Our Guide to the 10 Best Cruise Books and Ports of Call Guides

Buying a cruise book can be a great way to gather helpful information to help you decide on your next cruise or travel adventure. Whether you are looking for Alaska Cruise Books, the Meditteranean or Northern Europe, there are plenty to choose from. Some Cruise Guides are focussed on Ports of Call so you can check out each of the ports you’ll visit during your voyage and plan what to do when you go ashore. Our guide to Shore Excursions may help. Few are actually just books about cruise ships, more about cruising in general.

There are so many great cruise books to choose from, it is sometimes difficult to know which one to buy. Hopefully, the pick of our favourite cruise books and Travel Guides will help you decide.  Another great idea is to check the reviews and ratings on Amazon. The Best Selling Cruise related books on Amazon are shown at the end of this post.

The Best Cruise Books

The Berlitz Guide to Cruising

The Berlitz Cruise Guide in its 28th Edition is one of the most important cruise books available. This best-seller is the cruise industry bible, and one of our favourites. It gives you all the information you need to choose the right cruise for you.

Meticulously updated every year by cruise expert Douglas Ward, it is divided into two main parts: the first helps you work out what you’re looking for in a cruise holiday and how to find it.

The lively text and colour photographs describe every aspect of life on board, including safety, the highs and lows of the cruise experience and how to save money.

Most importantly it includes details of our favourite cruise line including Seabourn, Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and last but not least, Crystal Cruises.

The second part contains unbiased reviews and fascinating details of almost 300 ocean-going cruise ships and grades them on service, food, entertainment and facilities, using an internationally recognised rating system.

Related: Review of the Berlitz Cruise Ships and Cruising.

The Cruise Handbook – by Lonely Planet

Books from the Lonely Planet are always very popular – and this one is no exception. Exploring the frozen Alaskan wilderness; spotting elephants and lions on a Botswana river safari; sailing through the mighty fjords in Scandinavia and New Zealand; island-hopping the Caribbean, rich in colonial plazas and white sand beaches. Cruising has never been more diverse.

This practical and inspiring cruise guide gives you the lowdown on the world of cruising. With essential advice and expert tips on everything from the types of cruises available, where to go and how to book a great deal, to packing and travelling with the family. This ultimate trip-planning tool also features the best destinations for beaches, adventure, culture, chartering and more.

Designed for both first-time cruisers and those looking for inspiration, The Cruise Handbook will help you discover the enormous range of voyages around the world, and help you find and book your perfect cruise. You’ll also discover how to get the most out of each port of call. A fun and interesting read, it’s packed with photos and top tips throughout.

Cruise Confidential

This is another great cruise book. In Cruise Confidential, Brian David Bruns spills the dirt — or in this case, the dirty water — on those romantic, fun-filled vacations at sea. His hilarious chronicle of the year he spent working for Carnival Cruise Lines takes readers down into the areas where the crew works and lives, leaving readers gasping with laughter as they’re assaulted nonstop with events that range from the absurd to the utterly bizarre. Stewards fighting over food, Cutlery allowances onboard and other nonsensical rules.

What the crew calls those onboard (no, it’s not “passengers”). And of course, the sex. An abundance of ready, willing, and able bodies eager for action on a vessel replete with nooks and crannies leads to love in some mighty strange, and seemingly impossible, places. Breezy, entertaining, and informative,Cruise Confidential is essential reading for those planning a cruise or for anyone who just needs a good laugh.

River Cruising

Some of the best cruise books focussed on River Cruising can be found below. If you haven’t tried a river cruise, then you really should do so.  We have mainly cruised on Ocean Cruise Ships, but have tried a few River Cruises just recently.  A completely different experience but we love them.

Related: Crystal River Cruises Review

Berlitz River Cruising in Europe & the USA (Berlitz Cruise Guide)

Another of Douglas Ward’s great cruise books. River Cruising in Europe & the USA A river cruise is undoubtedly the most civilised way to see the best of a region; you can relax in the comfort of a small vessel as you glide through beautiful towns and spectacular scenery. But how do you choose which cruise company, which kind of ship to choose, and where to go?

This new edition of River Cruising in Europe & the USA will tell you everything you need to know about taking a cruise along the rivers and waterways of both Europe and – for the first time – the USA. Written by cruise expert Douglas Ward, the guide gives you unbiased advice on the different kinds of river vessels and the facilities they offer, helping you to make an informed choice. 

Frommer’s EasyGuide to River Cruising

Frommer’s EasyGuide to River Cruising is the first book on the market to cover this wildly popular vacation activity. The book contains opinionated, no-holds-barred reviews of all of the major, and many of the smaller, river cruise lines (including specific reviews of their varying ship classes). These include advice on which boats offer the best value, which is best for luxury seekers, which will do the trick for foodies, which have high tech amenities, and which don’t.

One chapter is only on booking: where can one find discounts, why one should use a travel agent, what’s the timing for reserving your cruise and more. In addition, the book will aid cruisers trying to choose the right river to sail, in chapters that span the globe.


This is a great way to discover those unusual Ports of Call that you will be visiting on your next cruise.  We always try to unlock the secrets of the amazing places we visit. These guides help you to find the golden nuggets that you won’t normally uncover on a regular cruise ship shore excursion. Enjoy of pick of the best. 

Insight-Guides Alaskan Ports of Call

Plan your cruise, plan perfect itineraries and discover how to get around – this pocket-sized guide is a convenient, quick-reference companion to discovering what to do and see on a cruise around Alaska, from top attractions like the Misty Fjords to spotting wildlife in the Kenai Fjords National Park.

Fodor’s Caribbean Cruise Ports of Call

Whether you want to snorkel around one of the colourful coral reefs in Bonaire, explore historic Nelson’s Dockyard on Antigua, or shop ‘til you drop in St. Thomas, the local Fodor’s travel experts in Caribbean cruise ports are here to help! Fodor’s Caribbean Cruise Ports of Call guidebook is packed with maps, carefully curated recommendations, and everything else you need to simplify your trip-planning process and make the most of your time.

This new edition has been FULLY-REDESIGNED with an easy-to-read layout, fresh information, and beautiful color photos.

Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports

This is another great little cruise book for your collection!. Set sail and dive into Europe’s magnificent port cities with Rick Steves Mediterranean Cruise Ports! Inside you’ll find:

Rick’s expert advice on making the most of your time on a cruise and experiencing each city, with thorough coverage of 23 ports of call. Practical travel strategies including how to choose and book your cruise, adjusting to life on board, and saving money. With self-guided walks and tours of each port city so you can hit the best sights, sample local cuisine, and get to know the culture, even with a short amount of time.

Essential logistics including step-by-step instructions for arriving at each terminal, getting into town, and finding necessary services like ATMs and pharmacies
Rick’s reliable tips and candid advice on how to beat the crowds, skip lines and avoid tourist traps


Best Selling Cruise Books

A great source for all your cruise books and travel guides is Amazon where you can find hundreds of fantastic titles to choose from. The best Sellers list always intrigues us but always delivers.

Last update on 2021-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API