New York, NY (PRWEB) October 29, 2012
Cruising has never been as popular (or as heavily marketed) in the U.S. as it is today. More than 13 million Americans were cruisers last year. For the industry, it’s a fiercely competitive business, and for consumers, as world-renowned cruise expert Douglas Ward points out in Berlitz’s comprehensive and authoritative Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships 2013, “cruising remains terrific value, but one that is all about making the right choices. That is what this book always has been, and still is, about.”
It's not for nothing that Ward, with more than 45 years’ experience and continuing to log more than 200 days a year on cruises, has earned a reputation as the pre-eminent (and totally impartial) authority on cruising, inspecting and evaluating each ship--the quality of facilities, as well as the standards of food, service, staff, safety and hospitality--like a seafaring Columbo.The Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships 2013 features his meticulous, candid assessments of 284 popular ships—“from large to small, from unabashed luxury and exclusivity to ships for the budget-minded, new and old.”
“But quite honestly, there really is no such thing as best," Ward says, "only what’s right for you. My comprehensive ratings system, compiled totally independently and in no way subsidized by advertising or sponsorship, bases its Berlitz stars on points given in numerous categories. They all add up to what remains an unbiased and unvarnished appraisal of what’s best and worst in the world of cruising.”
That said, Ward notes, in the wake of the Costa Concordia tragedy, "the elephant in the stateroom, as it were, as it relates at present to the entire cruising industry, is the issue of safety. And here's the good news: the industry is now the most regulated business in the world today, and it has enacted--of its own accord--even more stringent measures to keep everyone safe, passengers and crew alike.”
The 2013 Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships, expanded to more than 700 pages from last year's edition, features information about the new ships coming in 2013; chapters on cuisine (and eating healthy), entertainment, river cruising, world cruises and smaller cruise lines; updated content on the major cruise lines, including Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, MSC, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean; 10 smart ways to save money (example: “research online, but book through a real cruise-travel agency”); and why, as the cruise industry builds more ships and the market diversifies, "selling cruises has become a free-for-all in the effort to attract more passengers."
It also details the latest trends in cruising such as the increasing number of language-specific ships; best choices for family cruising, singles, single-parent, honeymooners, seniors, the physically challenged, gays and lesbians; tips on steering clear of some so-called “cruise discounts” that may actually be pricey marketing gimmicks and watching for cruise rip-offs (on-board currency conversions and paying extra gratuities, for example); and information on cruise lines’ cost-cutting ploys (reducing menu selections and food portions in main dining room venues, for example).
The print edition of the 2013 Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships is available on November 1, 2012 ($24.99).The eBook 2013 Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships ($24.99), is available now from Amazon and Apple. The Berlitz Cruise Ships app for the iPhone and iPad ($9.99) is available now from Apple.