Back to the top

Ship Vocabulary

Port – A nautical term for the left side of the ship.
Starboard – A corresponding term for the right side of the ship.
Forward – A term for the front of the ship.
Aft – A term for the back of the ship.

Port – Any location where the ship docks and both guests and crew can get off and step onto dry land.
Home Port – The port where guests begin and end their cruise. (Read more at our Ports Blog.)
Port of Call – A term commonly used to describe any port besides the home port. If a ship picks up guests in Miami and stops in Mexico and Jamaica before returning to Miami, Mexico and Jamaica would be considered ports of call.
Run – A term for the ship’s itinerary, encompassing the duration of the cruise, the ship’s home port, and its various ports of call.

Tenders – Tenders is a term referring to the general process of docking in the water, as opposed to at a pier, and then shuttling guests to shore using smaller boats; tendering refers to the actual process of shuttling the guests, tender boats refer to the smaller boats, and the term tender port refers to any port that requires this process. (Read more at our Ports Procedure Blog.)
Boat Drill/Pax Drill – Both of these terms related to a short precautionary exercise, mandatory in accordance with maritime law and conducted the first day of each cruise, conducted to familiarize guests with the procedure in case of an emergency on board.
Port Manning – The safety and precautionary requirement that a certain number of crew must be on board the ship at all times. Port manning is, therefore, the duty of all crew members to occasionally remain on board for this purpose.
Vessel Familiarization – A short training session for all new crew members (both brand new and returning to work) that touches on basic shipboard concepts and procedures. Often, a tour of the ship is given by either an officer during the training or by a department member following the completion of the training.
Alpha Team, Bravo Bravo, Bright Star, etc. – These are all terms describing emergency situations on board, announced over the P.A. system and given code names, so guests don’t know what’s going on and therefore don’t interfere or panic. The code names differ depending on the cruise line, and crew members will be informed of their specific meanings during vessel familiarization and other training once onboard.
I-95 – A term commonly used to describe a piece of paper offering proof of employment and permission to enter a foreign territory or country.

Life Boat – One of several small boats, with a capacity of approximately 150 people and equipped with emergency supplies, that is secured to the cruise ship and used to evacuate guests and crew in the event of an emergency on board.
Life Raft – One of several inflatable rafts, stored in the same area as the life boats and with the similar purpose of evacuating the ship in the case of an emergency. Life rafts have a capacity of approximately 35 passengers.
Fire-Screen Door – One of many heavy, thick doors on the ship designed, once closed, to contain a fire in such an emergency situation on board.
Water-Tight Door – One of many very thick doors on the ship designed to seal so tightly that water cannot pass through in the case of a breach or leak.

Deck – A nautical term equivalent to “floor” or “story” on land, used to designate the different levels of a ship.
Cabin – Living accommodations on the ship. Most cabins consist of a single bed or bunk beds, as well as closets, cabinets, a desk and a bathroom.
Muster Station – The specific areas to which guests must report in the case of an emergency on board. Boat drill is conducted at the various muster stations around the ship.
MSA/Staff Administration – Both of these terms refer to the office in charge of crew affairs, which takes care of sign-on and sign-off information, issuing of crew ID’s, storing of crew valuables, relaying of external mail and packages to crew members, etc. The Staff Admin office is usually open for a few hours in the morning and in the evening on a daily basis.
Pursers/Guest Services – Both of these terms refer to the office in charge of guest affairs. Crew members deal with the Staff Admin office for all of their needs, and therefore rarely need to use Guest Services.
Gangway – An area for embarking and disembarking (getting on and off) the ship. The area is overseen by ship security, and all guests and crew must scan their ID’s when entering and exiting.
I-95 – In addition to describing a document, ‘I-95’ also commonly refers to the main hallway area for crew, off of which the Staff Admin, Crew Training Center, staff mess and gangways for exiting the ship are located.
Mess – A large, communal area where crew members eat.
Crew Bar –  A crew-only lounge that sells alcohol and snacks at reduced prices. (Read more at our Crew Bar Blog.)
Crew Training Center – An area of the ship that provides resources, services and information to crew, including language lessons, games and movies, and tours of various restricted areas on board the ship.

Band Pit – The moveable platform on which the Showband or showband performs. The platform attaches to a gear system that allows it to rise and fall during production shows, and it can also be detached from the gear system to be used on the main stage.
Musical Director/MD – The manager in charge of all musicians on board a particular ship. Showband musicians work directly under the musical director, while other groups and soloists simply report to the musical director for any shipboard matters.
Production Show – A Las Vegas-style show performed for guests, involving dancers, singers, techs and the Showband and lasting roughly 45 minutes.
Tech – One of several positions on board that deal with the technical aspects of production shows (sound, lighting, sets, props, etc).
Tech Run – A practice run-through of a production show.
Aviom – A personal monitor used by Showband members when playing production shows. Avioms are only used on some cruise lines.

Cruise Ship Gigs & Jobs for Musicians

Privacy Policy