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Norwegian's Official Travel Blog

Cruise Terminology

Are you a cruiser? No not the kind who leers lasciviously at parties, but a vacationer who frequently travels via ship. If this is your first time aboard ship, you may be surprised by how many different kinds of cruisers you meet. There are those who consistently take a cruise once a year to commemorate a special occasion (and some will always return to repeat a specific, sentimental itinerary). Yet others are intent on placing a pin on every continent.

However, there are also some cruiser (usually those indulging their twilight years) who will travel on back-to-back cruises. For them, Norwegian is like a summer holiday home! But one thing every cruiser has in common: A secret, shared language of cruising terminology. Whether you are new to cruising, or have been around the ship (or the world!) a few times, here are a few common terms to test your knowledge, or come up to quick speed if this if your first trip.


There's the kind that clenches your stomach from too much stress (and it's one of the first things you'll feel disappear after you start your holiday). But, when at sea, a knot is always known as a nautical mile, or one unit of speed of one nautical mile (6,076.12 feet or 1,852 metres) an hour. But really, all you need to know is that during your sea days, the feeling of the wind breezing through your hair, or the sight of the ship cutting through the waves at swift knot speed is a highly hypnotic sensation.

Port of Call

Regular stopover(s) on a cruise itinerary. Great Stirrup Cay, as mentioned above, is one of the most popular ports of call on Norwegian’s Bahamas cruise itinerary. However, every stopover, whether it’s a small, private island, or a world-famous cultural city, such as Venice or St. Petersburg, is always a “port of call.” To me, it sounds quite poetic, and truly expresses the perspective of experiencing treasured landmarks through the great bodies of water that define it.

Cruise to St. Thomas


This is one of my favourite terms because its meaning seems so unexpected. Taking a tender is also one of my favourite cruise moments. So what is it? A tender is a boat for carrying passenger to or from a ship close to shore. For instance, on certain excursions, such as Norwegian’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, a tender will transport you to this exclusive island. It’s such a simple activity, and yet it feels so exciting to be close to the sea, sailing from a grand ship to an intimate, exclusive island.


Your cabin or berth. On Norwegian Cruise Line, staterooms are always well appointed. If you’re the kind of cruiser who stays active all waking hours, you may prefer a stateroom designed for simplicity. Or, if you prefer ample unwinding time, there are so many stateroom options to select from, including one with a private balcony, or even, your own penthouse! Almost every cruiser dreams of staying in The Haven. The Haven suite includes a secluded deck, pool, and lounge, access to the Haven Restaurant, as well as private dining served by an on-call butler. For your stay, select from the three-bedroom Garden Villa, Owner’s Suite with Large Balcony, Courtyard Penthouse, and several more options.

Balcony stateroom on Norwegian Epic

Deck Plan

An overhead diagram of the cabins and the public rooms. Let's face it: Since you're about to travel aboard one of the largest floating playgrounds, you're going to want to familiarise yourself with the deck plan. Within a day, you'll be confidently striding around the ship, between the main dining rooms and large selection of restaurants, or to and from the spa, casino, fitness centre, shows, and --- well, you get the idea.

As you learn the deck plan, you’ll want to add these simple location terms to your cruise lingo:

Bow - the very front of the ship
Midship - the middle of the ship.
Aft - the back or near the back of the ship

The deck plan may also be a handy reference after a night of navigating between Norwegian’s Bars and Lounges! In fact, I highly recommend testing out your fancy new vocabulary whilst tasting cocktails with new friends. Check out this full list of cruise vocabulary terms and see how many of these new words can squeezed into a sentence! Cheers!