CRUISER (from cruise, front Dutch krui.sea, to cruise, to cross, from krais, Gl1G. craci, Ger. krcuze, AS. eerie, Engl. cross. from Lat.. crux. cross). A built for cruising. The principal features of a cruiser are: (1) Sea worthiness; (2) ability to keep at sea for long periods (this requires large capacity for coal and stores, and habitability) : (3) speed: (4) offensive and defensive powers. Cruisers are of many kind, but they may be divided into three general classes—armored erniser.s,protected cruis ers, and unprotected cruisers. The dividing line between the classes is not very distinct, as some cruisers partake of the character of two classes. Armored cruisers carry armor for the protection of the ship, or battery, which is applied verti cally, or nearly ski. Protected cruisers have no vertical armor. but the vitals are protected by a thick steel deck, which is nearly horizontal. placed about the level of the surfaee of the water• but having the edges of the deck near the ship's sides inclined downward. so as to meet the side several feet below water. This part of the clod:
(the slope) is thicker than the middle part, called the flat. Unprotcetcd cruisers have no Protective deck. Some of them have a %valet. tight deck in the same region, but of insuilicUmt thickness to admit of styling it a protect irc deck. Cruisers are frequently divided into first-class ernisers, second-class cruisers, etc. These dis tinctions are purely arbitrary, and differ in the various navies. In the United States Navy small cruisers are called gunboats. This is a turin properly applicable to craft so small as to approximate to large boats. In the British Navy the terms 'gunboat' and 'gull-vessel' are used almost as loosely. In addition to the regular cruisers, a most important addition to the naval force in time of war is found in fast merchant steamers, which are frequently armed as auxili ary cruisers, and used as ocean scouts, or fleet scouts: in the former ease. they are bound on distant missions; in the latter, they accompany the fleet.