Official Steamship Guide Ceases Publication Ending An Era

Official Steamship Guide 1975
Official Steamship Guide 1975

After 84 years of nearly continuous publication, interrupted only by the second World War, the Official Steamship Guide (OSG) has shut down.  If your were a travel agent or booked a cruise through a travel agent anytime prior to the mid-1980’s chances are your representative consulted this quarterly guide book which was considered for years to be the bible of passenger shipping.  Rather than write a lengthy eulogy for another vanished relic of the good-0ld days, it seems appropriate to allow Michaela Barber the last publisher of the Official Steamship Guide to explain the closure in a letter sent to subscribers:

“Nothing is as constant as change and this year we decided to close the Official Steamship Guide after 84 years. The OSG has been in our family since it was started by my husband’s uncle in the 1930’s.

“Except during WWII, the OSG was published continuously. During the war, the government didn’t want the enemy to know where the ships were at any given time, so publishing was suspended.

“Even after the war, ships were used mainly use to go from one country to the other. It wasn’t until 1959 that travel shifted from ships to airplanes.

“The internet changed many things, including pretty much all print publications. The availability of online information has made the OSG no longer relevant for the new generation of travel agents. So it is with much regret, that we had to close our business after so many years.“The cruise industry had to reinvent themselves and with shows like the “Love Boat” on TV, cruising became an all inclusive vacation, with the ships being as important as the destinations. Today, we have floating cities at sea.

“My husband Michael, ran the OSG for 26 years. Due to his failing health, I took over the running of our business 10 years ago. Michael passed away on September 9. 2015.

“I will miss talking to so many of my subscribers and thank all of you so much for supporting the Official Steamship Guide for all those years.”


Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

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