Understanding the Different Decks on Cruise Ships and Their Functions

Decks on Cruise Ships: Knowing the typical decks of cruise ships and what’s on them is helpful, regardless of how experienced you are with cruises.

To make the most of your trip, prepare to confidently navigate your next cruise ship and explore the distinctive amenities of each deck.

What are the Types of Decks on Cruise Ships?

There are many different types of decks on cruise ships, and each is intended for a certain purpose.

Some of the decks that are most commonly seen are listed below:

  1. Bridge deck
  2. Crew deck
  3. Landing deck
  4. Lido deck
  5. Main deck
  6. Promenade deck
  7. Sky Deck
  8. Sports deck
  9. Sun deck
  10. Upper deck
  11. Weather deck

These are the most typical deck names you’ll find on the majority of cruise ships worldwide, along with a few more we’ll discuss.

Layout of the Deck

It’s normal to feel a little taken aback by the enormity and intricacy of a cruise ship when you first board.

Nevertheless, if you understand the general concept, traveling the decks can be rather easy. Typically, cruise ships have several decks, or floors, each of which has a distinct function to improve your holiday.

While certain decks are set aside for dining, entertainment, and leisure activities, others are used for guest accommodations.

Once you become acquainted with the layout of the ship, navigating and locating the various amenities will become considerably easier.

Relevance of Deck Names

Deck names on cruise ships are frequently symbolic and might provide insight into the intended use of the deck.

For instance, the Sun Deck on a cruise ship is often the uppermost deck and offers plenty of area for sunbathing and taking in the expansive views of the ocean.

Furthermore, the Lido Deck—which usually has a pool, hot tubs, and adjacent restaurants—is a well-liked meeting spot.

In addition, there may be a Sports Deck or an Activities Deck with a variety of recreational options like basketball, rock climbing, and mini-golf.

You may also encounter the Main Deck or the Promenade Deck while exploring the ship. Located in the center of the ship, these decks can house retail stores, restaurants, and even entertainment spaces like theaters.

The ship’s navigation center, where the captain and crew make all of the big decisions, is located on the Bridge Deck.

Gaining an appreciation for the significance of deck names can enhance your cruise experience by making it simpler to find and discover the various sections of your floating holiday house.

Deck Types on Cruise Ships

You should be aware of the following common decks of cruise ships that you may visit.

Every deck has its own special features and amenities to suit various requirements and tastes.

Lido Deck

Lido deck on a cruise ship, what is a lido deck, what can you do on a lido deck
(Credit: Cruise Blog)

On November 21, 2015, the Carnival Breeze moored in Miami, Florida, with its poolside area. In June 2012, Carnival Cruises launched The Breeze, a Dream-class cruise ship, into service.
A cruise ship’s Lido deck is frequently referred to as its heart. The majority of outdoor activities usually occur on the uppermost open deck.

This vibrant deck features bars, hot tubs, water slides, swimming pools, and outdoor eateries. The Lido deck is a great place to unwind, sunbathe, and enjoy a cool beverage.

Although it’s colloquially referred to as the “pool deck,” the term “Lido” has a longer history. Its birthplace is the Lido di Venezia neighborhood in Venice, Italy.

The name of this area comes from the Latin word litus, which means “shore.” Passengers can enjoy drinks, sunbathe next to pools, and eat from a variety of outdoor restaurants on the Lido Deck.

There are also adjacent restrooms and showers as amenities.

The term “lido” basically refers to an outdoor swimming pool, which is a great way to describe the atmosphere of this cruise ship deck.

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Promenade Deck

The Promenade deck is a well-liked location for strolls. Typically, this deck has a walking path that around it and provides amazing views of the ocean.

This deck is a favorite spot for many people, including folks who love people watching or simply soaking in the grandeur of the ocean, runners who clock kilometers with designated distances for ease, and walkers who take leisurely strolls and enjoy the sea breeze.

Additionally, the deck’s circumference is lined with dining and entertainment establishments, including bars, restaurants, and stores.

Furthermore, the ship’s lifeboats are frequently visible hanging along the Promenade Deck’s sides.

The word “promenade” originates from the concept of a walk, which is frequently connected to waterfront promenades. But not all cruise ships have these decks, and the ones that do tend to differ greatly in terms of layout and accessibility.

Sports Deck

Golf on cruise ship
(Credit: Cruise118)

Go to the Sports Deck if you’re seeking for active activities to do while on your cruise.

This deck has a variety of sporting amenities, including jogging routes, mini-golf courses, and basketball courts. On their sports decks, some ships also feature ice skating rinks and rock climbing walls.

There is something for everyone to do, from the traditional basketball and tennis courts to more specialist attractions like rock climbing walls and surfing equipment.

The raised location of the deck has many uses than just practicality. In addition, it provides riders with amazing 360-degree vistas, which improves their athletic experience.

Some ships have thrilling waterslides that start and end on the Sports Deck, however the splashy exits occur on lower decks.

The Sports Deck, which offers a variety of athletic activities against the expansive backdrop of the ocean, is essentially the ship’s vibrant center.

Sun Deck

Lido Deck
(Credit: Cruise Hive)

For those who wish to laze in the sun and take in the crisp sea air, the Sun Deck is the perfect spot.

Situated at the pinnacle of a cruise ship, the Sun Deck offers guests a tranquil haven.

Typically, this deck has cozy lounge seats that beckon you to relax and lose yourself in a good book, play music, or take a nap.

relaxing, sunbathing, and admiring the expansive, unbroken horizon views. The term “Sun Deck” is pretty appropriate given its function—it’s the preferred location for people looking to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

This balcony offers a peaceful setting for lounging in the sun or immersing yourself in a compelling book.

While many Sun Decks feature opulent features like hot tubs and pools, others take a more understated approach, adding nothing but deck chairs and loungers.

Nevertheless, despite all of its conveniences, guests’ favorite pastime is still enjoying a beverage while taking in the stunning display of colors at dawn or dusk.

Bridge Deck

The ship’s navigational equipment and command center are situated on this deck.

Here, the ship’s captain and crew navigate the vessel with the aid of cutting-edge instruments and controls. Situated near the bow of the ship, the bridge is normally off-limits to passengers due to its crucial role.

On certain cruises, however, devotees may be able to meet the cops in charge and get a unique behind-the-scenes peek through special tours.

It’s interesting to note that not everyone uses the phrase “Bridge Deck.” The critical bridge is located at the forward section of this deck, while the remaining area typically houses standard cabins and facilities.

The traditional significance of the deck accounts for its dual functioning.

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In the past, elevated platforms aboard ships that resembled bridges allowed the captain to see more clearly. These “bridges” evolved into vital observation posts from which captains could direct and advise their crew while having a clear picture of their surroundings.

Although much of the Bridge Deck’s length is identical to other deck locations, its expansive views pay homage to these antiquated maritime customs.

Nevertheless, its core continues to be the ship’s guiding heartbeat, frequently shrouded in secrecy but vital to every journey.

Main Deck

Royal Caribbean
(Credit: Royal Caribbean Cruises)

The Main Deck is a crucial component of every cruise ship, stretching from the bow, which is located closer to the waterline, to the stern, which is the ship’s tail.

Its purpose, though, is flexible and may change according on the cruise line’s goals and design.

Cabins are located mostly on the Main Deck of many ships, giving passengers a private portion of the ocean voyage. However, its wide range of applications makes it possible.

Some cruise lines convert portions of this deck into vibrant social areas rather than merely rooms. Here, one may witness the majesty of an atrium, or one could witness people interacting in dining establishments, enjoying cocktails in bars, or losing themselves in theater productions.

It might also act as a central location for guest services, with the ship’s main lobby or reception available to answer any questions from travelers.

In summary, the Main Deck may seem to have a set purpose, but in reality, it serves a flexible purpose that varies according on the cruise line’s goals and the waterways the ship travels through.

Upper Deck

The phrase “upper deck” frequently conjures up images of the highest point of a ship, which extends smoothly from the bow in front to the stern in rear. However, when discussing cruise ships nowadays, the term “upper decks” frequently refers to more than just one deck—rather, it refers to all of the higher levels, particularly concerning the ship’s lower floors.

The majority of cruise ships’ outdoor leisure and entertainment areas are located on these spacious decks, which offer expansive views of the horizon.

These are the places to go when you want to enjoy sparkling pools, cozy hot tubs, and sun-filled sunbathing spaces. Many visitors get their first taste of the classic cruise experience here, where they may enjoy the wide open sea while tanning or swimming.

In terms of history, the phrase “upper deck” has more meaning. This lofty area used to be a highly sought-after area aboard sail-powered ships, normally only accessible by the ship’s officers, dignitaries, and other distinguished visitors.

On the other hand, the workers and passengers from lower socioeconomic classes were sent to the lower decks, which were frequently more claustrophobic and uncomfortable. However, things have changed.

The term “upper deck” no longer refers to socioeconomic classes. Rather, it indicates where specific facilities or cabins are located on the ship.

Today, the majority of the Main and Upper Decks are used for passenger accommodations, offering a variety of sizes and types of cabins and suites.

These decks may also have social amenities like lounges, libraries, or tiny eateries in addition to the staterooms.

Crew Deck

The Crew Deck is primarily off-limits to passengers and is intended for ship employees.

This deck provides nice living quarters for individuals who maintain the ship operating efficiently. It also houses crew cabins, dining places, and recreational facilities.

Because it’s off-limits, you frequently won’t even see this deck on the “map.” Staff accommodations will include cabins, common areas, storage, and other backstage operations.

Poop Deck

What Is a Poop Deck
(Credit: Emma Cruise)

Although poop decks are not a feature of modern cruise ships, the name frequently sparks interest. It has nothing to do with excrement, despite the name’s implied connection.

In the past, a platform above the main deck at the rear of the ship was referred to as the “poop deck.” It served primarily as an observation and navigational vantage point for officers.

Regarding its unusual name, there is significant disagreement. Some claim its roots are in the French phrase “la poupe,” which refers to the stern of the ship. Another explanation links it to the Latin word “puppis,” which similarly denotes a ship’s stern. A less serious (but unverified) version contends that the deck’s location at the back of the ship helped the breeze carry away any bad smells from waste, or “poop.”

Even though there isn’t a designated “poop deck” on contemporary cruise ships, the term nevertheless occasionally comes up in conversation, lending a little bit of maritime history.

In essence, the term “poop deck” describes the raised area near a ship’s stern that frequently offers breathtaking vistas. And don’t worry, its name has nothing to do with how “poop” is used in modern English slang.

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Bow decks

The decks at a cruise ship’s front are referred to as bow decks. These locations frequently have important amenities like the ship’s bridge as well as breathtaking vistas.

For example, the bridge deck contains the navigation and command systems, which makes it an essential part of the ship’s operation.

Having access to the bow can enhance your cruise experience because you’ll be able to enjoy the sea wind and see the ship cutting through the waves.

Just be aware of the potential risks associated with walking these decks, such as the possibility of getting soaked from sea spray and harsher winds.

Midship Decks

Midship Decks are located in the middle of a cruise ship and offer a variety of amenities and common areas to meet the needs and preferences of guests.

The Promenade Deck is a must-see deck that is ideal for strolls in the fresh air and is home to several stores, eateries, and entertainment venues.

Similarly, the Lido Deck, which has lounge places ideal for basking in the sun and an outdoor swimming pool, is a favorite spot for cruisers.

The majority of activities take place on the midship decks, whether you’re looking for entertainment or peace.

Stern Decks

The cruise ship’s stern decks, which are located at the back, provide breathtaking views of the wake as it sails across the seas.

The Sun Deck is one deck worth mentioning since it’s mainly used for sunbathing and taking in the expansive views.

You can unwind on a deck chair and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the sea. Usually consisting of several levels, stern decks also reach the aft balcony cabins, where you can take in the views in privacy from your stateroom.

These decks are a vital component of your cruise experience since they allow you to witness breathtaking sunsets and sunrises.

Do The Deck Names on Cruise Ships Remain the Same?

Celebrity Ascent deck
(Credit: United Cruise)

If you’ve taken several cruises, you’ve probably noticed that each cruise ship has a “Lido deck.” And if you’re anything like me, you’ve stopped to consider whether or not all cruise ships have the same number of decks.

If you’ve taken a few cruises, you could initially conclude, “Yes, they all seem to have similar names,” and you would be somewhat correct.

But not every cruise ship has the same name for its deck.

On numerous ships and cruise lines, several deck names have gained popularity.

On a variety of ships, you may see deck names like Lido Deck, Promenade Deck, or Sun Deck, which are like old friends. They make passengers feel at ease and are friendly and familiar.

But this is when the waves start to chop a little more. Every cruise line frequently gives its ships a unique flair and personality.

Consider them artists, and their ships as works of art.

Even if two artists use the same blue paint, one may create a stormy night sky and the other a serene ocean.

Comparably, although some cruise companies may refer to it as the Bridge Deck, others may call it the Navigator’s Deck or use another creative moniker.

If you were to take a Disney cruise, for instance, you may see deck titles that have a hint of magic.

Their names, Magic Deck or Wonder Deck, speak to the whimsical and magical nature of the brand. Another cruise line might, in the meantime, designate a deck as the Diamond Lounge or Gold Tier to conjure images of grandeur and elegance.

Dedicated to navigating the frigid waters of Antarctica, an expedition ship may feature decks bearing the names of renowned explorers or polar phenomena.

Conversely, a ship designed for a tropical adventure could have names derived from beaches, islands, or sunny paradises.

Which Cruise Ship Deck Is the Highest?

The sun deck is usually the highest deck on a cruise ship.

From this vantage point, travelers can take in the ocean’s majesty from every direction thanks to its expansive, unbroken views.

Though it might be the highest deck on a cruise ship, it’s important to remember that it’s not always the highest point. The ship’s funnel or mast, among other structural components, may climb even higher into the blue beyond.

As the name implies, sunbathing and recreational activities are common uses for this area. There are no hard and fast rules, though, much like in many other aspects of the cruise industry.

This deck may have a different name or function differently depending on the cruise line or even the particular ship in a fleet.

What Is The Average Number of Decks on a Cruise Ship?

There are many different sizes of cruise ships, and each has a unique architectural design. A typical cruise ship typically has between ten and fifteen decks.

There are titans in the cruise industry, nevertheless, who defy this stereotype.

Consider Royal Caribbean’s “Wonder of the Seas,” a colossal vessel with an astounding 22 decks that looms over the ocean.

The layout and quantity of decks are deliberate choices. They are intimately related to the purpose of the ship and the waters it navigates.

Compared to ocean-going cruises, river cruises usually have fewer decks because of their smaller spaces and calmer waterways. This has to do with both practicality and the unique experience that each kind of cruise seeks to provide.

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