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Florida Guide > Miscellaneous

CRUISING DIRECTORY - PART 3

If you have read parts 1 and 2 you are becoming a true cruise expert. Here are a few more essential words for you to digest.

Embarkation – this is when you board the ship. Bit like checking in at the airport. By the time you embark, the ship will be spick and span and ready for the next batch of excited passengers to stream aboard. If it is done well you will feel like you are the first and most important passengers ever to have stepped foot on your chosen ship.

Disembarkation – this is when you leave the ship for the final time. The Americans have a habit of calling it ‘debarkation’, but this should not be confused with what you do to a dog which is too noisy. Disembarkation is usually accompanied by a huge feeling of sadness and depression, which can only be remedied by going straight onto the internet and booking your next cruise. If the depression is very severe forced eviction by a couple of burly officers will provide an instant, but temporary cure.

Gangplank – a rather old fashioned word with visions of recalcitrant pirates walking the plank whilst shoals of hungry sharks wait in joyful anticipation of a tasty meal. It is the means by which you exit the ship, once in port, and may be a long wooden gangway, or covered walkway.

Deck – this is what each floor is called. They normally have quite romantic names like Aloha, Caribe, Baja, Formosa, Devana etc. When you get in the lift an annoying lady will repeatedly tell you what deck you are on. If anyone knows how to throttle her then please let me know. By the end of your cruise you will know each deck off by heart, thanks to her repetition.

Berth – this is your bed on board – it may be upper or lower (cabins with upper and lower berths really are the bottom grade of accommodation), and it may be single or queen sized, or it may fold up into the ceiling in your cabin. Just to confuse you, it is also the name of the place where your ship will dock – but this is easily discernable as it will not have any bedding.

Upper berth – this is a bed which can be folded up into the ceiling by the steward once he has made your bed in the morning. It will have a ladder, and a little light above it. Upper berths are normally found in 4 berth cabins, and their ability to be stowed out of sight makes the cabin roomier. They are excellent for families with children, but do make sure that nobody is left asleep when the steward folds the bed into the ceiling. On some ships the lowest grade of cabin may have upper and lower berths which are not stowable. You will need a ladder in order to get into these berths. Not to be recommended for the elderly, less able or infirm.

Lower Berth – this single bed is either fixed or movable, and is generally found in a twin bed formation. By moving two lower berths together you can have a queen bed. A lower berth can never be folded up into the ceiling. It may have an upper berth above it. If it does, do not sit up too quickly or you may knock yourself out! If you have children, then the first argument of your vacation may well be who has the upper berth. Kids love them, and will fight for the right to sleep in one.

POSH – this stands for Port Out Starboard Home and was originally coined by passengers on P & O ships sailing out to India in the days of the British Empire. Those with money and class would opt for the cabins on the port side when travelling to India as this would be the shady side of the ship – an important feature in the days when cabins were not air conditioned. On the way home they would opt for cabins on the starboard side, which would also be the shadiest and coolest position to be in.

Gosh, there is so much to learn! But you are learning fast……….

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Page added on: 30 August 2007
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