General Cruising Web Sites
It's always hard to say whether you can trust the independent information on third-party Web sites. You never know what writers took which free cruises in exchange for writing a rave review that will generate thousands of dollars in business for the cruise company.
Having said that, there are some good cruising sites on the Web that can enhance your general knowledge about what's out there, what you should expect aboard, and what experiences other people have had during similar cruises. Hey, it never hurts to do a little extra snooping around before you hand over your credit card number, right?
This Web site includes cruise line and specific ship reviews by experts as well as by readers—including teenagers when reviewing topics of interest to younger passengers. There are also general-interest articles about everything from first-time cruising to gay and lesbian cruising to family and singles cruising. The site's editor is Anne Campbell, former editor and co-founder of Cruise Critic on America Online. The links are easy to follow and may lead you to related topics that will be helpful and that you might not have considered on your own.www.cruisemates.com
This Web site also includes cruise line and specific ship reviews, as well as informative features about everything from teen cruising to senior cruising to destinations worldwide. You can search for cruises based on your personality—everything from “Romance” to “Soft Adventure,” and find good deals in a special section called “Bargains.”www.cruisecritic.com
Here is another Web site that includes cruise line and specific ship reviews, as well as other features including last-minute deals and discounts. A section called “Cruise Buzz” offers snippets of information about new programs from the major cruise lines. Other sections display weather and ground transportation information in popular ports of call.www.cruise411.com
This site claims to offer information about more than 11,000 itineraries and more than 300 cruise ships. What's nice about this site is that it divides the cruise lines into searchable categories such as premium, mass market, river cruises, and specialty cruises. If you're new to cruising and want to get a good overview of the industry, this site's home page is a great place to start.www.cruisepage.com
This site calls itself an online cruising magazine and includes everything from cruise company to specific ship reviews. There are features written by experts and readers about topics as diverse as tipping, luggage tags, seasickness remedies, and maintaining your weight while on vacation. Humor columnists are on this site as well, along with the kinds of quizzes and surveys you might expect to find in traditional print magazines.www.sealetter.com
This site has less story and review content than some others, but it has a nifty search feature that enables you to plug in a destination and a date and automatically see which cruises are offered by all the major companies at once. It can be a real time-saver if you know where and when you want to go but are trying to comparison shop among ships.www.cruisereport.com
This site is a database of more than 4,500 cruise reviews posted by anyone who cares to type a few words about their trip. It is run by a travel agency that encourages its customers to share their thoughts with other potential customers about specific ships, itineraries, and the like.www.cruiseopinion.com
This site has general-interest articles as well as a search feature that enables you to plug in a date and destination and find cruises being offered by multiple companies. It also promotes hot deals and lets you book your cruise directly through the site.www.icruise.com
This is a travel agency site where you can book cruises aboard all the major cruise lines. It has informative write-ups about each of the big cruise companies as well as the most popular cruising destinations.www.cruiseweb.com
This is the Web site for the print-version of World of Cruising Magazine. You can read sample articles from past issues, including ship and destination reviews. Of course, you can also use this site to subscribe to the magazine.www.worldofcruisingmagazine.com
The brainchild of freelance cruise travel writer Linda Coffman, this site includes everything from cruise company and ship reviews to general-interest articles and columns. One of the most useful pages it offers is called “Hot Tips for Cruisers,” which includes tidbits that will help you with everything from packing dirty laundry to thwarting pickpockets during shore excursions.www.cruisediva.com
This site is a place where you can read reviews and book cruises, but its best feature seems to be its forums. You can post specific questions about anything from lost luggage to a particular itinerary, and other people who have taken cruises provide the responses. It's a nice cyber-community if you'd like to join the broader cruise-ship discussion.www.cruise-addicts.com
This site has passenger reviews of some ships, as well as links to major cruising companies.360www.passengershipsociety.com