Travel guides for cruisers

Sure, you could go to the library and do some research, check out a bookstore for the latest printed guides, but why? Everything you need is right here, literally at your fingertips. Let’s take a look at some of the online resources available to help plan our cruise vacations.

A good first stop is the cruise line websites themselves. There, you’ll find a bunch of good information about the ships, the cruise line and shore excursions they offer. To get more in-depth information about different ports and locations though, you need more than that.

Right here at Gadling we have a bunch of great people that travel the world, reporting on pretty much every aspect of travel on a regular basis. Travel gear and other topics that can totally be applied to cruise vacations are here too like airline information for that flight to the port, hotels for pre or post-cruise stays and restaurants in cities you might not be familiar with.

I like the easy-to-read blog format of this information with a bit of a personal twist to it way better than the dry, catalog-type you might get out of books.

Online travel guides like AOL TravelGuides are good too along with videos that give a clear picture of what you might see when your ship pulls into port. Actually, both Gadling and AOL Travel Guides cover many cities that are destinations for land-based vacations and ports of call for cruises. If your ship stops in Barcelona, you may not need a hotel but learning about the area adds great depth to your cruise experience and knowing what to watch out for, from an experienced land traveler who has been there, is good stuff.

Videos are another online resource that can be really good to consider. AOL has a bunch of them that really give you a good idea of what to expect.

There are other sources out there too. One I like is Insider, a relatively new one that offers over 2000 videos from all over the world, many in HD. From Aruba to Vancouver, you can find a good video at Insider Perks.

If video is not enough cruise-related information for you, try the radio too. has hours of interviews online, waiting to tell you all about everything from the latest cruise news to in-depth interviews with cruise directors, travel experts and more.

Not to throw out all the travel guides, iPhone users have a bunch of Aps that can be helpful too. A new one from the legendary Berlitz name, the Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships. At $12 from itunes it’s half the price of the book and updated throughout the year.

Flickr photo by Kenny Miller

3 great books about cruise vacations

While blogging, video, interactive travel books and online travelguides have command a lot of interest, books (like with paper and ink) are still being published. Here are some of the best about cruise vacations for your weekend reading pleasure.

Selling the Sea– An inside Look at the Cruise Industry
Written by cruise industry veterans Bob Dickinson from Carnival Cruise Lines fame and Andy Vladimir this second edition features information all about the mechanics of the cruise industry as well as interviews with captains, social directors, and cruise line executives

Frommer’s Cruises and Ports of Call, 7th Edition
This is like the handbook of all cruise books and has photos of all major ship classes that sail from North American home-ports plus in-depth coverage of major ports of call in the Caribbean as well. This 7th edition has candid reviews and other useful information to supplement what you find online and here at Gadling.

Cruise Confidential A Hit Below the Waterline
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to work on a cruise ship, this is the book for you. Brian David Bruns look at his life as the only American waiter on several Carnival cruise ships gives a backstage account of what it is like day to day aboard a ship at sea.

Don’t want to cut down trees for information? AOL TravelGuides are a great source for all things cruising as well. Some of the best include great warm-weather ports like Kingston, San Juan, Acapulco and Cancun.

Just the thing on a cold, snowy, Winter night or if you’re a Time-Warner subscriber, expecting another blackout.

No time for such nonsense as books? Fine then, check this video on the new Disney Dream:

You’re watching Cruise Director: Disney Dream – Behind the Scenes. See the Web’s top videos on AOL Video