The CruiseMates Community

| Wednesday, 15 Feb. 2012


CruiseMates was the first "for-profit" online cruise guide on the Internet. The only competition we had for almost two years was Cruise Critic only available to AOL. There were a few other "hobby-oriented" but surprisingly comprehensive cruise-related web sites already online, The Wheelhouse, Cruise2.com, SeaLetter and CruiseReviews.com. But none of them did exactly what we did – strive to give cruisers the best cruise advice in a timely and fun manner.

CruiseMates, Sealetter and CruiseReviews.com are now all in the same ownership. All together, we have had an Internet presence longer than any other cruise site currently online. We may not be the biggest, but we are certainly the oldest and have held our own.

Unlike other cruise sites, our readers come first. We love the cruising pastime as much as anyone, but we do not write fluff for cruise lines, making small stories into big ones just because it's the only news of the day. Neither do we ignore the real stories that may not show the cruise industry in its best light. We strive daily to get to the truth every day, and we are not afraid to mention things that let us down when they occur. We believe that is what you want.

CruiseMates Cruises

One thing that we have offered our readers every year since 1999 is access to incredible bargains on a few choice group cruises. We don't do this to make money, if anything we lose money on these cruises as we voluntarily labor and pay our own expenses to keep the prices as low as possible for you.

I am especially excited about the 14-day European cruise we have coming up on the brand new Carnival Breeze. This could be the best European cruise offer you will find anywhere this summer. The cruise begins in Barcelona on June 26, and our price includes a free night in a city hotel before you board the ship.

The 14-day cruise includes: Marseilles, Livorno, Rome (overnight, so you can really see the city), Dubrovnik, Venice (Italy, overnight!), Messina (Sicily) and return to Barcelona. There are only three days at sea, so you see the best of Europe within the fun and comfort of a state of the art cruise ship. Here are the amazing prices:

Inside cabins starting at just $1329 per person, Balcony cabins from just $1899 per person. This includes a free Steakhouse dinner, our own complimentary cocktail party and the pre-cruise hotel stay in Barcelona so you can recover from the flight and still see the city. These prices reflect a drop just last week; by as much as 10-percent on some staterooms.

This cruise will be hosted by popular CruiseMates personality Mike Mastellar and his wife Betty. You can be sure we will get together for many impromptu events plus plan to save money on tours together.

If you have never seen Europe, I promise you this 14-day cruise is one of the best ways to start. You only unpack once and all of your stateroom, meals and transportation to fascinating destinations are included in the price. Carnival Breeze is not even in service yet and will be the first Carnival ship with a more refined and subdued interior; the classiest Carnival ship ever built. The dollar is getting stronger, and prices for European cruises are already weaker than ever this year for obvious reasons. It is a great year to cruise the Mediterranean, and that is solid CruiseMates advice you can take to the bank.

Other CruiseMates Cruise: Norwegian Epic

This is a last minute bargain. On March 17 we are returning to Norwegian Epic for another culinary cruise with special guest chef, Matt Siegel, who competed on season #4 of Hell's Kitchen.

Epic, one of the most unique cruise ships in the world, is rated #1 in entertainment for featuring Blue Man Group, Second City Comedy, Legends at Sea, Howl at the Moon dueling pianos and the best and now legendary blues nightclub at sea; Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club.

This seven day cruise goes to the Eastern Caribbean. You will see our prices are very close to NCL's prices, but we offer benefits; a $50 per cabin credit, a free cocktail party and the camaraderie of your fellow CruiseMates on board.

This cruise is hosted by another CruiseMates moderator, Linda Pearl, but I will also be onboard personally. This is one of the most unusual cruise ships in the world, and I couldn't miss the opportunity to see it again.

Our Cruise Partner; Nancy Bogert

Nancy is the number one, top performing independent cruise agent for all of Cruise Planners. She has sponsored our CruiseMates cruises for almost 10 years now. We used to put each cruise out for bids, but Nancy won our business so consistently that after a few years there was no longer any contest. Her prices are amazing and her service is unrivaled.

As an independent CruisePlanners agent she personally won the title "#1 Agent" for Celebrity, Carnival, Holland America and Princess Cruises for 2011, a distinction she has received several years now. Nancy was also named one of the top 25 agents in the country by Travel Agent Magazine in 2011. If you are looking for one of the best travel agents anywhere you can find out more about Nancy at her personal web site.

Nancy is not one of those slick cruise agencies with a highly technical site with promises of "exclusive last minute prices" or any other (honestly speaking) misleading and meaningless fluff. She is an old-school cruise agent who just gets the best prices and works hard for you in all the areas where it really counts. We know and love her.

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