Cruise tips: Words and lingo you need to know

If you're one of the thousands of people cruising for the first time this summer, you might find it helpful to learn the lingo before you embark (get onboard). Here's a crash course to have you cruise-ready.

Aft refers to a location or direction – the back section of a ship. The opposite of aft is forward.

Assigned seating applies on ships that have set dining times in their main dining rooms (MDRs). It means you have dinner at the same table and same time every night. "Freestyle" or "anytime" dining is becoming more popular.

Beam is the width of a ship at its widest point.

Berth means where the ship docks in port – and also a bed.

Bridge is the navigational centre of the ship.

Bow is the front or forward section of a ship. (The back is the stern.)

Dry-dock is when ships are taken out of the water for regular maintenance, cleaning and interior repairs. Cruise lines also spend millions giving older ships major makeovers to keep them up to date.

Galley is the ship's kitchen.

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Knot is the measurement of a ship's speed; one nautical mile an hour is equal to one knot. If the ship is cruising at 20 knots, that is 1.5 miles an hour, or 37 kilometres an hour. A nautical mile is 1852 metres.

Lido deck usually means the pool deck – in Italian lido means beach, which is where the word comes from.

Muster station is a specified area on the ship where you gather for the compulsory pre-cruise safety drill.

Port means both the left side of the ship (the right side is starboard) and the port cities you'll visit on your cruise.

Promenade deck is a deck that wraps around the ship, allowing passengers to walk or jog all the way round – not all ships have them.

Stateroom is another word for cabin – it just sounds more posh. Staterooms are inside (no window or porthole), oceanview (with window or porthole) and balcony or veranda (self-explanatory). Suites have separate living and sleeping areas and are the largest and most expensive accommodation on a ship.

Steward is the hard-working man or woman who tidies and cleans your cabin or stateroom, usually twice a day. They often put a cute little towel animal on your bed.

Tender is a small boat used to ferry passengers from ship to shore when the ship is anchored outside a harbour.

SHORE THING

THE PORT Buenos Aires, Argentina

WHO GOES THERE Azamara, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Fred. Olsen, HAL, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC Cruises, NCL, Oceania, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn, Silversea,

WHY WE LOVE IT Sometimes tagged "Paris of the South", BA is a buzzy mix of old-world European architecture and high-powered Latin American flair. It's home to about 3 million portenos (port dwellers), as citizens call themselves, and is Argentina's capital and largest city.

TAKE A TOUR OR GO IT ALONE? Cruise ships sail up the Rio de la Plata and dock at a pier less than a kilometre from the city centre. A half-day guided bus, walking or cycling tour is ideal for first-time visitors to get orientated. Then you can return to a spot that appeals at your leisure – this is not a city to rush around. If time permits, take a full-day tour to Iguazu Falls.

MUST SEE Recoleta Cemetery, whose most famous inhabitant is Eva Peron; the colourful La Boca district; MALBA contemporary art museum; Casa Rosada (the president's residence); the beautifully restored Teatro Colon opera house; Plaza Dorrego, BA's oldest plaza; and, of course, a tango show. These can be a dinner and dance show or at a public milonga venue – there are thousands, so get advice from a local.

MUST EAT Argentinian barbecued meat (asado or parrillada) and steaks are served everywhere – the country is renowned for its beef. Other treats to try include empanadas (stuffed savoury pastries), provoleta (grilled provolone-type cheese), choripan (spicy sausage sangers) and for dessert, anything accompanied by dulce de leche, a thick, creamy caramel sauce.

NEED TO KNOW Many shops are closed on Sundays but bargain-hunters should head for Avenida Cordoba for outlet centres, which are open. The lively San Telmo Market is on Sundays and is the place to go for arts, crafts, leather goods and live music. Museums are closed on Mondays.

ESSENTIALS turismo.buenosaires.gob.ar/en

CRUISE FACT

Florida's Port Miami is the world's busiest cruise port, with 4.9 million passengers going through last year; Sydney recorded 1.3 million.

NEWS

Australian circumnavigation

Circumnavigation cruises around Australia are a rarity, so one that spends more than a month sailing round-trip from Sydney and calls at less travelled Papua New Guinea and exotic Indonesia is special. Seven Seas Mariner's 36-night voyage departs on December 15, 2018, and even though that's just more than a year away, you can be sure the super-luxury 700-passenger ship will book up quickly. New Year's Eve will be celebrated with an exclusive party in Bali and in every port there are free shore excursions. Also covered in all fares are a night's pre-cruise accommodation, unlimited soft and alcoholic drinks, prepaid gratuities, unlimited laundry and free Wi-Fi. Itinerary highlights include two days in Cairns, two days in Melbourne, and extended day calls to Fremantle, Esperance, Kangaroo Island and Tasmania's Burnie. See rssc.com

New Fiji discovery cruises

Captain Cook's seven-night Four Cultures Discovery Cruise is the first Fiji cruise to circumnavigate Vanua Levu, the country's second largest island. Passengers will discover four distinctive Fijian cultures: Ellice Islanders (Polynesians), Banabans (Micronesians), Fijians (Melanesians) and Indians. Villagers in traditional tribal costumes on Kioa and Rabi islands will bring their stories to life in song and dance, while a morning in Labasa Town includes a visit to a Hindu snake temple and entertainment by a Bollywood-style dance troupe. Along with a safari down the Dreketi River and visiting a primary school in remote Druadrua Island, every day offers the chance to snorkel, dive and kayak at beautiful bays and coral reefs. There are limited departures in 2018 and 2019. See captaincookcruisesfiji.com

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