The New York Times The New York Times Travel October 1, 2000

Home
Job Market
Real Estate
Automobiles
News
International
National
Washington
Business
Technology
Science
Health
Sports
New York Region
Education
Weather
Obituaries
NYT Front Page
Corrections
Opinion
Editorials/Op-Ed
Readers' Opinions


Features
Arts
Books
Movies
Travel
Dining & Wine
Home & Garden
Fashion & Style
New York Today
Crossword/Games
Cartoons
Magazine
Week in Review
Multimedia/Photos
College
Learning Network
Services
Archive
Classifieds
Book a Trip
Personals
Theater Tickets
NYT Store
NYT Mobile
E-Cards & More
About NYTDigital
Jobs at NYTDigital
Online Media Kit
Our Advertisers
Member_Center
Your Profile
E-Mail Preferences
News Tracker
Premium Account
Site Help
Privacy Policy
Newspaper
Home Delivery
Customer Service
Electronic Edition
Media Kit
Community Affairs
Text Version
Go to Advanced Search/Archive Go to Advanced Search/Archive Symbol Lookup
Search Options divide
go to Member Center Log Out
Welcome, cruisemates

Crow's-nests at home

By JOHN BARTON

To avoid getting stuck on the wrong ship, it pays to do some online research before booking a cruise. The cruise lines' own sites offer plenty of information about their own products -- you've got to love the live-from-the-bridge feeds at the Princess Cruises site (www .princess.com) -- but for impartial reviews from both experts and the public, you need to go elsewhere.

A good source of first-hand, unvarnished reviews is cruiseopinion.com. Besides providing full reviews, the site asks cruisers to rate their experiences on a scale of 1 to 100 in 42 categories. When I visited, it listed 3,987 reviews. Holland America's Noordam, for example, had 31 ratings, with an average score of 96 in the Good for Seniors category, and 69 for Good for Families.

Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exception is CruiseMates (www.cruisemates.com), an online magazine with an overwhelming amount of material, including news and reviews from the site's editor and creator, Anne Campbell. Cruise enthusiasts are invited to rate ships, submit reviews, ask questions of the CruiseMates staff and converse in the chat room. With the Meet on Board feature, you can make friends by e-mail first, then over poolside martinis later.

Among several sites that try to help consumers make informed decisions with reader-generated rankings and reviews of practically everything under the sun, including cruises, are epinions.com (www.epinions .com) and deja.com. At Deja, the public is invited to rate lines rather than individual ships; when I visited, Seabourn was ranked top over all.

If you have any specific questions, several sites try to answer them. At allexperts.com, you can send questions by e-mail to volunteers with expertise in various fields. I chose the cruise expert Curtis Thorson, based on his profile and approval ratings from former questioners, and asked him for seasickness cures. Three hours later, I received a thoughtful reply suggesting I try Bonine, an over-the-counter medication for motion sickness.

When you book a cruise, the vendor should be a member of a professional organization. The Cruise Line International Association site, www.cruising.org, allows you to search for travel agencies affiliated with it by name, ZIP code or area code. JOHN BARTON




Printer-Friendly Format
Most E-Mailed Articles


Expect the World every morning with home delivery of The New York Times newspaper.
Click Here for 50% off.


Home | Back to Travel | Search | Corrections | Help | Back to Top

Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company | Permissions | Privacy Policy !--Travel Marketplace Skiing-->
Printer-Friendly Format
Most E-Mailed Articles

Book A Trip
Advertisement

From
To
Depart
Time
Return
Time
Adults

Advertisement