BERLITZ Cruising and Cruise Ships GUIDE

If you are passionate about cruising, there is one reference book you must-have. It’s a cruise ship guide called the Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships

This Berlitz Cruise Guide is updated and published annually. Author Douglas Ward has more than 46 years of experience in the cruise business, and he has spent over 6,350 days at sea inspecting ships, looking at everything from the entertainment and activities to food, service, accommodation and the state of the vessels themselves.

The 2020 guide, which is the 35th edition, is the most authoritative and longest-running guide to cruising and cruise ships yet. A 2021 edition is expected to be  be available in January 2022.

In the cruise industry, this is the goto reference book used by all of the top cruise travel agents as their bible. This fantastic book is something we discovered and have personally used as a reference guide for many years.

There is also now a companion guide known as the Berlitz River Cruise Guide which is focussed exclusively on River Cruising in Europe. The Berlitz Guide to River Cruising in Europe & The USA is another must-have bible if you want to compare river cruise lines.


Packed full of facts about the cruise lines and their ships, these are the ideal reference guides if you need facts and figures of cruise companies and their ships. While many of us are familiar with the book’s overall star rating system, the points system on which the stars system originates is just as significant. Twenty critical areas of inspection are given points out of 100, which means the maximum a ship can score is 2000 points.

While there are so many different types of ships offering a myriad of different cruises from small expedition vessels, smaller boutique luxury, mid-sized and large resort-style ships – what the guide aims to survey is the overall experience for the passenger. It doesn’t necessarily mean that just because a cruise ship is the newest in its size category, it will score the highest.


Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or a cruise aficionado, this guide is for you as the cruise industry’s bible and a must-have for those who are serious about cruising. The bottom line is that it is packed full of information, which cannot easily be found elsewhere and can help in finding the best cruise for you.

The guide comprises two main sections. The first helps identify what you are trying to find in a cruise vacation and the best ways to achieve it. The money-saving tips are always worth studying and could save you a ton of money on your next cruise. Part 2 profiles over 310 cruise ships with extreme levels of detail grading them on food, service, entertainment and facilities, using a rating system that is internationally recognised. The book also highlights the top-rated cruise lines.


Having read many of the cruise books available both in hard copy and online, we think this is the most informative publication available and well worth the money. There is simply so much information contained in the book that it is considered the Cruising Bible.

  • 760 pages packed full of information
  • Great tips on how to get the best value from your cruise
  • With Free App and EBook
  • Details of on-board extras to watch out for (read more here)
  • Uncovering secrets that the cruise line brochures don’t show
  • Comparison guides showing the pros and cons of the smaller cruise lines.
  • Details of new cruise ships.
  • Spas and Entertainment expectations on board
  • The star performers in this years’ guide and the top cruise ships in each of the ‘Best of’ classifications.
  • An enhanced FAQ section, resulting from customer feedback.
  • Themed cruises information

Bonus: This book also gives access to a free app and eBook, which contains the same invaluable content as the print edition.

The Good Stuff

  • Details of over 300 cruise ships, one or more pages on each ship
  • Excellent advice for planning your first or next cruise
  • An authoritative guide to all cruise ship statistics
  • Superb analysis/comparison of nine major cruise lines and several smaller cruise companies
  • Scoring system is well explained and helps with cruise planning
  • Includes free app and ebook version

The Not Quite So Good

  • Not all ships are updated each year
  • The book concentrates primarily on cruise ships with information on destinations somewhat limited
  • Different vessels from the same cruise line fleet sometimes have almost identical reviews