Which UK cruise lines offer the best onboard libraries for literary enthusiasts?

Are you passionate about reading and plan to embark on a sea voyage? Or perhaps you're a regular cruiser looking for a new experience? If so, you're probably interested in finding out which UK cruise lines offer the best onboard libraries. This article will guide you through the top contenders, helping you make the most informed decision for your literary voyage.

First, let's explore why this aspect is important and how a great onboard library can enhance your cruise experience. Afterward, we will dive deep into the full details of the libraries aboard different ships, their general ambience, and what makes them unique. We will also look at the types of cabins closest to these libraries for those of you who prefer to enjoy a good book in the comfort of your own cabin.

Why an Onboard Library Matters

Cruises are often a week-long, or sometimes even longer, journey. During these long nights and days at sea, having a good book to immerse yourself in can be a delightful experience. This is why onboard libraries have become an essential part of the ship. The best cruise lines ensure that their libraries are well-stocked with a variety of genres and authors, catering to the diverse tastes of their guests.

If you're a book lover, having access to a well-stocked library can make your cruise experience even more memorable. It allows you to explore new authors and genres, or perhaps re-visit old favourites. In addition, libraries also offer a serene ambience, providing a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the ship's activities.

Viking Cruises: A Luxurious Library Experience

When it comes to onboard libraries, Viking Cruises has set a high bar. Each Viking ship boasts an impressive library, meticulously curated and managed. The books are sorted into different categories, making it easy for guests to find their preferred genre.

The libraries on Viking ships are located on the upper deck, offering a stunning sea view. They are furnished with comfortable seating and a warm, inviting décor that enhances the reading experience. The ambience is one of tranquility and luxury, providing the perfect setting for engrossing yourself in a good book.

What sets Viking Cruises apart is their focus on regional books, which reflect the destinations visited during the cruise. This allows you to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the places you're visiting, enhancing your overall travel experience.

Cunard Cruises: The Largest Floating Book Collection

Cunard Cruises is renowned for having one of the largest floating book collections in the world. Their flagship, Queen Mary 2, boasts an impressive library with over 10,000 books, which is certainly a treat for any literary enthusiast.

The library is situated on deck 8, offering panoramic views of the sea. The décor is reminiscent of a traditional British library, with dark wood paneling, deep-set leather chairs, and a spiral staircase leading to the upper level. This ambience, coupled with the vast selection of books, creates an enchanting literary experience.

Cunard's collection includes classics, best-sellers, biographies, travel guides, and more. There's also a dedicated section for maritime literature, reflecting the company's long and storied history at sea.

P&O Cruises: A Modern Library Experience

P&O Cruises offer a modern and relaxed library experience. Their ships, like the Britannia, feature a well-stocked library with a focus on contemporary literature. In addition, guests can enjoy a variety of newspapers and magazines, allowing them to keep up with current events while at sea.

The library is situated mid-ship on deck 7, and the décor is sleek and modern, with plenty of natural light. The ambience is relaxed and casual, making it a great place to unwind with a good book.

P&O Cruises also offer e-books and audio books in their library collection, catering to the preferences of all guests. In addition, they have a selection of travel books that cover the ship's itinerary, providing insights into the destinations on your cruise.

Saga Cruises: A Curated Library for Mature Travellers

Saga Cruises cater to mature travellers, and this is reflected in their onboard libraries. Their ships, like the Spirit of Discovery, feature a carefully curated library with a focus on best-sellers, classics, and books of historical interest.

The library is located on the main deck and offers a quiet, comfortable space for reading. The décor is elegant and refined, with plush seating and a warm, welcoming ambience.

One unique feature of Saga Cruises' library is their 'Author of the Month' program. Each month, the library features a specific author, providing guests a chance to delve into their works. This not only enriches the reading experience but also fosters a sense of community among the guests.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines: A Classic Library Experience

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offer a remarkably classic library experience onboard their ships. Known for a more traditional cruise voyage, their libraries reflect this ethos with a collection that mirrors the rich and diverse literary tastes of their passengers.

Situated on the upper berth of the ship, their libraries offer an astonishing ocean view, adding another dimension to your reading experience. The ambience nights are calm and serene, providing the perfect setting for late-night reading. The décor is traditionally British, with leather-bound books, mahogany woodwork, and vintage maps adorning the walls.

Their collection offers a wide range of genres, from classics to contemporary works, biographies to travelogues. They also stock an exhaustive collection of maritime literature, a nod to their rich seafaring heritage. This adds to the overall cruise experience, as passengers can get insights into the maritime history, the great lakes and the northern lights, depending on their cruise itinerary.

The cabins closest to the library are well-equipped with a double bed, ample storage space, and a flat screen to watch literary adaptations if you wish. A unique feature of the Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines is the in-cabin tea and coffee facility, allowing you to enjoy a warm beverage while delving into your book.

For British Isles discovery and other itineraries, the library stocks local literature and travel guides, providing an enhanced understanding of the visited regions. The library staff are always on hand to recommend reads according to your preferences, adding a personalised touch to your literary journey.

Conclusion: Choosing the Best Literary Cruise Experience

The best cruise line for you as a literary enthusiast depends on what you are looking for in your reading and cruise experience. Viking Cruises offer a luxurious library experience with a focus on regional books. Cunard Cruises have one of the largest floating book collections in the world, offering an enchanting literary journey. P&O Cruises offer a modern library experience, complete with e-books and audio books. Saga Cruises offer a curated library for mature travellers with unique features like the 'Author of the Month' program.

If you prefer a more classic and traditional cruise, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines offer a remarkable library experience onboard their ships. Their collection, ambience, and additional features like in-cabin tea and coffee facilities can make your cruise a memorable one.

The final decision should be based on what you value most - be it the collection size, ambience, location, additional facilities, or the specific focus of the library. No matter which cruise line you choose, make sure it enhances your overall cruise experience. After all, a great book and the open sea make for a perfect pair.

Remember, the joy of reading is not confined to land. These cruise lines prove that you can enjoy a fantastic literary experience while sailing the seas. As the cruise critic, London Tilbury, once said, "A good cruise ship library is a window to the world, offering a snapshot of the infinite possibilities that await." So, embark on your journey with a good book and let the seas tell their stories.

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