“What time does the boat leave?”
It was a simple enough question but in an instant I knew I’d said something wrong. There was a flicker across a face or two, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
It’s the sort of thing that might slip by unnoticed in most conversations but as I was at a cruise industry event someone was kind enough to take me aside and explain that the huge floating vessel that I was referring to was a ship and not a boat.
“The easy way to remember,” She whispered, “Is that a boat can fit on a ship but a ship can’t fit on a boat.”
While growing up with the Love Boat isn’t an excuse for my confusion, singing along to the opening titles while looking at images of a cruise ship couldn’t have helped.
As easy as the which one can fit on the other one rule of thumb is to remember, I’ve discovered there are some other factors at play with the definitions.
Ben Angell, a senior executive with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Asia Pacific, says another key difference between the two is where they can sail.
“Ships are able to sail the sea, while boats are more restricted and usually only go out in areas near the coastline or inland, such as lakes.” Angell explains.
“Other key differences include mode of propulsion, structure and cargo, crew, passenger capacity, navigation technology and a ship’s need for a captain.”
As someone who wanted to pursue a career at sea, Captain Rosario Giovanni Vasta, Master, Seven Seas Explorer says taking command of a ship was one of his greatest achievements.
“Only a ship can deliver the variety and scale of services, accommodations and amenities that cannot fit on a boat. However, my ship carries multiple boats as a way to get ashore, when we cannot dock, and for the unlikely event of an emergency.”
But what happens when we start talking about river cruises?
Fiona Dalton, the Managing Director of Uniworld Australia, says no.
“Technically we call our vessels ‘ships’, as a boat is defined as a vessel small enough to be lifted out of the water, or small enough to be placed onto a ship. Additionally our river ships carry all the amenities of a floating boutique ship on the ocean or hotel on the land.”….
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