report for trips via train, plane, etc.; also called a depot or a station.
  • Transfer: Local transportation and porterage from one carrier terminal to another, from a terminal to a hotel, or from a hotel to an attraction.
  • Transit visa: A visa allowing the holder to stop over in a country or make a travel connection or a brief visit.
  • Value-added tax (VAT): A type of tax system which adds a fixed percentage of taxation on products and services at each step of production or service delivery.
  • Visa: Stamp of approval recorded in a traveler’s passport to enter a country for a specific purpose.
  • Windward – on the side of the ship from which the wind blows; toward the wind

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