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The Best Cruise Vacation Sites

What's the Best Place to Book a Cruise Vacation?

You've finally got some time off, and you've decided you want the full-experience: sailing, relaxing, and new and exciting ports of call everywhere you go. With meals and (sometimes) drinks included, who wouldn't want to sit back, relax and let a cruise crew take care of you during a well-deserved vacation?

Whether you're taking a quick 3-day trip or you're looking for a long experience-packed cruise, there's options out there for everyone. But finding the right company to book your cruise through can be overwhelming. While some people like to book directly with a cruise line, booking through a travel site or an agency can often lead to big cost savings.

Friday, March 1st

2024 Cruise Vacation Site Reviews

Cruise Direct Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating

Cruise Direct

5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Cruise Direct is the perfect choice for booking your next cruise vacation. The website offers effortless browsing and cruises based on your preferences including luxury cruises, family cruises, LGBTQIA+ cruises, or cruises for adults only. Cruise Direct provides promotions and discounts to decrease the price, and a price-match guarantee if the price offered on the site can be found lower somewhere else. Cruise Direct delivers excellent value for money and a user-friendly system for discovering and booking your next cruise, making it our top recommendation in this review.

Priceline Review 4.5 Star Rating

Priceline

4.5 Star Rating

Priceline offers an affordable cruise booking service with a user-friendly search function and modern design. Despite the $24.99 non-refundable booking fee, their Price Match Guarantee program and special deals for email subscribers make it an attractive option. Priceline is $100 cheaper on average compared to booking directly with the cruise ship. Although reviews are mixed, it is more popular than many options in this review. Overall, Priceline is a website worth checking out for an affordable cruise vacation or vacation package, and it easily comes in as the second-place option in this review.

Cruises Only Review 4 Star Rating

Cruises Only

4 Star Rating

Cruises Only offers a wide range of cruises, including popular and luxury options, with exclusive deals and a price-match guarantee. However, there's a non-refundable processing fee and the site's interface can feel outdated. Customer ratings are generally positive, but some mention difficulties with customer service and insurance options. Overall, Cruises Only is a good option for people looking for a variety of cruise options, competitive prices, and exclusive deals. It follows closely behind our second-place option in this review.

Expedia Review 3.5 Star Rating

Expedia

3.5 Star Rating

Expedia is a well-known travel booking site, but it has poor customer feedback regarding the site's customer service. While Expedia does offer discounted prices for popular cruises, it wasn't designed specifically for that type of vacation, so it has a less user-friendly interface for cruise searches than its competitors. With these things considered, you might want to search somewhere else for your next cruise. However, if you need to book other travel arrangements along with your cruise, Expedia may be worth considering.

Vacation Outlet Review 2.5 Star Rating

Vacation Outlet

2.5 Star Rating

Compared to top-rated, full-service cruise booking websites that provide comprehensive services, Vacation Outlet doesn't compete. Despite its claim of providing outlet prices, we found no notable discounts compared to other booking sites that are ranked higher in our review. The site has an outdated interface and the company has received negative customer reviews for its customer service. Although it may be a more suitable option for individuals seeking a complete itinerary, it is still behind other more modern and comprehensive booking sites in our review. Therefore, we recommend selecting a higher-rated service for your next cruise vacation.

Orbitz Review 2.5 Star Rating

Orbitz

2.5 Star Rating

Orbitz is a popular travel agency that is owned by the same company as Expedia, but it falls short of other companies in terms of cruise search engine competitiveness. Although the website's browsing and booking process is similar to Expedia's, the pricing isn't nearly as good. On top of this, the considerable number of negative customer reviews for Orbitz is a concern. While Orbitz might be good for arranging extensive trips, there are superior choices for booking cruises.

Travelocity Review 2 Star Rating

Travelocity

2 Star Rating

Travelocity is another company owned by Expedia Group and offers some of the same pitfalls in searches or narrowing criteria as its sister websites. The website's browsing and booking process is similar to Expedia's, with minimal search options and criteria for the initial search. However, the reviews for Travelocity are even worse than for its sister companies. With the considerable number of negative customer reviews, we don't feel very confident about Travelocity. Since it's worse than its sister companies, it falls, unfortunately, in last place in this review.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Booking a cruise through a travel agency or booking site can provide you with helpful comparisons of various cruise lines, ships, and itineraries all in one place. A good site allows for easy searching so you can find the cruises that best match your preferences. Travel agents have access to exclusive discounts, promotions, and package deals that may not be available to the general public.

Plus, with many sites you can book other travel arrangements you need at the same time. Want to take a cruise from Spain? A vacation website can help you find the best deals on flights, hotels, and other travel arrangements so your cruise can go off without a hitch.

Online travel agencies are a popular choice for booking cruises. In a survey conducted by Statista in 2020, 61% of respondents who had booked a cruise in the past two years said they had used a travel agency to make the arrangements. The survey found that users booked cruises through travel agencies to get peace of mind and convenience. A good travel agency will provide you with support and assistance, ensuring that you have a stress-free and enjoyable vacation.

Cruising is an amazing experience, and you deserve to really enjoy your time off. Finding the right online travel agency to book your cruise vacation is essential to having a stress-free experience. So, how can you pick the best place to book your next cruise vacation?

Here are several factors to keep in mind as you search for the best seafaring voyage.

  • Cost. Many online travel agencies offer deals and packages that aren't available anywhere else. However, there are sometimes fees associated with purchasing from the agency. Do you only care about the best deal possible? Or are you looking to invest a little more money in a secure and easy travel itinerary? It's important to find a good balance between value and cost.
  • Locations. One of the best parts of a cruise vacation is sailing to new countries and seeing the sites. Some travel sites will offer different options, so if you're looking for a particular location or a dream cruise, make sure that the travel site has what you need.
  • Entertainment. When you're booking a cruise, you have to remember some of your time will be spent at sea. Without port excitement to keep you busy, what are you going to do on the ship? When looking at where you want to book your next cruise, take into account the on-ship entertainment options, drink packages, and shows of each cruise line and itinerary before you make your selection.
  • Full itinerary. What kind of options does the travel site have for your whole itinerary? Do you need to fly to your cruise port? Do you need a hotel to stay a few days before the cruise starts? Or are you only looking for the cruise itself? Keep in mind what other kinds of travel you might be doing when you book your next cruise.

To help you streamline the booking process for your next at-sea getaway, Top Consumer Reviews has reviewed and ranked the best sites that offer cruise vacations available today. We hope this information helps you relax and enjoy your next voyage with confidence about your entire travel itinerary. Bon voyage!

The Best Cruise Vacation Sites Compare Cruise Vacation Sites Compare Cruise Vacation Site Reviews What are the best Cruise Vacation Sites Best Cruise Vacation Site Reviews

Cruise Vacation Site FAQ

While people joke that cruises are only for the "newly-wed and nearly dead" , there are lots of loyal cruisers across all ages. People love the opportunity to see several different destinations during one trip (with the convenience of having all of your belongings safely kept in your stateroom, no need to change hotels), to try world-class cuisine, or even to have the kids happily entertained by cruise staff while the adults relax, gamble, or go to performances.
Each company has its own personality: some lines pride themselves on being family-friendly, while others actually prohibit guests under the age of 18 or 21! Are you looking for a "party boat" with plenty of drinks and dancing, a more formal atmosphere with tuxedos and ball gowns for dinner, or something in between? Do some research online and with people you know who have cruised before: you'll get plenty of input to help you choose a cruise you'll love.
Yes and no. It's possible to get a great deal on a cruise in the off-season (in the US, that's usually May and September/October): you could have an amazing vacation for under $100/night per person. On the other hand, if you've always dreamed of sailing at Christmas or you're only available during spring break, expect to pay premium prices. The type of stateroom you select will also affect the price: an interior stateroom will be the most economical, while an ocean view, veranda, or concierge-level stateroom will increase your fare. Also, many cruise lines give you a discount for the third and fourth guests within a single cabin.
Most cruise lines only allow reservations about 18 months in advance. If you're able to book that early, that's likely when you'll get the lowest possible fares. However, if you've got some flexibility, you can often find good deals on last-minute cruises too (e.g. anywhere from two weeks to two months before sailing): as people cancel, the cruise lines want to fill those spots up, even at a discount. Whether you're booking well in advance or close to your sailing date, it's always wise to get a travel insurance policy because you may not get your money back if you cancel.
Not exactly. Each cruise line varies with respect to what's included and what's not. For example, one family-favorite cruise line has a complimentary soda station that's open 24 hours, while another line popular among college kids and bargain hunters only offers lemonade, coffee and tea. You'll never be lacking opportunities to eat, but many cruise ships have premium restaurants that are reservation-only and come with an extra cost. Alcoholic beverages, spa services, and off-ship experiences are almost never included in the cruise fare. And, don't forget the gratuities!
Shore excursions are organized activities you can participate in during your ports of call. These include active adventures like snorkeling or hiking to ancient ruins, food experiences like wine tasting or chocolate tours, and so much more. You can book shore excursions directly through your cruise line or through a third-party company; just make sure that you're guaranteed to be returned to your ship on time if you go with an outside provider!
Not necessarily. On the largest cruise ships - the kinds that carry thousands of passengers - you might not even realize that you're moving! If you're prone to motion sickness, however, you may want to bring an over-the-counter motion sickness medication or consider alternative remedies like acupressure bands or ginger capsules.
Are you sure you want to? If you need to stay on top of world events, most ships give you access to cable news networks, The Weather Channel, and several other stations on the TV in your stateroom. You can make calls using the ship's phones, though it's usually around $3/minute. Your cruise line probably has options for internet access as well. And, you can often find free Wifi access in your ports of call; lots of cruisers use their stops to quickly check emails and let people back home know that all is well.
The Best Reviews of Cruise Vacation Sites