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Travel guides for cruisers
A good first stop is the cruise line websites themselves. There, you'll find a bunch of good information about the ships, the cruise line and shore excursions they offer. To get more in-depth information about different ports and locations though, you need more than that.
Right here at Gadling we have a bunch of great people that travel the world, reporting on pretty much every aspect of travel on a regular basis. Travel gear and other topics that can totally be applied to cruise vacations are here too like airline information for that flight to the port, hotels for pre or post-cruise stays and restaurants in cities you might not be familiar with.
I like the easy-to-read blog format of this information with a bit of a personal twist to it way better than the dry, catalog-type you might get out of books.
Online travel guides like AOL TravelGuides are good too along with videos that give a clear picture of what you might see when your ship pulls into port. Actually, both Gadling and AOL Travel Guides cover many cities that are destinations for land-based vacations and ports of call for cruises. If your ship stops in Barcelona, you may not need a hotel but learning about the area adds great depth to your cruise experience and knowing what to watch out for, from an experienced land traveler who has been there, is good stuff.Videos are another online resource that can be really good to consider. AOL has a bunch of them that really give you a good idea of what to expect.
There are other sources out there too. One I like is Insider Perks.com, a relatively new one that offers over 2000 videos from all over the world, many in HD. From Aruba to Vancouver, you can find a good video at Insider Perks.
If video is not enough cruise-related information for you, try the radio too. CruiseRadio.net has hours of interviews online, waiting to tell you all about everything from the latest cruise news to in-depth interviews with cruise directors, travel experts and more.
Not to throw out all the travel guides, iPhone users have a bunch of Aps that can be helpful too. A new one from the legendary Berlitz name, the Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships. At $12 from itunes it's half the price of the book and updated throughout the year.
Flickr photo by Kenny Miller