The Cape Journal documents a round the world trip undertaken by Emily P. Cape, a wealthy New Yorker traveling aboard the S.S. Belgenland in the golden days of passenger ship travel. Written in a "log" provided by the cruise ship company, Cape wrote most extensively during the periods in which she was able to take on-shore excursions, leaving interesting records of tours in Japan (Yokohama, Tokyo, Kobe, Kyoto, Nara), Thailand, India (particularly Benares and the Bombay area), and Cairo. Her entries while the ship was cruising between ports are briefer and less informative, but provide some idea of ship-board routine.
The pages of the diary were provided by the tour company, with each day pre-printed with an itinerary and description of the ports visited. The space provided for diary entries is correspondingly small, and blank pages appear not to have been provided (or if they were, were not used by Cape), therefore it may be that the printed form of the diary hampered Cape's ability to write at greater length. More certainly, the precision of the printed descriptions and the exact timing implied suggests how carefully regulated the entire cruise was, and how restricted the tourist's view of the foreign countries would be. The journal also contains a complete printed list of passengers.
Cape laid in a few ephemeral items, including a program for an equator-crossing party, a postcard of the ship, and some samples of Japanese writing.