The 7 best non-fiction books about cruising (2020)

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Whether you’re missing cruising or want to buy a book to read on your next cruise, this list has some great non-fiction reads.

Some of the non-fiction books about cruising uncover the things that staff see behind the scenes on cruise ships, while others are tales from ordinary cruise ship passengers who’ve experienced some extraordinary things at sea.

If you prefer murder-mystery, thriller and romance novels, you should also take a look at my list of the best fiction books about cruises. I also have a list of the best cruise travel guides.

All the books that have made this list have at least 3 and a half stars on Amazon (apart from any that haven’t been released yet). So, have a look at the list, then order your favourite in paperback or to read in the Jacuzzi on your waterproof kindle.

Some of these books are also available as audiobooks which you can download for free when you take a free 30-day trial of Amazon Audible.

1. The Joy of Cruising

Award-winning author Paul C. Thornton has profiled cruisers from all over the world in this fascinating insight into what it is that makes cruising so special, and so addictive!

This compendium of cruise stories, anecdotes and profiles has all five-star reviews and is a must-read for anyone who loves to cruise.

If you enjoy reading the Joy of Cruising then you’ll be pleased to know that a sequel is in due to be released around the end of 2020. The second book is to be called ‘Cruising Interrupted’ and will feature myself, alongside some other cruise bloggers.

2. Displacement

In this graphic travelogue, twenty-something cartoonist, Lucy Knisley, is recruited to assist her elderly grandparents as they take a Caribbean cruise. The vacation turns into a voyage of discovery for Lucy as she celebrates her grandparents’ lives and grapples with her own mortality.

This book manages to achieve an impressive balance between humour and poignancy, with sunny sarcasm and heart-wrenching memoirs.

3. Thriving In Quarantine

This book tells the real-life tale of a family’s experiences as they were quarantined aboard the Grand Princess in 2020.

Of course, coronavirus is no laughing matter, but this book is sure to have you giggling throughout as you hear about the family’s mishaps and how they survived, and thrived, whilst quarantined on a cruise ship.

4. Quarantine!

Due to be released in November 2020 and available to pre-order now, ‘Quarantine!’ is another book about the cruise ship quarantine that occurred in February 2020.

In this book, bestselling writer, Gay Courter, and her husband find themselves trapped on-board the Diamond Princess in Japan. The book documents their twelve-day ordeal as they make efforts to get the US government to repatriate them.

5. Cruise Confidential

(A series of 4 books)

In this series of books, former Carnival cruse ship crew member, Brian David Bruns, gives a look behind the scenes of crew life on a cruise ship.

Find out what the crew call those on-board (it’s not passengers!), learn about the seemingly nonsensical rules that they have to follow and find out where on the ship are the secret spots to have sex with those that you’re not supposed to. Once you’ve read the first hilarious book, you’ll be itching to order the next three.

6. Chronicles of a Cruise Ship Crew Member

In another exposé on life below the water line, this book promises to answer all the questions that passengers want to ask.

Author Joshua Kinser spent five years working on cruise ships as a musician and art auctioneer. The book includes details on what happened during the coronavirus crisis and how it affected crew members at sea.

7. The Truth About Cruise Ships

The author of this book, Jay Herring. was a senior officer on Carnival cruise ships and one of the few who had access to the entire ship. The book is filled with shocking, entertaining and hilarious stories from his time at sea.

Find out how romance on a cruise ship is unlike anywhere else, what happens when things go wrong on a cruise and what to expect on a nude cruise.


Some of these non-fiction books about cruising tell the tales of passengers and others tell the tales of crew members. If you like real-life memoir and funny anecdotes, then one of these books could be ideal to take on your next cruise.

Alternatively, take a look at my list of the best fiction books about cruises or have a read of this short story which I wrote that is set on-board a cruise ship. You’ll also find a list of the best cruise travel books here.

Have you read any other great non-fiction books about life on cruise ships that you think should be included in this list? Be sure to let me know in the comments below.

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1 thought on “The 7 best non-fiction books about cruising (2020)”

  1. Seems like smooth sailing is a just flown the nest comedy memoir all about being a cruise ship entertainer back in 2006. Published by cranthorpe millner in March 2020

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