Cruises are an exciting way to explore new destinations, but they also provide time to indulge in simple pleasures that busy lives don’t always have room for – such as settling into an easy chair to read a good book.
A well-stocked library of books ready to be borrowed was once a standard feature on cruise ships. Now, many passengers bring their own reading material on e-readers, tablet computers or smartphones. As a result, some ships have reduced the size of their libraries, or replaced them with internet cafes and wine bars.
Still, there are still quite a few ships that feature sizable libraries; these include some of the ships of Cunard Line, Oceania Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, and Holland America Line, among others.
The ships of Cunard Line have some of the most extensive libraries at sea; each has at least 7,000 books. The majority are in English, but some are in German, Spanish, French, Japanese, or Chinese. The libraries are staffed by professional librarians who can help you find a book you’ll enjoy. The furnishings – leather sofas and armchairs, wood-and-glass shelving – will make you feel like a guest at an elegant English manor house. The Queen Victoria even boasts a two-level library, with the lower level (nonfiction) connected to the upper (fiction) by a beautiful spiral staircase.
Oceania’s Insignia, Nautica, Regatta, and Sirena also feature English-style libraries, complete with marble-mantled fireplaces, comfortable chairs, thick carpets, and elegantly painted ceilings. The upcoming Vista, scheduled to debut in 2023, promises a top-deck library stylishly furnished by Ralph Lauren Home. Glass walls will provide stunning views of the sea when you happen to look up from your book.
Celebrity’s Solstice-class ships have circular libraries with towering bookshelves that are integrated into the central atrium. Well-lit and decorated with modern art, the libraries’ high-backed chairs are cozy spots for reading.
Holland America’s ships feature libraries that are often curated to match the destination and theme of the itinerary. For example, if you’re sailing the Caribbean, you’ll find island-themed books, travel guides, and maps among the thousands of available volumes. Holland America even runs book clubs on some longer sailings, as well as shorter itineraries that include several days at sea. The selected book is often set in the region the ship is visiting.
If you do borrow a book from a shipboard library, just be sure to return it before you disembark. Happy reading at sea!
Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AtthetaTravel