The Cruise Ship Phenomenon in North America

If you are a cruiser, this is definitely a book for you to buy or at least borrow from your library. It has EVERYTHING you could ever want to know about cruising history.

First, to be clear, this is NOT a review of which cruise ships have pools and which have nice restaurants. Instead, this book talks about the history of cruising, and gives you background on the various cruise ships in operation. You learn really cool stories about how the cruise ship lines formed, and hear stories about individual ships and what has happened to them over the years.

The book is hard cover and HUGE. It's about 360 pages of dense information. I had a real blast reading it. There's a story about the Norwegian Majesty, about how it was running on GPS autopilot in 1995 heading back from Bermuda to Boston. The crew figured it was OK and didn't bother to look out the window at all. The next thing they knew, the ship was grounded on a shoal near Nantucket.

The book has a giant appendix full of histories of all the ships. It is really fascinating to learn how frequently ships are traded from line to line, and just what they were originally built for. Some cruise ships began their lives as car ferries, and then were rearranged to handle passengers.

If there's any detraction, it's that the author seems a little fascinated with the type of funnel (smokestack) on the ships and the type of propulsion system :) But hey, we all have our little quirks. If that's what he enjoys, that's fine with me! I might have liked a little more detail about what the ships were like inside, but you can get that from plenty of other sources. As far as base history of the ships that we love, there really is no other book that comes anywhere close to this one.

Well recommended!

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