• Cheers to 25 years: Celebrate with Us!
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More
You may also like
Dismiss
Loire River Cruise Tips
What Is a Cruise Ship Pier?
Carnival Conquest in Cozumel (Photo: Cruise Critic)

What Is a Cruise Ship Pier?

What Is a Cruise Ship Pier?
Carnival Conquest in Cozumel (Photo: Cruise Critic)
Melinda Crow
Contributor
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter

A cruise ship pier is a structure in a port designed for docking to allow passengers on and off the ship, and/or for the ship to restock its provisions. Some ports have multiple piers and some piers are long enough to accommodate more than one cruise ship. The specific spot at the pier where a ship is parked, or moored, is its berth.

Modern cruise piers are made of steel and concrete and are generally wide enough for service vehicles and pedestrians to traverse safely. The pier will have steel mushroom-shaped bollards for the ship's mooring lines to be looped around to hold the ship snug against the rubber bumpers of the pier. During docking, the captain or pilot will utilize the ship's side thrusters to gently park the ship next to the pier while the port crew and the ship's crew work together to tie the lines on the bollards.

Piers may extend out into the water or be built along the shore of the port. In some ports, the pier may be shorter than large cruise ships, but have additional mooring points permanently placed beyond the end of the pier to accommodate these large ships. "Dolphin" is the proper nautical name for these unattached mooring points.

Featured Videos

Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship

Best Spots For Adults On A Disney Cruise Ship

The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021

The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021

5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie

5 Crazy Cruise Deck Attractions For the Adrenaline Junkie

Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day

Cruise Embarkation Tips: What NOT To Do On Your First Day

Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?

Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?

Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)

Cruise Critic Tries The Ultimate Abyss Slide On Harmony Of The Seas (POV Video)

Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months

Here's What It's Like Onboard the First Large Cruise Ship to Alaska in 21 Months

Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?

Inside Cabins On Cruise Ships: Whose Is Best?

Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog

Freedom of the Seas: What's It Like Onboard a Test Cruise? (Cruise Critic & Royal Caribbean Blog

The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021

The Most Exciting New Ships In 2021

In some ports, passengers walk directly on the pier between the ship's gangway and a terminal building or port entry gate. In busier ports, particularly for embarkation and disembarkation purposes, passengers enter and exit the ship via a raised skybridge above the pier itself.

Updated January 08, 2020

How was this article?

Featured News

1
Carnival Cruise Line Drops Key West, Grand Turk From Upcoming Itineraries
5
Crystal Cruises News: Miami Added to Bahamas Cruises, Unvaccinated Passengers Can Now Sail
Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.