The ultimate cruisers reading guide

Thursday, January 10, 2019
By Azamara

When on a luxury cruise, there is nothing more delightful than enjoying a great book. Whether it’s a romance, crime thriller or travel book, having something to enjoy by the pool, on a beach or in your suite at the end of the day is a must. But, if you need some tips on what to pack then this article is for you.

We talk to some avid travellers and travel readers who give us the books they’d recommend everyone pack on a trip. At the end of this article, the question won’t be what to take, but how many books you think you can fit into your case! 

Under the Tuscan sun book header Azamara

Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

We spoke to Jolene and Andrzej, bloggers at Wanderlust Storytellers. A family travel blog where they write about their life on the road. We asked why reading is so important to them: “Reading, for me has always been a way to escape monotone reality and venture out to new places. Reading travel books has inspired me to visit destinations that I would not have otherwise thought of.”

We asked for their number one recommendation: “My number one book is Under the Tuscan Sun, a book by Frances Mayes. In my opinion, the best book that you should take travelling is a book that inspires you to explore more. And this is one of those books!

“This book opened my eyes on the world of travel and possibilities. Thanks to this read, I have found the love for Italy and especially the Tuscan region. If you are looking for a great book to take travelling, “Under the Tuscan Sun” will not disappoint. This book is easy to read and the story takes you to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Both thumbs up from me!” 

Free Country book header Azamara

Free Country. A penniless adventure the length of Britain by George Manhood

We spoke to Sofie, travel blogger at Wonderful Wanderings. Sofie helps people plan holidays, as well as blogging about her own experiences. Something that she talks about a lot is reading, we asked her why it’s so important to her: “Reading is important to me because it opens my mind to new ideas, cultures, ways of thinking and places. It's also important because it helps me discover new writing styles and expands my own toolset as a writer.”We then asked Sofie for her number one book recommendation for someone who is travelling: “That's a tough one as it all depends on what kind of genre you like, but if you like something light and funny that's still really well-written, I'd recommend George Mahood's "Free country. A penniless adventure the length of Britain". It's the true story of two friends who set out to bike the length of Britain in nothing but their underwear. Their aim is to get all they need - including bikes - from people along the road. It's one of those books you can read in one go as it flows so effortlessly.” 

Shantaram book header Azamara

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Karen is a family travel blogger at Mini Travellers. With herself, her husband and her three kids in town, Karen travels the world as much as possible: “Reading is so important to me as it is time off, time to dream, time to relax and time to let your mind learn more about the world around you. I genuinely can't imagine a life without reading and my greatest luxury on a trip is having time to devour books.”

We then asked Karen what her recommendation would be: “Shantaram, I fell in love with this book whilst in Delhi. The book follows the story of an escaped Australian convict who finds his way to India where he falls in love, works for gangsters, fights the Russians in Afghanistan, gets imprisoned in Bombay, becomes a professional forger and an amateur doctor and experiences life in an Indian slum. It’s a fabulous book although not entirely realistic!”

I Let Go Miss You book header Azmara

I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh & Miss You by Kate Eberlen

We spoke to Abbie Jade Wanders, avid reader and travel blogger. Abbie travels the world with her partner but always finds time to unwind with a good book. She told us why reading is so important to her: “Reading is super important to me, it’s just the perfect way to relax! I love taking a couple of hours to just fall beneath the pages of a gritty crime thriller or an enchanting romance. You know those ones that you simply don’t want to end?”

We then asked Abbie what book she would recommend someone packed on their next trip: “Ooh now that is a tough one, so I’ll be greedy and pick two. For the avid fan of gritty crime thriller I’d have to say Clare Mackintosh I Let You Go and for those of you wanting to fall head over heels for a tremendous, albeit melancholic love story it would have to be Miss You by Kate Eberlen.”

Abbie offered one final tip: “Maybe my biggest recommendation though, would be to read on a tablet device because - unlimited books, without taking up any of that precious space!” 

A Fraction of the Whole book header Azmara

A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz

Tine Hemeryck is a freelance journalist and passionate traveller at Fractions of the World. With writing in her veins, we asked why reading is such a beloved pastime for her: “In my opinion, if you like travelling then you’re bound to love reading. To me, reading novels is a form of travelling on itself: you’re travelling to different times and different places. When I know what my next destination will be, I like to pick a novel or travel story that is set in that country to read just before I take off or while I’m there. For example, when I travelled to La Réunion, I read Don’t let go of my hand by Michael Bussi. When I went to Montana, I read John Steinbeck’s ‘Travels with Charley’. When I went to the Alps I read Kastelau by Charles Lewinsky, when I was in Venice, I read L.S. Hilton’s Domina and so on. Reading those books is a way of getting into the history or atmosphere of a destination, even when some of the stories or books are fiction. There’s always something there to recognize”

Tine gave us her recommendation: “Answering this question is just as hard as answering the question ‘What’s your favourite destination’. Every destination has its reasons to be visited, every book has its reasons to be read. And just like countries, enjoying a book depends on so much: the story itself, your surroundings, the timing or the mood you’re in. Sometimes when you revisit a country it feels different, sometimes when you reread a book it feels different because there are all these factors at play. It’s like tasting food abroad: something you’ve enjoyed so much while in a different country, doesn’t taste as good back at home.  

“There is one book though that I never grow tired of: ‘A Fraction of the Whole’ by Steve Toltz. It follows three generations of a crazy family and is set in Australia, France and Thailand. I have a habit of underlining passages that I like in pencil so that I can find them after I finished a book. This book is so full of wit and wisdom that there’s pencil on practically every page.  It even inspired my blog name ...” 

Shannon ODonnell Quote Header Azamara

Shannon O’Donnell

Shannon O’Donnell, blogger at A Little Adrift was recently voted National Geographic’s Traveller of the Year. We asked her why reading is something she continues to adore: “Stories transport us to another time and place and give us the opportunity to sink into a new perspective. For many of the same reasons I love travelling, I love reading as an act of vicariously travelling through an experience I may never get to otherwise experience. A great book widens your story of the world, and of the diverse types of humanity found in every corner of it.”

We asked Shannon what book she would recommend: “Rather than recommend a single book, I instead advocate for travellers more deeply understanding the place they are about to visit through any relevant book that strikes their fancy. Read a book either set in or about your destination or find one written by a local author. While I often choose books that shed light on something of past historical significance in the country I'm visiting (think things about a war, or history of an iconic sight, etc), there are also fascinating fiction and non-fiction accounts that focus more on culture and story. By reading about these aspects of your destination, you'll have a deeper and enriching cultural experience for knowing more about the people and place.”


The ultimate cruisers reading list:

  • Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

  • Free Country. A penniless adventure the length of Britain. By George Mahood

  • Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

  • I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

  • Miss You by Kate Eberlen

  • A Fraction of a Whole by Steve Toltz

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