Cruise Vacations for Dummies
The For Dummies series covers just about every topic that exists, and cruising is no exception. Learn about cruising from the ground up with this informative book.
I have a number of books about cruising, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Cruise Vacation is a great overview of what cruising is all about, with information given on the most commonly used ports and destinations. There's also a page or two on each main cruise line and what its strengths and weaknesses are.
The beginning of the book goes over the basics - passport and documentation, what to expect on a cruise ship, how you pay your bills, what duty-free is all about, and so on. The next section helps you compare the cruise lines, describing each main line and providing comparison charts of the typical rates for the ship and the fleet's specifications. They update the Dummies book each year, so make sure you get a current book to get valid rates.
The rest of the book - almost the second half of the book - is taken up with descriptions of the various port towns and destinations. If you're leaving from Tampa, for example, you can see maps of the area and learn about interesting things to do before you sail off. You can read through the descriptions of the various destinations and see which ones appeal to you, and start to prioritize your choices.
Where some other books are sure to point out the bad AND good of the locations and ships, Dummies seems much more oriented towards always talking up the good. This makes it less of a "consumer reports" and more of a "promotion of the cruise industry". Cruise descriptions include "outstanding features" and "super deals" - but not any listing of what to watch out for. The very few times they give warnings, they are of the quite obvious kind - i.e. Disney cruises are full of kids, and honeymooners seeking romance should be aware of this.
Still, the book gives a great overview, and is well recommended.
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