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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.

Thursday, May 23rd

2024 Cruise Vacation Site Reviews

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

Cruise Direct

5 Star Rating
  • 7-day popular cruise: $20 more than buying direct
  • 7-day luxury cruise: $200 less than buying direct
  • Price matching
  • Offers regular deals and discounts
  • Book now, pay later option
  • Compare tool
  • Accredited by the BBB
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

If you're looking for a site that specializes in cruise vacations, Cruise Direct is where you want to go. This company has been in business for over 21 years and offers a website that was designed to help you book a cruise.

More than 20 cruise lines

The site offers cruises from 20+ different cruise lines, including budget-friendly cruise lines, luxury cruises, and river cruises. So, whether you want a quick bash with Carnival or an unforgettable Viking river cruise, you can easily find what you need on the Cruise Direct website. The user interface is friendly, and with a price-match guarantee you know you can get the best deals from Cruise Direct.

Great search features and options

Finding a cruise vacation on Cruise Direct is super easy. You can start your search from the Destination tab, the Cruise Line tab, or the Departure Port tab. No matter where you decide to start your search, the website allows you to see all the available cruises with options to narrow down the search to cruise lines, specific dates, prices, number of nights, and what the trip is best for - like seniors, kids, or a romantic getaway. For special options or last-minute adventures, you can check out the Cruise Deals tab, where you can find deals for holiday cruises, last-minute cruises, or even cruises for LGBTQIA+ vacations.

Save your favorites and compare options

One thing we liked about Cruise Direct's search feature is that on each cruise listing there's a little heart button. If you click this, the cruise will be saved so you can keep browsing without losing the cruises you're interested in. On top of this, you can also compare the cruises you've saved side-by-side to help you decide between cruise lines, options, and prices. You can book your cruise now and pay later with their payment plan options.

Best Cruise Vacation Sites

Cruise Direct stacks up well against buying direct

To compare Cruise Direct's prices with competitor sites and cruise lines, we looked at 7-day Caribbean cruises at one luxury and one popular cruise line. For the luxury cruise line, we looked at a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Seabourn. The cost at Cruise Direct was $3,263, which is $200 cheaper than buying direct. and only suites were available. For the popular cruise line, we looked at a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. The cost was $546 for an interior stateroom bought at Cruise Direct which was $42 cheaper than buying direct. However, this was before the special promotions and deals were applied at Cruise Direct which offers 10% Off Shore Excursions, and a 30% off sale. Further, with Cruise Direct's Best Price Guarantee, you can ensure that you end up with the best deal, though this match only works if the lower price is the same type of room and it is available from both sites.

Almost all 5-star reviews

The website has an excellent reputation with accreditation and an "A+" rating at the Better Business Bureau. The site has served over 500,000 customers over its 21+ years in business. Users can reach Cruise Direct's expert support team via online chat or toll-free number for any queries. In terms of user reviews, Cruise Direct has an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars across review sites.

Customers love the low prices

Happy customers noted that they loved the low prices and stellar customer service that they received when booking through Cruise Direct. While some of the unhappy customers noted that they felt they didn't get the best prices from Cruise Direct or had trouble with cancellations, those reviews make up only 2% of the total feedback for Cruise Direct, which is overwhelmingly positive.

Top option for a cruise vacation

Cruise Direct is a reliable and affordable option for those seeking to book a cruise vacation. The site offers an extensive selection of cruises across various cruise lines, and users can easily navigate and select cruises based on their preferences. While the prices for a cruise might be a little higher than buying direct with some lines, they offer deals and discounts to bring the price down, and a same-room price-match guarantee to ensure that you're getting the best deal every time. Cruise Direct offers amazing value for the money and an easy-to-use system to find and book your next cruise. For this reason, it's our top option in this review.

Priceline Review 4.5 Star Rating

Priceline

4.5 Star Rating
  • Popular 7-day cruise: $100+ less than buying direct
  • Luxury 7-day cruise: $450 less than buying direct
  • One-stop-shop for a full travel itinerary
  • Regular deals if you subscribe
  • Accredited by the BBB
  • Processing fee of $24.99

Priceline, known for its innovative approach to booking flights and hotels, offers a similar service for cruises. Their search features include as many criteria as possible, and their cruise landing page offers you quick looks at popular cruise options with pricing visible.

Price match guarantee offsets booking fee

Despite this user-friendly model, Priceline unfortunately charges a nonrefundable booking fee of $24.99 for cruise vacations. However, they do offer special deals for those who sign up for email notifications as well as last-minute cruises if you want an impromptu vacation. One positive aspect of Priceline is that they offer a Price Match Guarantee program, which can help offset the downside of their booking fee.

Modern and comprehensive search

The search function for Priceline is user-friendly and has a modern design. The site offers cruises from 30+ cruise lines including popular, budget-friendly lines, luxury cruises, and river cruises. However, it's hard to look deeper into the cruise listings without losing your spot on the page. If you want to compare cruises, you'll have to open the particular itinerary in a different tab or window to keep scrolling on the Priceline site. We wish there was a compare feature that made it easy to look at multiple cruises at the same time.

Averages at $100 cheaper than buying direct

To compare Priceline's options with competing costs, we looked at one luxury and one popular cruise line and compared 7-day Caribbean trips. For the luxury cruise line, we looked at a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Oceania. The cost for an interior stateroom on Priceline was $1,349. The same room was $1,799 on Oceania's website. For the popular cruise line, we looked at a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. The cost was $651 for an interior stateroom on Priceline, and $749 if you booked directly with Royal Caribbean. Even with the $24.99 processing fee from Priceline, the price difference is amazing. You're getting a better deal at Priceline than buying directly.

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Stands out with reviews on vacation listings

One thing we liked about Priceline is that each cruise vacation listing offers reviews in the top right corner to let you know how popular that cruise vacation has been with travelers in the past. And since Priceline offers options for other travel itinerary items, you can book flights or hotels in the same place for a one-stop vacation shop.

Well-rated for customer service

Speaking of reviews and business ratings, Priceline is accredited by the BBB with a "B+" rating. Though a 2-star average out of 5 isn't amazing, it is better than several options in this review. Reviewers at Trustpilot were the happiest, awarding Priceline a 75% positive user rating. The satisfied reviewers covered topics like how easy it was for them to book with Priceline and repeated comments about how stellar the customer service representatives were at Priceline. The lower reviews noted that users had trouble getting their money back after cancellations, even when the cancellation wasn't their fault.

Great budget-friendly option

Priceline's cruise booking service is a great option for travelers who want great prices on their next cruise vacation. The website's user-friendly search function and modern design make it easy to find and book the perfect cruise. Although the $24.99 non-refundable booking fee is a drawback, Priceline's Price Match Guarantee program and special deals for email subscribers make it an attractive option. Additionally, Priceline's prices are on average $100 cheaper than buying directly from the cruise line itself.

Popular with customers

While the reviews aren't as high as we'd like, it is more popular with customers than many options in this review. Overall, if you're looking for a great deal on a cruise vacation, or somewhere to book a complete vacation package, Priceline is a website worth checking out. For these reasons, we put it as our second-place option in this review.

Cruises Only Review 4 Star Rating

Cruises Only

4 Star Rating
  • Popular 7-day cruise: $100+ less than buying direct
  • Luxury 7-day cruise: $450 less than buying direct
  • On-ship credit with tiered options based on booking costs
  • "A+" rating from the BBB
  • Processing fee of $24.99

Cruises Only is an online booking site that specializes in cruise lines. Owned by the parent company World Travel Holdings, Cruises Only offers a wide range of cruise lines to choose from.

Variety of cruise lines, but clunky interface

With 21 different companies available, the selection includes popular and budget-friendly cruise lines as well as luxury options. Like a few other options in our evaluation, there is a non-refundable processing fee of $24.99 when you book with Cruises Only. While the searches offer a variety of ships and vacations, the site is a little clunky and feels outdated.

On-ship credit when you spend with Cruises Only

One of the features we liked with Cruises Only is that they offer exclusive deals and bonus offers like up to $1,500 to spend on board, up to a $1,500 Visa Prepaid Card, or up to $2,000 cash back when you buy with them. This is a tiered system based on how much you spend during booking. So for people looking for budget-friendly cruises, you may only get $25 for onboard credit if you spend under $1,000 on your booking.

Price match guarantee for 110% of the difference

Cruises Only also offers a price-match guarantee that promises if you find a lower price on another website within 48 hours of booking with Cruises Only, they will refund you 110% of the difference (if you buy a cruise with Cruises Only for $500, and find the exact same room and cruise for $400, Cruises Only will reimburse you $110).

Competitive rates for cruise deals

To compare the Cruises Only options with booking directly with the cruise lines, we looked at one luxury and one popular cruise line and compared 7-day Caribbean trips. For the luxury cruise line, we looked at a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Oceania. The cost for an interior stateroom on Cruises Only was $1,349. The same room was $1,799 on Oceania's website which offers a minimum of $400 in savings. For the popular cruise line, we looked at a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. The cost was as low as $651 for an interior stateroom on Cruises Only with options for deals that might bring the price down to $438. The price directly from Royal Caribbean was $749 offering a minimum of $100 off the standard price. Even with the $24.99 processing fee, this is much cheaper than buying direct from the cruise line, making it an affordable vacation option.

Best Cruise Vacation Sites

Mixed customer ratings

Cruises Only is owned by World Travel Holdings, along with another cruise booking site in this review (Vacation Outlet). The parent company has an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau with a 4.5 out of 5 star average rating with the BBB. However, the Cruises Direct site itself doesn't have any reviews on Trustpilot and only 2 out of 5 stars from Sitejabber. Still, with an average rating of 3.4 stars out of 5, Cruises Only is one of the better options in this evaluation based on consumer ratings.

Positive reviews on pricing and ease of booking

Happy customers noted that the booking process was easy and that they felt the prices were fair and much lower than other travel agencies. The 1-star reviews complained that customers struggled to get responses from agents or customer service when things went wrong with their trips. They also complained about travel insurance options (or the lack thereof).

Competitive option for budget cruises

Cruises Only is a cruise booking site that offers a wide range of cruise lines, including popular and luxury options. The site's interface can feel clunky and outdated, and there is a non-refundable processing fee of $24.99 when you book with them. However, they offer exclusive deals and bonus offers, and a price-match guarantee. In terms of cost, Cruises Only offers competitive prices compared to other options in our review, with potential savings of up to $100 off the standard price.

Solid choice

Customer ratings for Cruises Only are generally positive, but some negative reviews cite difficulties with customer service and travel insurance options. Overall, Cruises Only is a good option for people looking for a variety of cruise options and exclusive deals.

Expedia Review 3.5 Star Rating

Expedia

3.5 Star Rating
  • 5-day popular cruise: $20 less than buying direct
  • 7-day luxury cruise: $350 more than buying direct
  • Regular deals with onboard credits
  • One-stop shop for bundling travel needs
  • Accredited by the BBB

Expedia is a well-known travel booking website that offers a one-stop shop for all travel arrangements. The site offers cruise vacations as well as everything else you might need to prepare for your trip including flights, hotels, and car rentals.

Cruise booking not as user-friendly

While Expedia is a reliable platform, their cruise booking process is not as user-friendly as other sites in our review. For instance, you can only choose from a list of "most popular cruise lines" from the initial search page which includes just 6 options. However, after starting your search, you can begin a filtering process to find more specific vacations.

User interface could use improvements

Searching for cruises on Expedia isn't the easiest user experience. You can initially choose from destinations, departures, or popular cruise lines, but you can't get into the helpful filters until you've made that initial selection. Then, you can limit your search criteria by cruise destination, the dates, the specific ship, or the type of cabin you want. We didn't love that there wasn't an easy way to show cruises of specific lengths. So, if you're looking for a 7-day cruise, you may need to do a lot of scrolling to find one. The cruise listings are also limited by a "see more" button, which you'll have to click every time you reach the bottom of the listing options.

Good prices for popular cruises

To compare Expedia's prices we looked at a 7-day luxury Caribbean cruise with Oceania and a 5-day Caribbean cruise vacation for Royal Caribbean. For the 7-day Oceania cruise, the price with Expedia started at $1349 for an inside room while the price to buy direct was $1,099 through the Oceania website. However, the price for the 5-day popular cruise with Royal Caribbean started at $350 for an interior room at Expedia and $369 if you buy direct. So, the prices are better for popular cruises than luxury cruises with Expedia.

Best Cruise Vacation Sites

At-a-glance deals and prices

One thing we did like about Expedia was that looking through the final price was an easy process. The site shows you how much you'll owe depending on the number of passengers and what kind of deals you might earn from booking the trip. For example, at the time of this review, Expedia was offering up to $200 Onboard Credit, 30% off all guests, and immediate $150 savings for a cruise with Royal Caribbean.

Lackluster reviews for Expedia

Expedia is accredited by the BBB with an "A+" rating. Unfortunately, customers aren't so happy with Expedia. The consumer rating for the site averages around 1.5 stars out of 5. There are hundreds of reviews complaining about the customer service with Expedia, which doesn't make us feel very confident about booking an expensive vacation with them. Those who did give Expedia 5-star reviews noted that the website was ideal for booking multi-stop trips or bundling flights, hotels, and other travel necessities. However, for just one trip or a cruise vacation, it isn't the most reliable.

Worth checking for large travel itineraries

Despite Expedia's reputation as a popular travel booking website, it doesn't have the high customer feedback that most users like to see, especially when they're spending big bucks on a cruise vacation. While Expedia offers good prices for popular cruises, they may not be the best option for luxury cruises, and their user interface isn't the best out there for easy cruise searches. With low-rated customer reviews, we recommend searching elsewhere to book your next cruise vacation. However, if you're looking for a trip that requires other travel arrangements like flights or hotels along with your cruise, it might be worth looking into Expedia.

Vacation Outlet Review 2.5 Star Rating

Vacation Outlet

2.5 Star Rating
  • Popular 7-day cruise: $100+ less than buying direct
  • Luxury 7-day cruise: $450 less than buying direct
  • "A+" rating from the BBB
  • Processing fee of $24.99

Vacation Outlet is a cruise vacation booking site owned by World Travel Holdings, the same company that owns Cruises Only, another site in our review. These two sites are identical in terms of the cruise options they offer, the availability of those options, and the pricing for those options, which includes a non-refundable $24.99 booking fee. Although Vacation Outlet claims to offer "always at outlet prices," we did not find any significant discounts compared to other booking sites.

Complete options for a vacation one-stop shop

One place where Vacation Outlet stands out from Cruises Only is that it offers a full range of vacation options as well as hotel and flight bookings. So, if you're looking to build a full itinerary into your dream cruise, Vacation Outlet would be a better option. However, with other more modern sites in this review that offer one-stop shop options, Vacation Outlet isn't our first choice for any of these features.

No special outlet prices

The pricing was exactly the same as many of the competitors, with no particular deals that make this "outlet" website stand out. To compare the Vacation Outlet options with booking directly with the cruise lines, we looked at one luxury and one popular cruise line and compared 7-day Caribbean trips. For the luxury cruise line, we looked at a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Oceania. The cost for an interior stateroom was $1,349. The same room was $1,799 on Oceania's website which offers a minimum of $400 in savings. For the popular cruise line, we looked at a 7-day Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. The cost was as low as $651 for an interior stateroom. The price directly from Royal Caribbean was $749 offering a minimum of $100 off the standard price. While the prices are still better than buying direct, Vacation Outlet isn't any cheaper than its competitors.

Could have an update for modern users

Like its sister site, Cruises Only, the Vacation Outlet has an outdated-feeling website. It's a little clunky to use, and the print is quite small, making it less than ideal for senior users who want to book a trip. However, it does offer 29+ different cruise lines to choose from, so there are plenty of trips to choose from once you start searching.

Best Cruise Vacation Sites

Reviewers are mixed on Vacation Outlet

During our review, we found that World Travel Holdings had an "A+" rating with the Better Business Bureau, which was encouraging. However, the site only has a 2.3-star rating on popular review sites, which includes comments about frustrations with customer service and issues with booking trips. It's not very encouraging that there aren't many reviews for Vacation Outlet outside of the BBB listing for its parent company World Travel Holdings. If you're going to choose between Vacation Outlet and the other site owned by World Travel Holdings, we recommend checking Cruises Only first.

Mid-tier in almost every category

When compared to full-service cruise booking sites that offer comprehensive services and better-ranked services with a great reputation for customer service, Vacation Outlet falls short. Although it claims to offer outlet prices, we did not find any significant discounts compared to other booking sites. The site has an outdated interface and has received negative customer reviews for its customer service.

Falls short

While Vacation Outlet may be a better option for those looking to build a full itinerary, it falls short compared to other more modern and comprehensive booking sites in our review. As a result, we suggest choosing a better-rated service when booking your next cruise vacation.

Orbitz Review 2.5 Star Rating

Orbitz

2.5 Star Rating
  • 7-day popular cruise: same price as buying direct
  • 7-day luxury cruise: same price as buying direct
  • Extras and experiences offered to add to your trip
  • One-stop shop booking for full travel itinerary
  • Accredited by the BBB

Orbitz is an online travel agency that is a subsidiary company of Expedia Group. The main difference is that Expedia's prices are a little better than Orbitz's. The browsing and cruise booking experience is the same on both sites, and they both have the same navigational challenges, offers, and options. For this reason, it doesn't matter whether you book with Orbitz or Expedia unless you're already part of the rewards program at Orbitz.

Search doesn't offer a competitive interface

To start a search on Orbitz, you can only select your destination, the range of dates for your ideal travel time, and the number of guests that will be on the cruise. You can't start the search with cruise lines or departure locations like you can with competing travel agency sites. Similar to Expedia, you can limit the cruise line and the type of room you'd like once you start your preliminary search. It's a pretty bare-bones system and isn't the best search engine compared to other companies in our review.

Extras for tickets or activities

One thing we liked was that Orbitz offers an easy-to-see "extras" section on their site, where customers can find event tickets and activities. While these extras can be found on the Expedia site too, they are not as prominently displayed and require more searching.

Prices are the same as buying direct

To get an idea of the price comparison, we looked at two 7-day Caribbean cruises: a popular cruise with Royal Caribbean and a luxury cruise with Oceania. For the 7-day Royal Caribbean cruise, the price - $609 per passenger for an inside room - was the same as buying directly from Royal. For the luxury 7-day cruise with Oceania, Orbitz only offered a B3-level stateroom or PH1 suite. The prices on Orbitz started at $2299, which matched the rates for the B3 level stateroom if you bought direct from Oceania. And if you browsed Oceania's site instead, there were lower-grade rooms available with prices as low as $2,149.

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Low ratings from customers

Orbitz is accredited by the BBB and has an "A+" rating. Unfortunately, on the customer side, Orbtiz doesn't do as well. The site averages 1.8 stars out of 5 across popular review sites including Trustpilot, the BBB, and Sitejabber. The complaints about Orbitz range from customers having the prices of their trips changed, to horrible experiences with customer service, and problems with cancellations. The few users who rated Orbitz with 5 stars noted that they liked how easy it was to book large-scale trips with the company. However, there were no 5-star reviews that specifically talked about cruise bookings.

Similar to sister company, Expedia

Orbitz is a widely used travel agency owned by Expedia, but it doesn't offer a competitive cruise search engine compared to other companies in our review. The browsing and booking experience is almost the same as Expedia, but it's a little easier to find "extras" and experiences on the Orbitz website. We don't love how negative the customer reviews are for Orbitz, though.

Better options available

While Orbitz may be worth considering for booking large-scale trips, there are better options available for booking cruises. The fact that their prices are the same as buying direct from the cruise line means this option gets a much lower ranking than its sister site, Expedia.

Travelocity Review 2 Star Rating

Travelocity

2 Star Rating
  • Prices are the same as buying direct
  • Accredited by the BBB
  • One-stop shop for booking a full travel itinerary

Travelocity is an online travel agency that is a subsidiary company of Expedia. The browsing and cruise booking experience is the same as its sister sites, with challenging searches and cruise vacation options. For this reason, it doesn't matter whether you book with Travelocity or one of its sister sites. The only real differentiator is that Expedia offers slightly lower prices than Travelocity for popular cruises.

Search isn't specific enough for some users

To start a search on Travelocity, you have to select your destination, the range of dates for your ideal travel time, and the number of guests that will be on the cruise. If you leave any of these blank you'll get an error that you have to fix before you move on with the search. Similar to Expedia, you can limit the cruise line and the type of room you'd like once you start your preliminary search. Like other companies owned by Expedia Group, it's a pretty bare-bones system and isn't the best search engine compared to other companies in this review.

No differentiating features

While Travelocity used to have a price match guarantee, this option isn't visible on any of the cruise web pages, so either they don't offer that any longer or it's very well hidden. It might be something you'll want to talk to a customer service rep to clarify, if that's a feature you're looking for.

No different than buying direct

The prices for cruises on Travelocity are the same as buying directly from the cruise line itself. And like its sister company Orbitz, Travelocity has more limited stateroom options than buying direct, which means for some cruise lines you might be able to find different room options than what Travelocity offers and sometimes find cheaper prices too.

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Low average customer ratings

Like its sister companies, Travelocity is accredited by the BBB and has an "A+" rating. Unfortunately, from a customer perspective, Travelocity does even worse in reviews than Orbitz and Expedia. The site averages 1.4 stars out of 5 across popular review sites with complaints about having the prices of their trips changed, difficulties with coordinating different legs of the journey, extra charges, and repeated reviews that use the word "nightmare" in regards to the traveler experience with Travelocity. A few users did like Travelocity, and their feedback typically covers how much they liked working with customer service at Travelocity with many 5-star reviews citing particular sales agents or customer service representatives.

Worse than its sister companies, according to reviews

Travelocity is a well-known agency and is one of many sites owned by Expedia Group. It matches its sister companies with search features and is the same price as buying directly from the cruise line. We don't love how negative the customer reviews are for Travelocity, especially regarding the difficulty in coordinating different aspects of travel, which is what a one-stop shop site like Travelocity should excel at.

Not worth it

Compared to its sister companies, we don't think Travelocity is worth the hassle. And with cruise prices that are the same as buying direct with the cruise line, this option falls to the bottom in our reviews.

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.
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