The best evidence that the cruise market is in flux and subject to wild changes is that Douglas Ward’s Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships hasn’t been updated since 2020. The Berlitz Guide used to sit on most travel agents’ desks. For 35 years, it could be counted on to give clients a two-page summary of every vessel promoted to clients by American travel advisors. It was more than a mere directory. The 754-pages of the 2020 edition rated the accommodations, cuisine, and service on each ship. It was the final word on ship statistics, so that passenger space ratios, passenger crew ratios, and tonnage could be reliably compared.
In my 2019 Amazon book, How to Plan Your Next & BEST Cruise: Secrets of Selecting Cruises, Ships & Destinations, I used Douglas Ward’s data in every chapter to show readers how to move beyond the ads and hype, and to make viable comparisons among cruise ships they were considering. Read the rest of this entry »
A decade ago, many expedition ships were retired ice breakers lacking in creature comforts such as nice staterooms and good food. That situation started to change when some traditional luxury small ship cruise lines and charter operators ordered “luxury expedition ships.” These ships combined their usual cruising features with polar-rated PC6 hulls that could handle ice packs in Antarctica and, hopefully, transit the Northwest Passage unassisted.
Many of the ship designers let their imaginations run wild. They added a helicopter and a mini-submarine; and “garages” that permitted the vessels to launch and retrieve Zodiacs and water toys from inside the ship. Most also supplemented the crew with naturalists, professional photographers, and armed polar bear guards—bringing some guest-crew ratios to almost 1:1. Read the rest of this entry »