Navigating Your Cruise Ship in the Caribbean

Inspiration Travel



Before you even reach your destination, you will encounter a whole new language onboard your ship. A lot of the terms commonly thrown around on a cruise ship may be unfamiliar to you. We’re here with cliff notes on ship geography and terminology so you’ll be able to navigate like a pro from day one.

Essential Cruise Vocabulary

  • Cabin: Also a stateroom, this is your living quarters. “Inside staterooms” don’t usually have a window, whereas “ocean view” cabins have a porthole or window.
  • Cabin Attendant: The employee who cleans and services your cabin, occasionally known as a steward or stewardess.
  • Cruise Director: The cruise line’s public liaison with passengers. He or she might act as an emcee or make announcements.
  • Deck Plan: Your essential map to getting around the ship, showing staterooms by number, as well as restaurants, shops, theatres and other features.
  • Disembarkation: The process of departing the ship at the end of the cruise.
  • Dock: When your ship pulls into port at a pier and allows passengers to walk off the ship via a gangway.
  • Embarkation: The initial boarding process at the beginning of the cruise.
  • Gangway: The moveable ramp or staircase used to board or exit the ship.
  • Muster Station: A drill in which passengers (wearing life jackets) gather at a fixed location to prepare for the unlikely event of a ship evacuation.
  • Pitch: The rise and fall of the ship, from front to back, as it moves through the water.
  • Purser: The cruise line employee who handles all financial transactions during your cruise, typically located at the reception desk.
  • Roll: Side-to-side movement of the ship at sea.
  • Sea Day: A day on the open water as opposed to in port. Often used for special programming and onboard entertainment.
  • Shore Extension: An optional tour or guided activity in port, booked through the cruise line but led by a trusted third-party operator.
  • Tender: When your ship arrives at a port by anchoring off-shore. It then transports passengers to the mainland via ferry.

Anatomy of a Cruise Ship

  • AFT: The larger, overall back portion of the ship.
  • BOW: The hull of the ship at the very front.
  • BRIDGE: The ship’s control center housing navigational and steering equipment.
  • LIDO: The upper pool and open sun deck areas used for recreation.
  • PORTSIDE: The left-hand side of the ship when facing forward.
  • PROMENADE: The open deck around the ship’s edge, for walking or jogging.
  • STARBOARD: The right-hand side of the ship when facing forward.


For more information please call one of our Reservation Coordinators at 800 247 1899, Monday through Friday between 8:30am-5:00pm, Pacific Time.