Learning About Your Cruise Ship

It’s not only the experiences from cruising that I am beyond passionate about, it of course is the ship too, but even beyond that I enjoy learning more about the workings of the ship upon which I sail. I don’t know everything and if honest I don’t understand everything either but it doesn’t stop me wanting to know more.

I decided you would also learn today too! I have put together a list of things you may hear discussed whilst onboard and tried my best to explain what they are. Some are phrases, terms or descriptions whilst others are specific parts or sections of the ship. I will go into detail about how your cruise ship actually works at a later date but for now let me school you on some of the basics.

Some of you may look upon what is contained in today’s piece and think well surely everyone knows that but you would be surprised how many people don’t.

I was inspired to do this piece by a conversation I overhead on my cruise in April. A lady commented to her boyfriend the bow (pronouncing it in the fashion of a hair bow) what’s the bow, and I knew then that it would one day flourish into a blog topic.

So here goes……………

Port – Left (The colour Red symbolises this)

Starboard – Right (The colour Green symbolises this)

Bow – Foremost part of the ship (Bow being the front)

Stern – Aft most part of the ship (Aft being the back)

Mid-ships – The middle area of the ship

Azipod – Azipods are a new breed of steering and propulsion in one. Unlike a conventional system the Azipod has the rudder fixed to the lower of the pod (this allowing the captain to not only push the ship forwards but to also have the ability to manoeuvre it 360 degrees using one system) The Azipod system is fixed entirely to the outside of the hull therefore losing the need for a traditional propeller shaft. Cruise ships using Azipods include Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Queen Mary 2 and Celebrity Solstice.

Thrusters – These are transversal propulsion devices that are built into the bow and/or Stern of the ship to help with manoeuvrability. Bow thrusters allow docking to be a much simpler task for the Captain.

Muster – We all know of the Muster Drill, but the word Muster literally means to come together or assemble, it is also a term used when gathering up live-stock….make your own mind up on that one! 😉

Pitching – The up and down motion of the ship

Rolling – The side to side motion of the ship

Ballast Tanks – This part of the ship is literally a tank; it is filled and drained with water according to the level of stability. As an example if the ship was experiencing bad weather thus causing the ship to roll these tanks may be filled with water in order to try and counteract this motion. It’s not just a case of filling them up though and hoping for the best. It can be quite a complex procedure making sure water is added or drained in specific amounts between each tank in order to counteract the motion.

Stabilisers – These act in a similar way to Ballast Tanks but act mainly on the rolling motion of the ship.  Stabilisers are located below the water line on both the port and starboard sides and very much resemble the wings of an aeroplane. They extend out from the ship and gently fold away when not in use.

Alongside – This is sometimes noted in cruise brochures and your captain will mention it during your cruise. It simply means the ship is berthed alongside the pier. Berth meaning the location of which your ship will be moored whilst not at sea a.k.a docked.

Gangway – An opening section of the ships bulwark that allows passengers to leave/enter the ship.

Embark – Enter

Disembark – Leave

Quarterdeck – If you hear this term used then you are on the wrong ship my friend. A quarterdeck is the aftermost deck of a warship. 😉


Author: Danielle

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