Insiders know that there’s a secret language in cruising; these terms provide information on the ships taking them to limitless private islands, various ports of call and destinations, plus the definitions of various amenities offered to cruise travelers.
Following is a list of cruise industry terms. How many do you know? Click here for full glossary.
Atoll – A Ring-shaped reef, island of coral and encircling a freshwater lagoon.
Calving – The break-up or splintering of a glacier or iceberg so as to produce a detached piece of ice.
Cenote – A natural swimming hole formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, revealing a subterranean world of groundwater pools, with pure, clear, fresh water. Perfect for swimming and diving.
Circumnavigators Club – The Circumnavigators Club is the only international organization devoted to bringing together those men and women who have gone around the world. The Club was organized over 100 years ago by two Americans sailing across the Indian Ocean aboard the S.S. Barbarossa.
Flightseeing – A form of sightseeing from the air, generally in a small plane or helicopter.
French balcony – A glass door or wall-to-wall window that opens to give you fresh air and the feel of a veranda, minus the veranda, tables and chairs. Often a feature of cabins on river cruise ships.
Holiday market – During the holidays, river cruise lines offer itineraries of holiday or Christmas markets that feature town squares festooned with the traditional sights, smells and tastes of Christmas and holidays.
Loyalty program – A program offering rewards to repeat cruisers, with benefits that increase with frequency or spending. Perks might include shipboard credit, free wi-fi, exclusive get-togethers, etc.
Passenger capacity – Occupancy rate of a cruise ship based on two people per room or that plus the additional portable beds added to rooms. Most ships sail near or above capacity, with an industry average of 104%; passengers traveling solo usually have to pay extra since most cabins can be sold at double rate (See Single supplement).
Repositioning cruise – A one-way itinerary that brings a ship from one region to another, such as from Alaska to the Caribbean, or from the Caribbean to Europe. As some cruise regions are only popular or even accessible in warmer months, cruise lines reposition their fleets to best meet consumer demand. Repositioning cruises are generally less expensive than other sailings, and tend to feature a higher ratio of Days at sea compared to port calls vs. the average itinerary.
Shipboard credit (or Onboard credit) – Whether called “OBC” or “Ship-board credit” this amounts to the same thing: money in your ship-board account to spend during your cruise. And you will spend it, whether on tips, drinks, specialty restaurant fees, or other onboard purchases.
Theme cruise – A cruise with a central theme geared toward people with common interests, such as music, sports, history, politics, cooking, wine, computers, stargazing and so on.
Wave season – January through March time period during which cruise lines and travel agents book a disproportionately large number of cruises with promotional deals.