Training & Education
Borrowing Conditions& Reproduction Services
World War II Cruise Books
Cruise books are a pictorial history documenting the daily life and voyages of a ship's crew. The Navy Department Library (NDL) has a large collection of cruise books from the Spanish American War to the present. These books, as well as yearbooks from training stations, Seabee units, ROTC units and other navy groups and activities, total more than 8,000 volumes. To determine if the Library has a particular ship's cruise book, you may review our list of holdings and/or search the catalog (in the library). These booksare not available for purchase.
List of US Navy Ship Cruise Books
List of Seabee Unit CruiseBooks
Naval Training and Education Yearbooks
WorldWar II Cruise Books
Borrowing Conditions and ReproductionServices
Most cruise book in the Navy Department Library may be reproduced. Researchers are encouraged to bring a digital camera to the library, or contact the Naval Historical Foundation concerning purchasing a reproduction. In some cases, photocopying or scanning by visitors and the Naval Historical Foundation will not be permitted when a volume is too fragile. World War II cruise books are not available for interlibrary loan. Duplicate copies of post-World War II cruise books may be loaned to your local library for "in library use" only, if your library agrees to return the books via a commercial courier service such as UPS or FedEx rather than the US Post Office.
The Navy Department Library accepts donations of cruise booksfrom all time periods. Please check the list above to determinewhether the Library already has a copy. If it does not, pleasecontact the Library prior to sending your donation: (202) 433-4132.
OPNAV Instruction 5070.1C (21 August 2003) This Chief of Naval Operations instruction requests that all ships and stations forward two copies of published Navy cruise books and unit histories to the Navy Department Library. The instruction goes on to say that if “published volumes cannot be furnished gratis [for free], forward the information concerning publication and price.” Please note that the Navy Department Library has an extremely limited budget and relies on cruise books being donated by Navy commands. The library has the nation’s largest collection of cruise books. When Navy personnel, veterans and their families, scholars and other researchers look for specific cruise books, it can be almost impossible to locate them if they have not previously been donated to the Navy Department Library. Unfortunately, many sailors depart their ship or unit prior to the distribution of cruise books, and thus never receive them, or the books are lost due to fire and flood etc. Donating cruise books to the Navy Department Library will ensure that your fellow sailors will be able to consult or obtain a reproduction of their ship or unit’s cruise book into the distant future. Please contact the library for mailing instructions prior to sending cruise books and other publications.