When you head out to sea on your first cruise, you’re going to be exposed to all kinds of sights, sounds and sensations. It is going to be an amazing vacation that will also provide you with a crash course in “life at sea.” To get you ready, you should brush up on your cruise lingo. You’re sure to hear these words being tossed about by the crew.

Aft/Forward: Yes, there are different words for a lot of things on a cruise. The back of the ship is referred to as aft. The front is forward. These terms are used as adjectives for things like an “aft balcony cabin.”

Bow/Stern: Just to be confusing, there are other words for the front and back of ship. The bow is the front and the stern is the back. So, if you are going to the aft stern, then you’re going to the same place.

Cabin Steward: The cabin steward has been designated as the person in charge of your cabin. They’ll provide the turn down service and take care of any other minor tasks you might need for a comfortable cruise.

Closed-Loop Sailing: If your cruise begins and ends at the same port, then you’ll be closed-loop sailing. Other folks just call it a roundtrip cruise.

Cruise Director: When you need to find the fun on the cruise, ask the cruise director. They are your emcee of events and also act as a kind of roaming concierge. They want you happy, so ask for what you need and they’ll try to make it happen.

Galley: Anything you eat in the ships dining room will be coming from the galley. That is the ship’s kitchen.

Gangway: You came onto the ship by the gangway and that’s how you’ll go off. This is the ramp up from the pier. It can also be a stairway.

Lido Deck: If you want to spend the day by the pool, then ask for directions to the lido deck. Not sure why they just don’t call it the pool deck.

Muster Drill/Muster Station: At some point during your cruise, you’ll be given instructions about what do to in the case of an emergency. This will be your muster drill and you’ll have a designated area to report to. That would be your muster station. It is a good idea to pay attention to this.

Port or Starboard: This is the difference between left (port) and right (starboard). The easy way to remember is port has four letters and so does left.

Porthole: This would be your cabin window and it is typically round.

Purser: This is the person who is in charge of all the finances on the ship. If you have billing questions, then you’ll be dealing with the purser.

Tender: This is the little boat that can take you from the big boat or ship. Some ports don’t allow for docking of cruise ships so you’ll have to tender ashore.

Happy cruising!