Have you cruised before and wondered about the origins of some of the shipboard lingo? Or worse, not know what it meant? Here, we look at some of the most commonly used words. Words: Alarna Haigh.

Port side

Is left hand side of the ship when you’re facing forwards.


Is the right hand side of the ship when you’re facing forwards.


Is the hull of the ship when you’re facing forwards.


Is the back of the ship – the opposite of the bow.


Is the rear end of the ship.


While passengers eat in dining rooms, the crew eat in the mess.


On land chefs cook in a kitchen, but on a ship chefs cook in the galley.


The control centre of the ship where the steering and navigational equipment is used. You’ll find the captain here and on some ships you can still be invited up to the bridge if you’re lucky!

Lido Deck

The term Lido can be traced back to the 19th century, when it was commonly used to describe an upper class beach resort. The Macquarie Dictionary says it originally was a “fashionable beach resort on a sandy island lying between the Lagoon of Venice and the Adriatic, north-east of Italy,” which explains why cruise lines decided on the name Lido Deck for their upper pool and sun deck areas.

Poop Deck

It’s the enclosed space above the main deck at the aft of the vessel, despite what the name suggests. The word poop comes from the Latin puppis, which was the word used to describe a doll or small image. In ancient times, seafarers placed an idol at the stern to watch over the vessel.

Sea legs

Although some people think it refers to the rocking feeling you feel once back on the dock, getting your sea legs actually means you can withstand the rocking of the ship while onboard. With that also comes the ability to withstand seasickness, luckily for some!


No, not the tender loving care you get from the crew (although you do get that too!). A tender is the smaller, ferry-like vessel the ship uses to transport passengers ashore when the ship is at anchor instead of docked.


The entrance and exits to the cruise ship while it is docked. On smaller vessels this may be a set of stairs that extend out from the ship, while bigger vessels will use a walkway that connects directly to the cruise terminal.