Frommers Cruises Ports of Call 2005
This massive book (691 pages) manages to touch on just about every major cruise ship and port of call that there is in cruising. You get a little taste of everything.
First, you get about 100 pages on the basics of cruising - how to get a good price, what to wear, how a cruise ship works. That will get you started on what a cruise trip is all about.
Next, you get 300 pages on the actual cruise ships. While this seems like a ton of pages, they actually only do 1-2 page reviews of each ship in most cases. In many cases it's a review not just of that ship but of that ship class. For example if Carnival has 4 ships that are similar, you could get one review that covers all 4 ships, with small mentions of things that stand out on a given ship. Since no ship is REALLY identical to other ships, this isn't great.
That being said, I really found the information given here to be FAR more valuable than in similar books. They actually review based on real information from real humans, not just copying from the cruise line's book. They tell you about "ridiculous 108 square feet" cabins. They warn you that on the Promenade deck, you're likely to have joggers running past (and peering in) your windows. They warn you which areas are noisy, they point out which lounges are usually not found by the masses and therefore are perfect places to escape from the noise.
The rest of the book is a quite good write-up of the main port locations. Many people travel in to a port town and consider the port town part of their vacation. This area includes maps of the area, what to see, directions to the docks, and other information.
I was a little put off by the 2005 in the title, implying that you had to buy a new book every year. On one hand you want to get a relatively new set of information - but even with this being "2005" I found errors in pricing. Obviously they can't update every single page in this every year. So it's a trade-off. Again, the book provides good guidelines but should never be taken as absolutely true.
There is obviously no way that one book can cover ALL information on all towns, ships and ports!! Again, this is a sampler. You look through to find out which items appeal to you. Then you should get a full book on that ONE TOPIC. If you're going to Bermuda, don't expect this book to give you the full details. You should get a book on Bermuda.
However, for what this book does, it does it very well. It takes you from the point of not knowing about cruising at all to the point of knowing what your options are and having a top-5 list to persue further. At that point it's time to go to those cruise line websites, to go the forums, and to get some books on specific ports. That will get you the detailed information you need to make your final decision, and to enjoy your cruise!
Buy Frommer's Cruise / Ports 2005 from Amazon
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