How to pick the perfect cruise

To get the most out of any holiday, the first rule is to make sure it is the right one for you. When it comes to cruises, there is a bewildering choice of lines, ships and voyages on offer this year.

The most thorough reference book for potential passengers is the annual Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships, which reviews nearly every ocean-going ship in the world. The 28th edition is out and so is its first e-book version. Its author, Douglas Ward, has sailed across the Atlantic 157 times, and spends about 200 days a year at sea. His mission: to examine every ship right down to the last detail.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises will introduce all-inclusive river cruises in Europe. Credit: Reuters

Here are Ward’s top five tips for booking your dream cruise.

Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2013 by Douglas Ward (£17.99, about R257); – The Independent on Sunday