Hey the press know!! <G> The NY Times too..
Surfing Your Way Out to Sea
By SUSAN STELLIN
Travelers using the Internet to plan a cruise vacation will find a
wealth of Web sites to help with deciding on a cruise and comparing
prices and even getting advice from other travelers about shipboard
Yet most cruisers, particularly those embarking for the first time,
will probably end up relying on a phone call to a travel agent before
making a purchase, since cruise Web sites only address travelers' most
In terms of finding a cruise, there are dozens of sites that let
visitors search databases of information from multiple cruise lines.
They also handle booking and usually offer phone numbers for customers
who need more hand-holding than the Web site can provide.
, visitors can select a destination, the month they
plan to travel, the length of the cruise and a price range. The site
displays a list of cruises from multiple companies that fit the
Surfers can select a listing to get more details on a cruise, like
information about cabins, but the descriptions tend to be limited. For
instance, the site lists ports of call for each cruise, but does not
give any description of what there is to see or do.
works in a similar way, with a somewhat more user-
friendly search feature. You don't have to enter a price range, which
reduces the possibility of getting "no results" for surfers unfamiliar
with cruise pricing, and the site also provides a bit more information
about cruise itineraries.
A third site in this category, www.cruise.com
, offers travelers a few
additional search options, like the ability to search for luxury
cruises or sailings on a small cruise line. Cruise.com also has a "let
us beat your quote" feature; visitors can submit a quote from another
company to see if Cruise.com will offer a lower price.
In addition to sites dedicated to selling cruises, online travel
companies best known for air travel - like Orbitz, Expedia and
Travelocity - have all recently beefed up their cruise sections. All
three sites let visitors search for cruises by destination and tend to
offer more detailed information about each cruise. For example, Expedia
lets prospective passengers click on the name of a port of call for a
description of local points of interest and activities.
For those more interested in networking with other travelers, a handful
of sites like www.cruisemates.com
provide articles on subjects like
what to pack plus message boards organized by topic and detailed
reviews from travelers who have cruised on various ships.