For cruising with children, you might want to brush up on the sailing terms used aboard the ship – How much more fun will your cruise be when you are throwing out the lingo! Not only fun, it just makes you feel a little better when you know what everyone is talking about aboard the cruise ship. From aft to windward, here are the sailing terms you will need to know….
1. Bow – This is the very front of a ship. Remember the movie “Titanic” – “I’m King of the World”!
2. Stern – This term refers to the back of the boat or ship.
3. Aft – OK – now it getting confusing. Aft means moving towards the back or towards the stern. So this means that the stern is the place (noun) and aft is sort of a direction. The cruiser is at the stern. The steward was told to stow the luggage aft.
4. Gangway – This is the bridge that you will walk on to get aboard the ship. You will also use the gangway sometimes to leave the ship at ports of call and when you return to your home port.
5. Bridge – Why didn’t they just call the gangway a bridge? Well, the bridge is where the Captain takes care of navigating the ship… so, the name was already being used! His (or her) cockpit, if you will.
6. Embark/Disembark – The proper terminology for getting on and off the ship is to embark (get on) or to disembark (to get off).
7. Fluke –On a ship, a fluke is the point of an anchor that catches the ground when the anchor is deployed, specifically the pointy tips on each arm of the anchor.
8. Port – As you face forward (towards the bow – see #1), the left side of the ship is the port side. Port is also a stop along the cruise – as in, “We docked at the port in Cancun.”
9. Starboard – As you face forward, the right side of the ship is the starboard side.
10. Leeward – Getting ready to be confusing again…. . Leeward is the side of the ship that is facing away from the wind…. So it can be port or starboard.
11. Windward – Can you guess… Windward means the side of the ship where the wind is blowing.
12. Knots – Not knots on a rope but rather the speed at which your cruise ship is moving. The proper mathematical term is how many nautical miles a ship can travel in an hour…. and a nautical mile is just over 6,000 feet ( 1,800 meters). Just make sure your don’t ask the captain about mph.
So, when you take the time to learn the sailing terms used on cruise ships, you will know what the crew is talking about… I think it is fun to hear the crew throw out a term, and know what they are talking about!