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Cruise Dictionary

To help you make the most of your experience onboard, we've compiled a list of terms and definitions that are commonly used on the ship and during your cruise.


Personal Choice Dining

Princess' unique lineup of dining options, including the only program in the cruise industry that enables passengers to choose between eating at a regular, fixed time each night (Traditional Dining) or eating when, where and with whom they wish each night (Anytime Dining). Other options available with Personal Choice Dining include 24-hour buffet restaurants, a full selection of alternative restaurants, poolside lunches and snacks, patisseries, and 24-hour room service.

Traditional Dining

The main dining room option enabling passengers to dine at a set time each evening at an assigned table.

Anytime Dining

Princess' restaurant-style main dining room option, in which passengers can dine whenever and with whomever they choose.

Alternative Restaurants

In addition to the main dining rooms, Princess offers smaller restaurants which serve an upscale, specialized cuisine, such as Sabatini's Italian trattoria, the Sterling Steakhouse or the New Orleans-themed Bayou Café.

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Enhanced Princess Products


A full land and sea vacation incorporating a cruise with a pre- or post-cruise land journey. Princess offers cruisetours around the world, including Alaska, Australia, China, Canada New/England, Europe and South America.

Cruise Plus

Princess' land package options enabling passengers to have an extended stay in the port where they embark or disembark. Options include hotel stays at top properties and city tours.

Combo Cruise

Two cruises booked back to back, creating a longer vacation. Special savings and/or upgrades are often available for these combinations.

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Transportation Services


A service to transport passengers to and from their ship from the local airport, usually by motorcoach or van.


Princess owns a full fleet of luxury motorcoaches (buses) in Alaska to transport cruisetour passengers.

Midnight Sun Express

Princess' fleet of exclusive Ultra Dome® railcars to transport cruisetour passengers along the Alaska railroad routes to and from the Denali National Park area.


Passengers can conveniently book their air travel with Princess, which has flights available from more than 300 airports. FlightChoice gives passengers extra flexibility by providing flight information approximately 60 days in advance of the cruise, giving them twice as long as most cruise lines to review the schedule and arrange for customization, if needed, through FlightChoice Plus.

FlightChoice Plus

An extra level of air planning that enables passengers to customize their air travel by choosing the flights, airlines and class of travel they prefer. For a minimum of $50, Princess' professional air planners will tailor each passenger's travel plans to their individual needs.

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Port Lingo

Port of Call (Port)

A city or destination where the ship stops, usually for a full day, to give passengers an opportunity to disembark and visit the area attractions.

Shore Excursion

Organized tours designed to make sightseeing easy and convenient for passengers during their time in port. Examples include Glacier Hiking, Horseback Riding, Snorkling and many other exciting adventures.


When the ship cannot pull up directly to the dock, passengers are shuttled to shore via smaller tender boats.


To board the ship.


To leave the ship.

Sea Day vs. Port Day

During a sea day the ship is sailing to its next destination, giving passengers a relaxing day to enjoy all of the amenities of the ship. Port days offer the opportunity to go ashore and explore the highlights of the ports of call.

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Cruise Preparation Terms

Pre-Cruise Docs

Documents sent to booked passengers about 60 days or more in advance of their voyage. These documents include shore excursion information as well as necessary paperwork required before the passenger can board the ship.

Booking Conditions

The legal contract between Princess and the passenger. To read the full Booking Conditions click here.


Medical precautions that may be required based on where the cruise is going. Passengers are advised to check with their doctors regarding any health requirements of the ports they will be visiting.

Princess Vacation Protection

Princess Vacation Protection features medical insurance as well as "cancel for any reason" vacation coverage. Protect your vacation investment in case you need to cancel.


Passenger Immigration Form - these must be filled out before passengers are allowed to board the ship, and include such things as passport, emergency contact and credit card information. This form may also be filled out online using the Cruise Personalizer.

Government Fees and Taxes

Extra charges required by the government that are not included in the cruise fare.

Cruise Personalizer

Princess' online service enabling passengers to fill out their pre-cruise information forms or reserve shore excursions quickly and easily from their computers.

Cabin Category

A rating of each stateroom based on size and location.

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Ship and Destination Related Terms


A group of ships under the same ownership. The Princess fleet offers a variety of vessels, described in more detail in the Ships section of this site.

Starboard Side

A nautical term for the right side of the ship, facing forward.


A nautical term meaning toward the front or bow of the ship.


A nautical term for the left side of the ship, facing forward.


A nautical term meaning toward the rear or stern of the ship.


The levels or floors of the ship. Princess ships feature up to 19 decks.


A passenger's cabin or hotel room.


The sleeping capacity of a stateroom. Most cabins feature two berths, but some are available with third or fourth berths.


The general destination in which the ship is sailing (for example, Alaska, Europe and Mexico are all trades).

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Onboard Crew Terms

Cruise Director

The head of the ship's entertainment department, the Cruise Director oversees all passenger activities, and can be found hosting many of them.

Circle Host

Every ship features a Circle Host to assist Princess Captain's Circle members (past passengers), with their members-only benefits and to host members-only events and activities.

Passenger Services Director

The head of the hotel department, the Passenger Services Director (formerly known as a purser) is responsible for all passenger operations, including accommodations, public rooms and dining services. This job is similar to a general manager of a landside hotel.

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Loyalty/Frequent Cruiser

Princess Captain's Circle

Our past passenger loyalty program, the Princess Captain's Circle, recognizes and rewards passengers for returning to us again and again.

Circle Center

The section of Princess' web site specifically for Princess Captain's Circle Members.

Gold Member

A Princess' Captain's Circle Member who has completed at least one Princess voyage.

Platinum Member

A Princess' Captain's Circle Member who has completed between 5 and 14 cruises, or 50 to 149 cruise days.

Elite Member

A Princess' Captain's Circle Member who has completed 15 cruises or more, or 150 cruise days or more.

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Onboard Information

Smart Casual

The usual onboard dress code, such as one would find at an upscale landside resort. Appropriate attire includes skirts/dresses, slacks, and sweaters or blouses for ladies and pants and open-neck shirts for men. A jacket and tie is optional.


Onboard dress code for specially designated formal nights. Appropriate attire includes evening gowns and cocktail dresses for ladies; and tuxedos, slacks with a dinner jacket, or suits for men.

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