About Douglas Ward

He has received worldwide praise for his Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships and Berlitz River Cruising in Europe and the USA guidebooks and is acknowledged as the world’s foremost independent authority on cruising and the cruise industry.

  • At the prestigious UK Travel Media Awards event in October 2018 in London he was nominated and jointly won the Best Guidebook category for his Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships guidebook.
  • His guidebooks have helped more people make the right decisions about their cruise vacation and cruise ship choices than any other book.
  • In 1985 his Berlitz Cruising and Cruise Ships guidebook was the first to introduce three ship size categories: Intimate (from 10,000-20,000 tons); Medium (between 10,0001-20,000 tons), and Large (Over 30,000 tons).
  • In the 1997 edition, he introduced a fourth size category: Intimate (under 10,000 tons); Small, Medium, and Large.
  • In 2005 he further created the categories as they are today (Boutique, Small, Mid-Size, and Large Resort Ships), based on the number of passengers carried (and fire zones).
  • He has has travelled to more than 1,800 ports of call – many of them repeatedly.
  • In the 1980s, he toured the USA for CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), representing the cruise industry nationwide during more than 30 live television and radio interviews in the USA.
  • In 1982 he founded PortHole Magazine, which he sold to Panoff Publications in 1996 (it is still published in the USA).
  • He has appeared as cruise expert on major television shows and stations throughout the United States, including “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” and “CNN Travel Guide”.
  • For several years, he supplied the extensive cruise ship reviews for The Telegraph website, together with destination and cruise features for both website and newspaper.
  • In 2001 he made nine proposals at the “Safety of Large Passenger Ships” conference at the Institute of Marine Engineers in London, one of which (Proposal Four – requiring the muster station or lifeboat number to be printed on cabin key cards) has been adopted by most cruise lines.
  • He has made many cruise lectures/presentations, including: World Congress of ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) in Hamburg, at Seatrade cruise conferences in Miami and Hamburg, among others.
  • Together with maritime historian John Maxstone-Graham (now deceased), he has presented lectures at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., and, more recently, at the November 2016 cruise conference organised by the Japan Transport Research Institute (a government body).
  • In 2013 he gave the keynote speech about the global cruise industry, at the Cruise Tourism Seminar presented by the UK’s Plymouth University.
  • In 2015 he gave the keynote speech at the World Congress of the International Association of Ports and Harbours, in Hamburg, Germany.
  • In the 1990s, he was keynote speaker and panel participant at the Yokohama International Cruise Conference for several years.
  • In 1985, following the Achille Lauro seajacking, he represented the cruise industry at a House of Representatives Subcommittee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries (Ninety-Ninth Congress,  Serial No. 99-17 (pages 210-217) regarding cruise ship security.
  • He has made several documentaries for television channels, including:
  • 30-minute documentary for Germany’s NDR in 2001 (ocean cruising)
  • 30-minute documentary for Germany’s ZDF in 2004 (ocean cruising)
  • 60-minute Der Spiegel TV documentary in 2002 (ocean cruising)
  • 18-minute documentary for ZDF in 2005 (river cruising)
  • He writes a regular two-page feature for the bi-monthly CRUISE magazine in Japan.
  • In his youth, he worked for eight cruise companies: Cunard Line, Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, Furness Withy, Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), Royal Mail Lines, Shaw Savill, Ulysses Line and Union Castle Line.
  • His first seagoing job was as leader of a small musical unit aboard RMS Queen Elizabeth (1965) and met several film stars, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. He also met and talked to giants of the music world, including Leopold Stokowski (conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra).
  • When working aboard Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) he met and talked to Buzz Aldrin (about the idea of a space cruise).