Tom Sheridan is a retired Chemical Engineer from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, in the United States, with an unusual and very time-consuming hobby: researching and writing guides to cruise ports all over the world and making them available to travellers by publishing them on his website, www.tomsportguides.com. He started compiling the guides in 2011 and has so far completed 43 of them, with plans to increase this to 60 port guides by the end of 2014. Each guide takes three weeks to produce.
Tom has travelled widely himself, for work and pleasure. When he got the cruise bug after retirement, he began to realise how difficult it was to find really informative websites about the cruise ports, so he decided to write his own. To start with he shared his guides with a few friends, but they are now used by tens of thousands of people.
As Tom himself says, his guides are "objective, independent and non-commercial", and above all they are free to download in pdf format, offering travellers an extremely useful resource to help with the planning of their cruise.
In addition to providing information about the ports, Tom gives exhaustive advice about how to reach nearby cities and places of interest using local transport. Whenever possible, he collaborates with local people living in the ports in order to make sure his information is absolutely accurate and up-to-date. What's more, Tom and his wife spend their vacation time cruising around the world, researching the ports as they do so.
The information Tom provides really is impressive: walking-tour maps, web links to high resolution maps, coordinates to enable the location of places on Google and Bing maps, and links to websites about the area.
In 2013 alone, Tom has so far produced new guides for the ports of Corner Brook (Newfoundland, Canada), Costa Rica, Aruba, Panama City, Cartagena (Colombia), Boston, Marseille, Katakolon, Newport Rhode Island, Bar Harbor Maine, and Cartagena (Spain). In addition, he has completely updated his guides to Sydney (Nova Scotia, Canada), Santorini, and most recently the port of Livorno. I helped Tom with some of the information he needed for the Livorno guide, and he has kindly linked from his Livorno guide to the Livorno Now site in return. Thanks Tom!