Navy cruise books are not a new invention; in fact, you could say the ships log kept by Christopher Columbus was a forerunner of what we have today. Essentially a cruise book exists to document the daily life and important events that take place during a specific Navy voyage. Though they have existed in one format or another since men could float on the seas, they wouldn’t become a part of mainstream military life until after WWII. This Naval war would firmly establish the practice for future generations to enjoy.
What Goes in a Cruise Book?
Cruise books are generally a chronicling of a specific voyage on a particular vessel. Navy Cruise books are published in both wartime and peace. Each book will be unique to the events and special circumstances of the voyage. For instance, one particular cruise may include a visit from a notable figure, while others will not. Generally speaking, the time line of a cruise book will begin when they set sail and conclude when the voyage is completed. You can expect pictures of each individual sailor, both candid and professional along with images from ports of call and interesting events.
Who Compiles the Book?
Much like a school yearbook, cruise books are put together by a committee comprised of soldiers on the ship. Crew members will put together each book with the goal of providing insight into the daily life of a Navy member. Most of the cost for the memory book will be passed to individual members in addition to contributions from the Morale, Welfare and Recreation funds.
Many Navy members are away from home for months or even years at a time and the Navy Cruise book provides a way to give their families insight into what the experience was like. When your spouse or children ask what you did while you were away, you have a picture history to share with them. This can also be beneficial when it is time to leave again, as the kids can thumb through the pages and feel like they are there with you in a sense.
Ships logs and cruise books can be an invaluable tool to historians as well. Though they are not considered official historical accounts they still provide a ton of information and clarity about specific events, tours and actions of the US Navy. In fact, since 2003, all copies of deployment books and cruise books are to be made available to the United States Navy in the interest of preserving the historical details contained within the pages.