by John Garrett
Published May, 14, 2000
Cruisemates high on list of sites for cruise bargains
introduction of so many new and larger ships has made cruising a bargain
hunter's delight, and Cruisemates (cruisemates.com) is one of the Web's
best sites to start hunting.
It is also one of the most complete sites I've seen for cruise
information -- everything from ship reviews and ratings to itineraries for
almost every cruise ship -- to a plethora of information for first-time
There are two ways to look for bargains.
You will find a list of some of the best deals offered by several
different travel agencies when you click on the "Cruise Bargains" button.
Or try "Bargain Finder," which allows you to seek bids from travel agents
for any ship or destination that interests you.
The site's best feature, however, is the vast selection of ship reviews
by Anne Campbell, who authored Fielding's Guide to Worldwide Cruises and
founded America Online's Cruise Critic feature.
Her reviews are marvelously detailed and, based on my experience, dead
on. She gives a "Quality Rating" and a "Value Rating" for each ship, then
quickly tells you what makes the ship desirable and, equally important,
who should avoid it.
You can also read reviews by visitors to the site, and their detailed
ratings. You are also invited to submit your own ratings for ships on
which you've cruised.
Some of the best bargains I've seen on the Web come from a New Jersey
travel agency, Cruise Value Center (www.cruisevalue.com/page1.html).
I've had no experience with this firm, but the prices (click on the Top
Secret button) are certainly enticing.
you to search for deals by date, ship, destination or special interests,
and claims that it will find "the travel agent who has secured the best
deal on the cruise you select."
claims to maintain the Net's largest cruise database, and whether that
istrue or not, this site is worth a visit.
It offers deck plans for most popular cruise ships and the same reviews
by Anne Campbell that you'll find at the Cruisemates site.
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