What Is The Front Of A Ship Called?


In this post is going to look at What Is The Front Of A Ship Called and why? Cruise ships are huge these days, it so easy to get lost until you get your bearings. Thus it’s helpful to understand cruise terminology and some basic nautical terms to help you get around the ship.

How many times have you been on a ship when the captain announces over to tannoy there are dolphins on the starboard side at the bow? I have to rely on the flow of people to get me to the right destination. And if you are a crossword fan, “what is the front of the ship?” is a common question.

Or when the captain announces free cocktails on the top lounge at the bow? I mean considering factors like this its an important to remember where the front and back are on a cruise ship. Yes life would be easier if the captain said front and back, but they use nautical terms and its us who needs to adapt to that. It’s also important to be able to remember port and starboard.

What is the front of a ship called

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What Is The Front Of A Ship Called

The front of a ship, in our case cruise ship is called the Bow, otherwise known as the forward of the ship, this is the very front part of a cruise ship or the most forward point. The bow is almost pointed in design, thus cuts through the water to create a streamline passage through.

Why Is The Front Of The Ship Called The Bow?

It is thought the front of ships got the name bow as in Medieval ships the planks used to build the ship had to be bent or bow shaped to ensure the ships would slice through the water easier.

Teens outdoor area on Disney Cruise Line, the front of a cruise ship

Ways To Remember Bow And Stern On A Ship?

How To Remember The Bow

  • If you were pulling a bow and arrow you would shoot forwards, so bow is forwards.
  • Forwards, going forward has to be the front right.
  • Also when shooting a bow, you are leaning forwards.
  • Remember the rhyme Billy Bow stands at the front. (That ones for the kiddies)
Water slides on Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas

And How To Remember The Stern Is At The Back Of A Ship?

  • I used to tell my kids to remember; Stern Stand stands and the back, that seemed to work!
  • Whilst the aft sounds like after, which is always behind the front. So aft, at the back.
Back of Icon of the Seas Royal CAribbeans New Ship

In conclusion, there is a lot of cruise jargon, some easier to understand than others. However it’s worth getting know cruise terms if you are planning on booking a cruise. It really does help you to navigate cruise life more successfully if you have an idea what’s going on around you.


  • Sarah Christie

    Sarah also writes for Mini Travellers Family Travel Blog and Extraordinary Chaos Craft and Lifestyle Blog. Both are award-winning blogs with a travel and family focus. She is married and has two boys, aged 18 and 22, who all love cruising as a family. Nothing is better than waking up every day in a new port with new and exciting things to explore. She aims to share how cruising as a family with young adults is the perfect choice for family travel. Her boys are sporty and love the activities, sports and dining options cruising offers. Sarah has worked with brands such as Walt Disney World, Mark Warner, Ikos Resort, Center Parcs, Laura Ashley, Belling and Next.

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