Independence and Grandeur of the Seas at Cozumel, Mexico.
Photo copyright 2009 Aaron Saunders
Preparing myself for a 90-minute ferry ride from Vancouver to Victoria this past weekend required some good cruise-related literature.  What better, of course, than a major national paper advertising a special eight-page long section devoted entirely to cruising?
Of course, there’s a reason I’m not naming the paper – the articles, indeed the entire section, were embarrasing – the sort of thing a first-year journalism student might write.  I read halfway through an entire page-length article before I discovered the name of the ship the writer was traveling on.  The rest of the article was filled with the standard, cutesy facts about Juneau, or how Ketchikan’s Creek Street has that ‘fishy’ smell you only find in Alaska.  The companion article to this was one that semi-bashed the idea of a cruise vacation entirely.
Which got me thinking: what is it about printed travelogues that just doesn’t work for cruises?  I have yet to read one printed travelogue that adequately captures the absolute magic of being onboard a magnificent cruise ship – the ocean passing underneath the hull, the gentle sway of the decks, the joy of just being onboard.  Heck, most of them don’t even tell you which night is lobster night.  Worse, the writers either got paid for the article or had their cruise comp’d – or maybe both – a dream for the avid cruiser. 
That’s not to say that all cruise-related reporting is bad.  Look at the tremendous works of John Maxtone-Graham if you’re after a slice of cruising both past and modern.  Read the well-written, lovingly prepared and photographed blogs of Peter Knego, who has made a career for himself of photographing and documenting some of the last classic ocean liners still sailing the seas before their inevitable – and sad – end on the beaches of Alang, India, where they are dismantled piece by piece and sold for scrap. 
Love or hate Carnival, there’s no denying the daily blogging delights from Carnival Senior Cruise Director John Heald not only make the reader want to cruise, but to also learn about the inner workings of those mini cities at sea that we all love.  And ShipParade’s Bart de Boer keeps us up to date with photo-tours of some of the newest cruise ships.
So while a lot of print information about cruising still tends to be bland and watered down, the online resources available for the avid cruiser continues to grow and expand at an impressive rate. 
We couldn’t be happier.

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