In the year I’ve been writing about cruising for Travel Weekly, I’ve often been struck by how much interesting information is out there about the industry, especially online.
Without really trying, I’ve bookmarked more than 100 websites, blogs, databases and interactive forums, ranging from Vicki Freed’s Facebook page to attorney Jim Walker’s Cruise Law News blog to the news map at Vesseltracker.com, which lets you roll your cursor over a map of the world to bring up news about ships in the last 24 hours.
Here are three sites that I usually have a hard time tearing myself away from when I visit.
Cruise Critic. There are other respectable sites that provide some of what Cruise Critic provides, but the breadth of cruise info here is astounding. The content is often thought provoking. (The editors at Travel Weekly, for example, were intrigued by a recent feature spotlighting unusual cruise ship balconies on various ships.)
Also invaluable are the community boards, where cruise fans exchange notes on every cruise topic under the sun. Cruise Critic increasingly shows up on Google searches I conduct on cruise topics.
Cruise Critic is edited by Carolyn Spencer Brown and her team from Pennington, N.J.
Maritime Matters. This website is a treasure trove for anyone with an interest in the history of cruise ships and all types of nautical beauty. One great feature is Decked! a stem-to-stern, top-to-bottom photo tour of a vintage ship, documenting all of its classic features.
The site also carries similar spreads on new ships, such as a three-part article on the recently launched Royal Princess. One of the contributors to Maritime Matters has just released a one-hour DVD, The Sands of Alang, which record the breakup of several storied but outdated liners at the shipbreaking yard at Alang, India.
Maritime Matters is co-edited by Peter Knego, who has previously contributed to Travel Weekly, and Martin Cox from Los Angeles.
Cruise Log. Of the major daily newspapers, the one that devotes by far the most space and resources to cruising is USA Today, with its Cruise Log. Its reporting is based on first-hand experience with ships and regular contact with cruise industry executives and critics.
Coverage ranges from hard news to features to its periodic Deal Watch posts on sales and promotions. Like Maritime Matters, it posts some wide-ranging photo tours, but of contemporary vessels.
Cruise Log is edited by Gene Sloan, from Philadelphia.