A Short Guide to The Basic Anatomy of a Cruise Ship


vessel partsCruising has become a major part of the tourism industry, accounting for approximately $29.4 billion and over 19 million passengers carried in 2011 alone. Although cruise ships may seem like just another boat, their construction is actually quite different from their ocean liner relatives.

Cruise vessel parts are many and complex, but whether you’re just starting out in the industry or a seasoned sailor, it’s important to know the basic parts of vessels and their anatomy. If you need a refresher or simply want to learn more, here’s a basic guide to cruise ship anatomy.

Centerpiece of the Ship
The centerpiece of a contemporary cruise ship operating on the ocean today is the elevator that runs through the highest traffic areas of its many floors, usually as part of a central atrium. These elevators are typically decked out as a prime photo op for many passengers. While the majority of these elevators are built inside of glass tubes to allow those photo ops, several advances in safe elevator construction that have allowed for the creation of a dynamic lift that brings people to the next floor in style. A wide array of lights, brushed and etched glass, and smoother trips are the most common traits of a contemporary cruise elevator.

Promenade and Activity Decks
The promenade and activity decks are the areas of the ship that are open to all passengers on the vessel. They include pools, nightclubs, rail-side walking or running areas, lounges, on-board shops, dining areas, and restaurants. Passengers and crew on one cruise ship consume an average of 20,000 pounds of beef, 28,000 eggs, and as much as 8,000 gallons of ice cream in a single week. The rate of consumption means these decks are constantly stocked with food and merchandise for passengers.

Emergency Equipment
In case of an emergency, several measures are taken protect passengers and staff. Integrated fire extinguisher systems will address fire anywhere on the ship, and defibrillator units are on board per maritime law in case a passenger suffers from heart failure. In addition, maritime safety standards require that all passengers aboard the ship have the ability to escape in the case of an emergency from which the ship cannot recover. Modern escape cruise vessel parts and equipment are similar to submarines in that they can protect passengers from the elements.

Second to emergency equipment, these are the most important cruise vessel parts. The specialized parts and equipment in these engines is what allows for smooth sailing on a large cruise ship. The lowest decks of the cruise ship contain the engines that propel the boat, and are used at different strengths depending on the ship’s itinerary and the roll, pitch, and yaw of the water that it sails through.

Modern cruise ships, while sacrificing some qualities of seaworthiness, have added various amenities in addition to new and improved engine parts. While they’re a great spot for vacations, they’re also technological marvels worthy of praise and study.