Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Passport Ahoy!

PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and its Ports of Call 2008 (Sixth Edition), by Jennifer and Dave Marx. Ann Arbor, MI: PassPorter Press/MediaMarx Inc.., 2008; 352 pp.

I'm in the process of preparing for my first cruise, which - surprise, surprise! - is going to be a Disney cruise. As you may recall, a few months ago in one of my first reviews, I talked about the Birnbaum Guide to the Disney Cruise Line, which I thought was OK, but could have used a bit more information, especially about the cruise experience. While I was going through my local bookstore recently, I came across the PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and its Ports of Call; all three of you folks out there who read my blog regularly may recall that I previously reviewed the Passporter Disneyland Resort and I was pretty impressed, so I picked up this book in the hope that it'd be a big help in planning for my cruise as I'm sure that PassPorter Disneyland Resort would be to someone planning a trip to Anaheim. After having read the book, I'm convinced that I made a great choice.

PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line (please forgive me for abbreviating the title!) is a comprehensive guide to the Disney Cruise Line experience. If Jennifer and Dave Marx don't provide just about every bit of information you might need for planning and enjoying a Disney cruise, they come pretty darned close. They thoroughly cover your options when booking a Disney cruise, including the different types of cruises available, the best times to go, and even the differences in stateroom categories, and give the reader tools and tips to help plan out their cruise itinerary and budget; they also cover everything happening on board, including dining and activities for various age groups. Jennifer and Dave also cover the ports visited by the Disney Cruise Line, giving the reader a rough lay of the land for each port, discussing the various port excursions offered by Disney (and alternatives to Disney-sponsored port excursions that might save passengers some money), and briefing the reader on activities that cruise passengers can pursue on their own.
As you might expect from a PassPorter guide, the information is well organized and easy to review and refer to, and as with their other books, Jennifer and Dave are happy to share their thoughts and their readers' thoughts on the various elements that make up a Disney cruise. They even provide information about the latest Disney itineraries and ports of call and provide information about the new Disney cruise ships - information that was curiously missing from the Birnbaum Guide.

I was really impressed by Passporter's Disney Cruise Line, but it's not a perfect book. Fans of the ringed binder format of most PassPorter books and of the PassPockets for storing important documents and reminders of their vacation will be disappointed to learn that the book comes in a standard bound format, with nary a PassPocket in sight (although you can pay a little more for the deluxe edition of the book and get it in the traditional format). It's not quite as colorful as the traditional PassPorter guides or the Birnbaum Guide, and since it's not an official Disney book, there aren't any photos of the Disney characters (although the Marxes include enough photos of their family enjoying the amenities of a Disney cruise that you'll still get a good idea what being on board is like). None of these faults is a deal-breaker, though.

PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and its Ports of Call is a thorough and easy to use guide to just about everything you'd need to know to plan and get the most out of your Disney Cruise Line vacation. I think Disney could take a few lessons from the Marxes on how to put together a guidebook to Disney cruises, as the book does a great job of providing almost all the information someone would need to plan, book, and prepare for a voyage on the Disney Magic or the Disney Wonder. If you can only pick up one guidebook to prepare for your Disney Cruise Line vacation, make it this one.

1 comment:

Michael said...

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