Cruise ships make stunning and imaginative settings for all types of books, from fantastic fiction in every genre to true life insights to wonderful stories for younger readers. No matter whether you can’t cruise right now, you’re dreaming of your next cruise, or you want to pack along a cruise-themed read when you set sail, these books about cruises are perfect to add to your reading list!
Fabulous Cruise Fiction
All types of fiction books – romances, thrillers, mysteries, crime drama, and more – have been set on cruise ships. These top titles are just a few of the most popular that take place on cruise ships.
1. Cruise Ship Cozy Mystery Series
Authored by Hope Callaghan, this mystery series spans more than 15 books with fast-paced twists to keep readers engaged and entertained. These stories are lighthearted and fun rather than heavy and chilling, ideal for reading on the beach or lounging on the pool deck. The author is a seasoned cruiser herself, which lends authenticity to every one of her cruise ship settings.
2. The Luminous Cruise Chronicles
An extensive series of short fiction romance penned by different authors, this series has steamy scenes and occasionally lusty plot lines. Most of these stories range from just 20-50 pages, making them a perfect read when you also have a cruise itinerary filled with exciting ports of call, onboard activities, live entertainment, and many other things to enjoy. More details are here.
3. The Last Cruise
This novel from author Kate Christensen details the modern-day last sailing of a vintage 1950s ocean liner on its way to retirement in Hawaii. Different perspectives throughout the book give readers insights from both passengers and crew, and when a variety of crises escalate on board, the tension climbs as well.
4. Lost at Sea
A riveting romance from Alan Simon and Erica Bianco Ellis, this novel takes readers along on a romantic journey with two sisters to one of the most popular cruise destinations, the Mexican Riviera. Readers will visit Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta along with the book’s key characters and unexpected love interests, with surprising twists in every relationship on board.
5. Haunted Cruise: The Shakedown
Can a brand new ship be haunted? It is a shakedown cruise like no other when The Caesar sets sail and otherworldly happenings begin to be noted onboard. A quick-moving book of dark twists from Tanya R. Taylor, this story has both horror and thriller elements and is sure to keep readers on the edge of their deck chairs from start to finish. Details on Amazon are right here.
6. Dead on the Water: Abandon Ship
Virus outbreaks are not unheard of on cruise ships, but the outbreak raging through this book isn’t a simple case of norovirus or even a coronavirus pandemic – it’s a zombie-creating plague and passengers are trapped onboard. Written by R.W.K. Clark, this book features post-apocalyptic vibes and is occasionally graphic with its depiction of the horrors it encompasses, but it’s a riveting read. Book prices can be found here.
7. Cruise Ship Doctor
A fun, light-hearted romance, this novel by Gerry Yukevich is a delightful story to appeal to any cruise traveler with its Caribbean destinations and connection to Valentine’s Day for added romanticism. Fun antics and eccentric characters add more layers to the story that is already rich with international flair and plenty of outrageous personalities.
8. The Boxcar Children: The Mystery Cruise
Join the four Alden siblings on a Caribbean cruise fraught with misfortune, from overboard alarms to broken radios to engine trouble and more. Book #29 in the popular Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner, this book is a great way to get young readers excited about all the fun to be had on a cruise vacation, while introducing them to wholesome characters and the joys of reading.
9. The Bobbsey Twins on the Sun-Moon Cruise
Book #68 from the classic children’s series by Laura Lee Hope, this young reader’s novel involves a world cruise, international destinations, and the extraordinary science of a solar eclipse. When equipment is damaged, however, the twins’ mystery-solving skills are put to the test, and so will the deductive reasoning of every young reader.
10. Peter the Cruise Ship Series
Authored by experienced cruise ship captain Hans Mateboer, this colorful and fun picture book series brings a silly cruise ship to life for the very youngest readers. Other engaging characters include different types of ships and wildlife, and Peter enjoys different adventures in his different books, from traveling to the Caribbean, to visiting Alaska, to escaping pirates.
Gain Cruise Ship Insights With Non-Fiction Books
If you prefer factual books and true life insights rather than novels, non-fiction is for you. There are many books about cruises that offer you a glimpse of the cruise ship life, but beware of potential bias in different titles depending on the author’s agenda and their experiences on the water.
11. Cruise Confidential
A four-book series from Brian David Bruns, these insightful books take from Bruns’ years of personal service on cruise ships and what he’s learned below decks during his visits to dozens of ports on a variety of itineraries. Written with a lighthearted tone and self-deprecating humor, this series is a great way to get to know more about the cruise ship lifestyle. See the pricing and details here.
12. Tips From the Cruise Addict’s Wife
Filled with practical hacks and useful advice from dozens of voyages, this guide from experienced traveler Deb Graham is an informative read. This book covers every aspect of a cruise vacation, from first choosing and planning a cruise to packing, enjoying the time onboard, making the most of ports, saving money, scoring freebies, and more.
13. The Cruise Ship Survival Guide
A humorous and witty survival manual, this practical book by Joshua Kinser offers resourceful guidance for everything that could possibly go wrong on a cruise vacation. Including such outrageous scenarios such as a pirate raid, sinking ship, and shark attacks, this book draws on Kinser’s more than five years of cruise ship service and more than 300 voyages for fun and factual advice.
14. Around the World in 80 Meals
Diana Rubino offers cruise travelers the ultimate cookbook, but this book is much more than just recipes. In addition to easy-to-prepare favorites from mouth-watering appetizers to decadent desserts, Rubino also presents a brief history of cruise cuisine and port specialties, as well as authentic menus from some of the world’s most popular liners and luxury yachts.
15. The Lost Art of Towel Origami
Bring a bit of cruise ship fun to your bookshelves by learning time-honored towel-folding techniques, courtesy of author Alison Jenkins. A history of towel folding is included, as well as photos and detailed instructions for a range of folded favorites: dogs, monkeys, swans, and elephants, as well as a delightful tropical palm tree that will add cruise ship ambience to all your towel folding adventures. More details of the book are here.