Buying a travel guide can be a great way to gather the information you need to choose a cruise or to plan what you’ll do in each of the ports of call that you’ll visit during your voyage.
Take a look at this list of cruise travel books and cruise port guides for links to the very best cruise guide books.
The best cruise travel guides
A general cruise travel book can be a great way to get an introduction to cruising.
Some of these cruise travel guides are written especially for certain kinds of cruisers, such as families or wheelchair users so you can choose the cruise travel books that are most relevant to you.
This Berlitz guide has two main parts. The first helps you to work out what you’re looking for in a cruise holiday and how to find it. It’s full of colourful photos which help to describe every aspect of the cruise experience.
The second part of the book has reviews of almost 300 cruise ships, grading them on service, food, entertainment and facilities. The guide is known as the ‘cruise industry bible’ and is updated every year with all the latest information.
When planning a cruise with children you’ll have a few extra things to think about and this guide to cruising with kids can help make choosing a cruise that bit easier.
The author has spent over 170 nights at sea, including at least 100 nights with kids and this book has 4 and a half stars on Amazon.
If you use a wheelchair then this guide to wheelchair accessible cruising will be incredibly valuable. This subject isn’t covered too much online and sometimes even the most helpful travel agents don’t have all the answers to hand.
The author has been on over 20 cruises, most of them with a wheelchair so is ideally qualified to advise on everything you need to know to find the best cruise and make the most of your time at sea.
If you’re thinking of taking your first Disney cruise, then this book will be super helpful. It includes lots of cruise tips that are specific to Disney Cruise Line and is updated each year with the latest information.
You’ll also find lots of info about DCL’s ports of call, including Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. Plus coverage of the Disney-run river cruises in Europe,
Carnival is one of the world’s largest cruise lines and a popular choice for American families. This book is packed full of cruise dos and don’ts that are specific to families cruising with Carnival.
You can get a free audiobook of Carnival Cruise Tips for Families when you sign up for a 30-day free trial of Audible.
Suggested read: The Best Books to Take on a Cruise
The best cruise port guides
If you’ve cruised before, then sometimes it’s not so much the knowledge of cruise ships that you’d benefit from, but what to do in each of the ports when you arrive.
It’s always a good idea to have a plan of action for when you step off your ship, and these cruise port guides will help you plan your time ashore so as not to miss any of the highlights.
This is a great generic cruise port guide that covers everything you need to know about heading ashore on a cruise.
Whether you like to use the ship’s excursions or explore independently, this book is really useful. It’s packed full of hints, tips and advice to help you plan all your onshore adventures to a tee.
Fodor’s Travel Guides are always packed full of bright and colourful images and this guide to cruise ports in the Caribbean is no exception.
You’ll also find lots of handy maps and recommendations for things to see and do in each port.
Rick Steves is a bestselling author of European travel guides and this guide to cruising the Mediterranean offers expert advice about 23 different ports of call.
The book includes handy step-by-step instructions for how to get from the cruise terminals into town as well as some ideas for self-guided walks of each port city.
If you’re planning a cruise to Alaska, then the best cruise travel guide is this one from Fodor’s Travel.
The guide is written by Alaska locals so it has lots of insider tips about how to make the most of your visit, as well as detailed maps covering more than 20 different ports.
Those planning a cruise to Northern Europe including the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Latvia and Russia will certainly benefit from this port guide by Rick Steves.
Inside, you’ll get full coverage of 18 ports of call with self-guided walks to do and full-colour detailed maps.
The best river cruise guide books
River cruising and ocean cruising have as many differences as they have similarities, so it’s good to do your research before you take your first river cruise. The recommended river cruise travel books will help you to do just that.
If you’re looking to try your first river cruise, then this Berlitz guide will be incredibly useful.
Written by cruise expert Douglas Ward, it offers unbiased advice about the different rivers and the differences between the various types of river cruise vessels. There are also detailed listings of over 300 river ships and some great full-colour maps.
River cruises often come with excursions included which makes them a really easy way to explore Europe. Still, with a choice of excursions available, you’ll likely find this book really handy if you need to decide which ones to do!
Lonely Planet is the world’s number one travel guide publisher and this book is of the high standards you’d expect, with fantastic maps, itineraries, tips and reviews of ports along the Rhine Danube and more.
Investing in a cruise travel book can be a great way to plan your cruise, particularly for those people who stare at a screen all day and prefer to curl up with a book in the evening.
A great way to learn more about what cruising is like on different ships, which is the best for you, and how to book your cruise for cheaper is to watch a video series.
I highly recommend this one: How to Cruise for Less.