For more than a quarter of a century (28 years to be exact), Douglas Ward has been sharing his knowledge about cruise travel and cruise ships with readers in Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships. The 2013 edition, now available in bookstores and on Amazon.com (the link provided above), continues the tradition of being known as "the cruise industry Bible" for its detailed description of 285 ocean-going cruise vessels.
Ward has spent over 5,800 days at sea, beginning when he worked for Cunard Line, and has taken over 1,020 cruises and completed 157 transatlantic crossings. However, his isn't the usual cruise experience. Cruise Diva has traveled on several sailings where Ward was busy at work and he seldom relaxes. His sharp eye catches nearly every detail, like accessibility for the disabled, the softness of towels and linens, the temperature of the buffet food, and even the proper height of toilets for comfort.
The Berlitz guidebook is divided into three sections. The first combines Ward's authoritative text with color photographs to illustrate the cruise experience and help readers make their desicions about what style of cruise, cruise line, and ship size is most appealing for them. The second section contains reviews of every major cruise ship, from the smallest yacht-like vessels to the world's largest, from ships for budget minded travelers to the most luxurious and expensive. Details include specifications on size, number of cabins, passengers, and crewmembers, as well as an overview of what features to expect on board. Section three shares practical information on subjects such as booking, costs and budgeting, on board etiquette, and travel insurace, plus a listing of where to find the cruise lines on the Internet.
If you want to take your cruise research with you in digital form on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, the Berlitz Cruise Ships 2013 app is available to download from the iTunes App Store.
With holiday gift-giving just around the corner, either the guidebook or app would put a smile on any avid cruise traveler's face.