September 30, 2020

Cruise Lingo: The Secret Language of Travel

15 Phrases From CruiseCompete’s Comprehensive Glossary of Cruise Industry Terms

Those “in the know” are aware that there’s a secret language in cruising; terms that describe cruise ships, their itineraries and their destinations, as well as the innumerable amenities offered by the lines.

There are 15 phrases listed below:

  1. Circumnavigators Club - The Circumnavigators Club is the only international organization devoted to bringing together those men and women who have traveled around the world. The Club was organized over 100 years ago by two Americans sailing across the Indian Ocean aboard the S.S. Barbarossa.

  2. Cruise tour/ Cruisetour - A vacation combining a cruise with a land journey before or after the cruise, sometimes with a host or guide. Cruise tour itineraries are pre-packaged by the cruise lines.

  3. Enrichment - Programs that let passengers sign up for short courses in art, cooking, digital photography, computers and other subjects, usually taught by art instructors, guest lecturers, chefs and other experts.

  4. Flyboarding - Watersport that lets you glide over the surface of the water, powered by water pumped through a hose connected to a Jet Ski. Often available in cruise beach destinations.

  5. 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.

  6. Gateway - A place or stop travelers use to reach their final destination; for instance, on an international trip from Miami to Rome, your gateway might be Houston for the first leg of your journey to Miami. Some travel packages include airfare from "Gateway cities". In other words, you must arrange your own transportation to a gateway city, and this is not included in the price.

  7. Guarantee cabin - When you book a guarantee cabin, you are selecting a class of cabin, but the cruise line will determine exactly which cabin you are assigned. This method generally gets you get a better rate, but you give up your opportunity to choose a specific cabin. Your cabin will at a minimum be in the class you booked (usually either inside, outside, or balcony) but the cruise line will choose the location for you based on availability close to sailing. This is a good option if you're not fussy about where your cabin is located. You will usually end up on a lower deck (good for people who are concerned about the motion of the ship), but significant upgrades do happen occasionally.

  8. 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.

  9. Junior suite - Sometimes referred to a Mini-suite, this is a cabin-type somewhat larger than a standard balcony stateroom on a particular ship. Sizes vary greatly by ship, so it's best to review deck plans before making a final booking decision.

  10. 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.

  11. OBC - 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.

  12. Passenger/space ratio - Refers to a ships square footage of passenger space divided by the number of passengers; i.e. passengers divided by a rough estimate of total space in a ship's common areas, cabins. etc. A score of below 20 is poor; 20-30 average; 30-40 good; 40-50 very good; over 50 excellent.

  13. Quote request - A submission to asking for competing cruise offers from independent travel agencies.

  14. Segments - Portions of a long cruise itinerary. Breaking a long cruise into segments allows passengers to select which sections of the journey to travel, letting them join or leave the voyage at ports of their choosing. These options are seen often on World cruise itineraries.

  15. Shoulder season - A travel period between peak season and low/off-peak season. When this occurs depends on the destination.

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