Cruise Travel Magazine
If you're interested in cruising, the Cruise Travel magazine helps keep you informed with ships, ports, and other cruising news.
This magazine comes out only six times a year, so don't look for cutting-edge news to be found here. It's much more handy for general reviews of ships, descriptions of fun destinations to visit, and long term schedules for future cruise planning.
Cruise Travel is about 60 pages long, and over half of that is advertisement. Of course, that's true for many magazines. At least in this case the ads are primarily of cruises and pricing. If you're interested in a particular cruise, you can page through the ads and get a sense for what the price range is on it.
I personally don't find the destination articles to be that unique - you can find out about a given destination (say "Bermuda") from hundreds of books in the bookstore or library. However, what IS great about the magazine is the in-depth reviews of the ships. Sure, you can find a few web reviews of many ships, but often they are extremely one-sided ("I hated it!" "I love it!"). They usually lack good photos. With the Cruise Travel reviews, you get a much more "reality based" review and some wonderful photos of the key ship areas.
I am always fond of reviews that tell you the good AND bad of a given ship. No ship is for every single person. It's only by knowing a ship's downsides that you can make an educated decision. So, for example, the July-Aug 2005 issue had a review of the NCL America line, including the Price of America. These new ships from NCL feature American flagged ships with an American crew.
On one hand, the magazine praises the great public areas, the Napa Wine Bar, the conservatory with live birds. On the other hand, the review points out that the US-citizen crew did not meet cruiser's expectations about hard working, helpful workers. Apparently many of the crew signed up (thinking this would be a "fun" job to work on a cruise ship) and then quit after a few weeks when they realized there was hard work involved. NCL had to scramble to re-train new employees and to deal with the crew that did stay but did not want to work up to expectations.
The back quarter of the magazine is a cruise calendar for the immediate 4 months ahead, organized by destination. Of course, the prices they list here are "list prices" which pretty much nobody pays. The list for the Norwegian Majesty Boston - Bermuda run is $1249-$4599 ppdo. In the meantime, the front page ad for that exact same run is $529.
In general, this is a great magazine for frequent cruisers, to get a sense of what new ships are coming out and what specific ships are like. The ads and the ship reviews will help give guidance on your next travel plans.
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