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Cruise Terminology

What is "cruise-speak"?

Thankfully, the days of 'Port Out, Starboard Home (or 'POSH'), bows, sterns, fo'c'sles or forecastles and poop decks (!) are long gone, but there are still a few terms which are unique to the cruise world and which may catch you out if you are new to cruising.

We have already mentioned the idea of 'inside' and 'outside' cabins, but cruise lines also still talk in terms of 'embarkation' and 'disembarkation' for the purposes of getting on and off ship (and you need to pay attention to the former if you don't want to miss the ship when she sails!).

You will also need to remember to always refer to the ship as "SHE" and never call her a "boat". That is, unless you are on a river cruise, in which case it is acceptable.

Your ' ports of call ' are obviously the different places you visit along the way and, at each one, there will be a range of Shore Excursions to choose from. These include gentle bus tours of the port or city to more active pursuits like wind-surfing, kayaking, off-road driving and horse-riding.

On the larger ships, you sometimes still find the traditional set dining times for evening dinner. This means you will be asked for your choice of an early or later time for dinner (usually around 6pm or 8.30pm), and this will be your set time for the main meal each day.

In many instances, you will also find you have set dining companions for the duration of your cruise, as many dining rooms have tables for 4,6,8 and even 10 - tables for 2 are available but they are usually the first to go.

However, this rather formal idea has been largely replaced on the more deluxe cruise ships by an open-seating policy, while even the larger ships now cater for more relaxed dining by providing a huge range of restaurant choice.

In fact, this is one of the greatest advances in cruise style in recent years as the likes of Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises and others have all introduced a variation of flexible dining which allows their guests to choose exactly where they would like to dine, when and with whom.

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