People considering a cruise for the first time can be overwhelmed by choices: which cruise line, ship, itinerary? These and other questions are answered in Aaron Mase's "Beginner's Guide to Cruising" ($15, BookSurge), a short primer on the complexities of cruise travel. He also offers advice on what to do when you board and how to handle the last day of the cruise. In addition, he comments on topics from the crucial (seasickness) to the mundane (laundry).
More experienced travelers - and those not intimidated by sheer size (736 pages) - can turn to Steven B. Stern's "Stern's Guide to the Cruise Vacation" ($26, Pelican). Updated annually, the book's 20th edition covers virtually everything you need to know about cruise vacations. In addition to the preparations, there are chapters on specialty cruising for singles, tennis buffs and joggers, and cruising with children. etailed descriptions of European riverboats and barges.