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Cruise Guides

Book Berlitz Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2003

Berlitz is pleased to launch the most opulent and useful edition of its renowned guide to cruises ever- a monumental feat for a publication already considered "the bible of cruise industry." Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships 2003 rates more than 256 major and minor ships cruising the world’s ocean and waterways. Providing all the advice the first-time or experienced passenger will ever need, this is the essential guide to choosing the perfect cruise. Loaded with comparative charts and in-depth analysis, Ocean Cruising & Cruise Ships is relied upon by more than 35,000 North American travel agents who use its unsurpassed data and recommendations to ensure the best possible fit for their clients. Author Douglas Ward is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on cruising and cruise ships. As President of the Maritime Evaluations Group, an independent agency, that rates cruise ships worldwide, he spends 10 months of every year shipboard and has logged nearly 5, 000 days at sea in his 30 years of exploring ocean liners with tape measure in hand.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"This is my bible. Different title this year but still the same 'Guide' which is published annually and contains the best statistics on cruise ships I've found yet." Experienced cruisers can skip the sections at the beginning and jump right to the Cruise Ship Directory & Ratings."

Current Amazon.com price is $16.77.*
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Book The Total Traveler's Guide to Worldwide Cruising

Written by Ethel Blum, this is a great reference guide detailing the positive and negatives of every ship and is an excellent guide to cruising.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"I started reading Ethel's books years ago with her Total Traveler by Ship series. I found her opinions and ratings of the various cruise ships to be right on with my own opinions. I was delighted to meet her in person in March of 1998 on the Carnival Cruise Lines Elation pre-inaugural cruise. This is an easy and informative read!"

Current Amazon.com price from $8.99.*
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Book The Complete Cruise Handbook

A concise introduction to the world of cruising, this handbook provides first-time cruisers with information on destinations, cruise companies, budgeting, and where and when to travel to each cruise destination. Maps & photos.

Recommended by Columnist Brent Betit:
"Though hardly complete, this slim volume (less than 200 pages) provides a novice cruiser with a readable, well-organized guide to planning a cruise vacation. Anne Vipond's excellent tips to choosing a cruise line, booking a cruise, and preparing for a cruise are on the mark and require only a small investment of time. If you are a first-time or relatively inexperienced cruiser, you'll find this a useful resource."

Current Amazon.com price is $9.56.*
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Book Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation 2003

Few people can say they've sailed on more than 500 cruise ships, visited every major port of call in the world, and inspected nearly every cruise vessel in operation. With more than 35 years of cruising under his cap, Steven Stern is a certifiable sea dog with a wealth of personal experience to share. This Guide is an encyclopedic volume covering how to choose a cruise company, how to select your destination, how long to stay, what day-to-day seafaring is like, cruising for singles and with children, as well as cruising for joggers and tennis buffs. One chapter is devoted entirely to reviews of each cruise line and its vessels, including reprints of actual menus and day and evening activity plans, with photos when available.

Recommended by Columnist Brent Betit:
"Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation provides extensive descriptions of every major cruise ship and port of call worldwide. While readers may find the rating scale a bit confusing, the narrative descriptions of the ships are quite accessible and helpful. Foodies will enjoy the menus."

Current Amazon.com price is $15.37.*
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Book The Unofficial Guide to Cruises 2003

Written by Kay Showker with Bob Sehlinger as a contributing editor, this newest edition is for cruisers who want to step behind the scenes of the world's top cruise lines. In keeping with the Unofficial Guide philosophy, this book pulls no punches as it reports on the nitty-gritty details of more than 120 cruise lines and 350 ships, ranking each for value and quality.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"I was first introduced to Bob Sehlinger's series back in 1993 with his Unofficial Guide to Disney World, which was recommended to me by a client. This Guide to Cruises is full of useful information, an easy read, AND mentions The SeaLetter as a good Internet source for cruise information. I am glad to return the favor!"

Current Amazon.com price is $19.95.*
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Book The Essential Little Cruise Book

Written by former cruise director Jim West, this short book covers everything form how to choose a cruise that's right for you, picking a travel agent and cabin, what to bring, cruise etiquette, and how to cure sea sickness.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"Only recommended for first time cruisers - you experienced folks will find it too elementary for you. Personally, I think that our SeaLetter Columnists cover all you'll find in this Little Cruise Book and much more in their monthly SeaLetter columns. But, this book is pretty inexpensive, and would make a good gift for your first-time-cruiser friends who don't have access to the Internet."

Current Amazon.com price is $7.95.*
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Book Complete Idiots Guide to Cruise Vacations

Published by Macmillan Travel, who believes that cruises are fun, and cruising guidebooks should be, too. This guide does not rank ships, but spells out everything in human terms to help you find the cruise vacation of your dreams.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"Recommended might not be the right word here as I admit to NOT having read this one yet. But it sounds interesting and funny. If you buy it, why not submit your own Book Review to both Amazon.com and The SeaLetter?"

Current Amazon.com price from $1.98.*
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Book Frommer's 2003 Caribbean Cruises and Ports of Call

Frommer's bi-annual guide to Caribbean Cruises and the Most Popular Caribbean Ports of Call.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"Good reference book for Caribbean cruises only. Don't be looking here for info on Alaska, Bermuda or Europe cruises!"

Current Amazon.com price is $13.99.*
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Book Fodor's Plan and Enjoy Your Cruise 2001

Fodor's bi-annual guide to the Top Cruise Lines and Their Most Popular Ports of Call.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"Not as detailed as the Ward, Blum, Sehlinger publications, but an interesting read and good for reference.

Current Amazon.com price is $9.95.*
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Cruise Industry

Book Selling the Sea: An Inside Look at the Cruise Industry

Written by Bob Dickinson, President of Carnival Cruise Lines, and Andy Vladimir, an international marketing consultant, this book answers most of the questions about the modern cruise industry, where it started, how it got to where it is today, and where it's headed. The authors take you behind the scenes at Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland America and other major lines.

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"This 1997 book really opened my eyes as to how the cruise industry operates. Despite Bob Dickinson's job as CEO of Carnival, other cruise lines are mentioned positively and in detail. This 364 page hardcover book is not cheap (Bob Dickinson needs the money?), but it's certainly unique."

Current Amazon.com price is $35.00.*
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Cruise Fiction

Book Cruise Ship Doctor

Oliver Loring, M.D., emergency physician, amorous bachelor and expert ballroom dancer rides the tropical waves with a highly eccentric group of passengers and wacky crew members . . . all of which is televised around the world when a popular "reality TV" show broadcasts live from the cruise!

Recommended by Editor Bob Jackson:
"I have just the prescription for your summer reading doldrums: Gerry Yukevich's Cruise Ship Doctor ! The author is a real-life emergency physician who has written essays and plays, and now this novel, which is indeed 'Monty Python' meets 'The Love Boat.' Start this one on the plane, then see how many of these 'highly eccentric' passengers you can spot aboard ship."

Current Amazon.com price from $24.95.*
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Book Murder on the Atlantic

Invited to join the maiden voyage of a reclusive billionaire's luxury liner, Atlantis, amateur sleuth Steve Allen and his vivacious wife, Jayne Meadows, are called upon to solve a mystery when a body is discovered in the lifeboat.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"In case you didn't know, entertainer Steve Allen was quite the mystery-book writer. I read Murder on the Atlantic on an airplane a few years ago and it is a fair-to-middling Who Done It which takes place entirely on a cruise ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Very relaxing and enjoyable reading!"

Current Amazon.com price from $0.70.*
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Cruise Employment

Book How to Get a Job With a Cruise Line : How to Sail Around the World on Luxury Cruise Ships and Get Paid for It

Written by Mary Fallon Miller and published in February 1997, it is said this is the only employment guide recommended by Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and 21 other members of Cruise Lines International Association. Job contacts, telephone numbers, addresses, job descriptions, stories from employees and advice from personnel directors. 40 major cruise lines, 65 types of jobs, industry trends and their impact on jobs.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"Both this and the following book are listed here in self defense. I probably get 10 to 20 emails a week asking me "How do I get a job on a cruise ship? I have an auto-response message which refers the writer to:

How to get a job on a Cruise Ship
Life Aboard the Viking Serenade as a Cruise Staffer
International Seafarer's Exchange Web Site

Now, I can add these two excellent books!"

OUT OF PRINT. But, Amazon.com has it used from $4.90.*
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Book Cruise Ship Jobs : The Insiders Guide to Finding and Getting Jobs on Cruise Ships Around the World

Written by Richard B Marin and published in August 1998, one reviewer from Vancouver states this is "a good overall insiders view of jobs onboard ships. For those who have a somewhat romantic view of jobs available onboard ships, this book clarifies a few things."

OUT OF PRINT. But, Amazon.com has it used from $1.83.*
ORDER NOW by clicking on the link above.


Cruise VIDEOS

Book Titanic: Wide Screen VHS
Titanic: Standard VHS
Titanic: Standard VHS, Spanish Subtitles.
             Titanic: DVD

Yes, the Leonardo Di Caprio, Kate Winslet, 1997 Academy Award winning film. Own all those special effects forever! Choose your version above.

Current Amazon.com prices are:

Wide Screen VHS: $12.95*
Standard VHS: $12.95*
Standard VHS, Spanish Subtitles: $12.95*
DVD: $25.49*

ORDER NOW by clicking on the applicable link above.


Cruise Ports

Book Voyages: The Romance of Cruising

Written/Edited by Jay Clarke, photographed by Harvey Lloyd. Published by DK Publishing (Tehabi Books).

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"Outstanding is the word I'd use to describe this 284 page coffee table book, especially its photos of ports and cruise ships by award-winning photojournalist, Harvey Lloyd.

"The subtitle of this October, 1999 book is "The World's 100 Most Fascinating Ports of Call, Selected by the World's Leading Travel Writers," and those writers include veteran cruise ship reporters John Maxtone-Graham and Bill Miller, as well as the book's editor, Jay Clarke, travel editor of the Miami Herald."

Read Alan Walker's complete BOOK REVIEW HERE.

Current Amazon.com price from $4.44.* BARGAIN!!!
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Book Alaska & Canada's Inside Passage Cruise Tour Guide

This publication by Coastal Cruise Guides is actually a map on one side, and commentary on the other. Why pay $10 just for a map? Because it's an incredible map: it unfolds into a six foot long by one foot wide chart of the whole of the Inside Passage, the 1000 mile stretch of protected water from Seattle in the south to Glacier Bay in the north. The main map alone is worth the price, but in addition, the flipside has articles on Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, Haines, Victoria, Vancouver, Prince Rupert, wildlife, fishing vessels, shipwrecks, early explorers, natural history, native culture and more. You'll also find small maps of each of the towns.

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"If I could only take one publication with me on an Alaska cruise, this would be the one. For much of the time on an Alaska cruise you're in sight of land, often on both sides. This incredibly detailed map helps you understand what you're looking at, where you've been and where you're going. The flipside summaries are informative (with photos and illustrations), and cover a number of the smaller Alaska/British Columbia towns which are often ignored in major Alaska cruise books. You will love this slim-weight-but-fat-content guide!"

Current Amazon.com price is $10.36.*
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Book Path Between the Seas: the Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914

Written by David McCullough, this is a sprawling epic of the construction of the Panama Canal that encompasses 40 years and literally thousands of key participants.

Recommended by SeaLetter Reviewers Larry & Carolyn Leonard:
"The book gives a fascinating and very informed history of the Canal, one requiring time to read, enjoy and assimilate. McCullough documents the near impossible struggle to design, promote and complete an engineering marvel."

Current Amazon.com price is $12.60.*
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Book Portrait of the Panama Canal: From Construction to the Twenty-First Century

Authored by William Friar, this book is a great addition - or even a substitute - for McCullough's book "The Path Between the Seas" (see above), which seems to be everyone's first recommendation for reading prior to one's first Panama Canal cruise. In addition, it's more current. (McCullough's book was written 24 years ago.)

Recommended by SeaLetter Columnist Alan Walker:
"The author summarizes the Canal's history in 14 pages, versus McCullough's 700 pages. This book also has dozens of superb color and black-and-white photos, both historic and current, and there's an interesting if brief discussion of the writer's youth while living in the Canal Zone."

OUT OF PRINT. But, Amazon.com has it used at $12.95.* ONLY ONE COPY LEFT!
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Book PANAMA CANAL MAP

This publication also contains a well-written history of the Canal, and has diagrams and photos.

Recommended by SeaLetter Columnist Alan Walker:
"Why pay ten bucks for a lousy map, especially when you'll likely receive a free map from ACP (the Panama Canal Authority) while on your actual Canal cruise? Because this is a great map, and unlike the ACP map, shows you small details of the Canal layout, including the buoy numbers. The buoy numbers help you locate where you are in the Canal at any given time (it's harder than you might think to figure out where you are otherwise). Best of all, you can easily carry it around on deck unlike the other Panama Canal books reviewed above (grin)."

Currently out of stock at Amazon.com.
We are leaving it here so that you can periodically check stock.


Book Fodor's 2003 Alaska: The Guide for All Budgets, Where to Stay, Eat, and Explore on and Off the Beaten Path

Experienced and first-time travelers alike rely on Fodor's Gold Guides for rich, reliable coverage the world over. Updated each year and containing a full-color, foldout Rand McNally map, a Fodor's Gold Guide is an essential tool for any kind of traveler. Smart travel tips and important contact info make planning your trip a breeze, and detailed coverage of sights, accommodations, and restaurants give you the info you need to make your experience enriching and hassle-free. If you only have room for one guide, this is the one for you.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"Frommer's and Fodor's guides on ports you will visit on your cruise are always helpful and a good reference to have around. They are not published each year, but this one is new!"

Current Amazon.com price is $13.30.*
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Book Frommer's Alaska Cruises & Ports of Call 2003

Written by Fran Wenograd Golden & Jerry Brown, the guide covers everything from how to get the best deals to how to maximize one's time in Alaska cruise ports of call. This January 2003 edition is on top of all the latest developments. Maps. Index. Line drawings.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"Frommer's and Fodor's guides on ports you will visit on your cruise are always helpful and a good reference to have around. They are not published each year, but this one is spanking new!"

Current Amazon.com price is $11.19.*
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Book Frommer's Alaska 2003: With Complete Cruise Coverage

Compiled by Arthur Frommer & Charles P. Wohlforth.

Recommended by Publisher Sharon Jackson:
"Frommer's and Fodor's guides on ports you will visit on your cruise are always helpful and a good reference to have around. Mr. Frommer has been criticized by a lot of travel agents lately for taking "un-fair wacks" at their knowledge. I read his books anyhow!"

Current Amazon.com price is $13.99.*
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Book Inside Passage Walking Tours: Exploring Major Ports of Call in Southeast Alaska

Written by Julianne Chase, this 1998, 144 page book provides an intimate look at four of the major Alaska cruise ports, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka, and takes readers on self-guided tours of each town.

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"Of the many Alaska cruise port books I have read, this one remains my favorite. Excellent detail for do-it-yourself tours, superb photographs, and many amusing anecdotes. I also like its 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" size, which makes it possible to carry it around in your back pocket or purse (I prefer the pocket)."

Current Amazon.com price is $10.47.*
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Book Alaska by Cruise Ship: The Complete Guide to the Alaska Cruise Experience

Get on board the cruise vacation phenomenon with this international bestseller. From Seattle to Anchorage and beyond, this guide provides readers with solid detail. The author also covers all areas of interest such as history, wildlife, native culture, and much more. Color photos & maps.

Recommended by Columnist Brent Betit:
"This book is exactly what its title promises: a complete guide to Alaskan cruising. If you are planning such a cruise, make this your first resource. The town maps, descriptions of attractions, and other cruise-oriented information will provide you with everything you need to plan a first-rate Alaska cruise vacation."

Current Amazon.com price is $18.95.*
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Cruise History

Book Liners to the Sun - Hardcover
Liners to the Sun - Paperback

The author, John Maxtone-Graham, is a maritime historian, author and lecturer specializing in the history of ocean liners and cruise ships. Originally published in 1985, this June 2000 edition revels in the past glories of the ocean liner and examines with thorough detail today's best ships.

Recommended by Editor Bob Jackson:
"Compelling history of the early days of cruising with first-hand accounts from actual passengers. The author has the ability to place the reader in the actual time, allowing him/her to re-experience extraordinary times: On one cruise, the only offered shore excursion was a trip to see the Panama Canal under construction. Good focus on the technical side of modern cruise ship construction - find out how Royal Caribbean's Viking Crown Lounge came to be. Great read, as are all of Maxtone-Graham's writings."

Read Lisa Plotnick's complete BOOK REVIEW HERE.

Amazon.com price: $24.50 (hardcover) $13.97 (paperback.)*
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Book The First Great Liners in Photographs 1897 - 1927

The author, William H. Miller, is a prolific writer and editor of books on cruise ships. In this first of a series, 193 black and white photographs reveal the luxurious floating palaces of the first thirty years of cruising, from the first of the superliners in 1897 to the legendary Bismark, Lusitania, Titanic, Olympic and others.

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"If you're at all interested in the history of cruising, you'll love the classic photos in this soft-cover but large size book. Despite its name, the book contains much informative narrative as to the history and ultimate fate of these early cruise ships."

Current Amazon.com price is $10.47.*
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Book Great Luxury Liners, 1927 - 1954

The second in a series by William H. Miller (see above) containing 186 black and white photos from the heyday of the trans-Atlantic liners including the Ile de France, Normandie, Rex Europa and Queen Mary.

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"The great thing about this series of books is that they can't get out of date (unlike me, who travelled on two of these ships). Wonderful history."

Current Amazon.com price is $10.47.*
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Book Modern Cruise Ships, 1965 - 1990: A Photographic Record

William Miller's third book in his series (see above) of black and white photos of classic ships, this time including the QE2, Pacific Princess, Rotterdam V, Royal Viking Sun, the United States and dozens of others, in 184 photos.

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"I enjoyed this one the most as it shows many of the classic cruise ships which are still sailing today. Stories and photos about the conversion of the France into the Norway, and the Achille Lauro terrorist incident, were particularly interesting."

Current Amazon.com price is $11.16.*
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Book Lost Liners: From the Titanic to the Andrea Doria, the Ocean Floor Reveals Its Greatest Ships (Hardcover)
Lost Liners: (same) (Paperback)

Both the 1997, 224 page hardcover book and the 1998 paperback edition by Robert D. Ballard (discoverer of the Titanic wreck in 1985), and others, chronicles fabled but lost passenger ships, including the Titanic (of course), the Empress of Ireland (lost only two years after the Titanic and with more passenger fatalities), the Lusitania, the Britannic (sister ship of the Titanic), and the more recent Andrea Doria.

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"Despite being fascinated by cruise ship disasters, I personally feel extremely safe on board a cruise ship. This coffee table book (read:expensive) has great stories and 400 illustrations/photos of some classic maritime disasters. If you want to have your own personal copy of Lost Liners rather than impressing your friends with your coffee table book, the paperback version will save you half the price. As I only have the hardcover version, I can't say whether anything of value is lost in the paperback re-publishing."

Currently OUT OF PRINT. But, Amazon.com has the hardcover used from $26.88 and the paperback used from $7.52.*
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Book Titanic: An Illustrated History

For those still suffering from post-Titanic-movie frenzy, this 228 page coffee table book by historian Donald Lynch (first published in 1992), is one of the best of the never-ending Titanic collection. This 1998 version has incredible photographs and paintings.

Recommended by Columnist Alan Walker:
"The beauty of this book is the artwork by Ken Marschall whose dozens of paintings help you visualize the dramatic moments of this tragedy which no camera recorded and few eyewitnesses agreed upon. Don Lynch's text is first class. If you only ever own one Titanic book, this is the one to get."

Currently OUT OF PRINT. But, Amazon.com has it used from $12.83.*
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*Prices listed here are not guaranteed in any way by The SeaLetter. They are for reference only and reflect the price quoted by Amazon.com on the date first listed in the SeaLetter Book Store.

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