Links

 

Here are some of our favourite cruise-related web sites

Sea Scanner   

This travel agency web site incorporates a great feature when shopping for cruises. While some booking sites will only allow you see a small selection of the available rooms, this site will display many (or all) of the available rooms. For some cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, all available rooms will be displayed. For others, like the Carnival brands, around 10 rooms per category will be displayed. To display this information, perform a search for a particular sailing. In the room category list, click a category and the available rooms will be identified. This offers more information than most North American web sites that show a measly six or so cabins.


Stormpulse 

Cruising in the late summer and early fall is a great way to find some deals on cruises in the Caribbean. Of course, it is hurricane season; your itinerary might be shuffled if storms approach. This web site is great for tracking tropical storms and hurricanes that could affect your cruising plans. A subscription is now needed to access this site, but a free 14-day trial is available.


Cruise Ship Gallery 

Andreas from Germany has posted an extensive collection of photos on his web site of ships being built in Papenburg, Germany. His galleries include photos of the ships in various stages of construction. His collection of pictures from the construction of Celebrity Solstice had many of us obsessing about every little detail we could see in the pictures.


Cruise Critic

The site provides comprehensive cruise-related news and discussion groups. If you have any questions about anything that is cruise-related, someone on this site will know the answer. We have met many people through the online discussion groups on this web site.  The tone of the discussion groups is becoming increasingly confrontational, however, and we have lost some of our initial enthusiasm for this site. Lee posts on this site under the screen name of schplinky, Mike posts as ottawapuppy.


Cruise Addicts 

Cruise Addicts is another cruise news site hosting a collection of discussion groups. If you find the tone on other discussion boards to be a bit on the nasty side, Cruise Addicts is a nice alternative.


Cruise Compete

This site allows you to submit your criteria for a cruise and travel agents will bid for your business. We have used this site a few times to get the best price and freebies for booking a cruise.


Meet Me On Board  

Meet Me On Board is brand new social networking web site for gay and lesbian cruise lovers. This site will allow to see which members are booked on the cruise as you, and maybe make some new friends before you get on board. There are some discussion forums available as well as a service that will match up single cruisers so you can avoid the dreaded single supplement. We wish Mark and Dale all the best in their new endeavour!


Voyager-class.com

This fantastic site documents Royal Caribbean's Voyage class of ships with an outstanding level of detail. See what different rooms, lounges, dining rooms and so forth look like on each of the Voyager-class ships (Voyager of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas).


Ship Parade

A great online magazine dedicated to cruising. This site has photos for almost all of the popular ships, and great information on many different ports around the world.


The preismans

Mike and Carol Preisman do an excellent job of documenting their cruise experiences. Their site is well written with lots of great photos. They have great taste in itineraries.


Judy Best

We met Judy when we sailed on the Liberty of the Seas pre-inaugural. Judy is an independent affiliate of Avoya Travel / American Express based in Little Rock, Arkansas.  We usually don’t require the services of a travel agent since we usually know exactly what we want, but if you want to speak to a real person instead of doing things yourself over the Internet, give Judy a call. She is delightful and knowledgeable.


Cruise Reviews

This site includes an extensive database of cruise reviews. One thing to keep in mind, many of these reviews are user-posted, and should be taken with a grain of salt.


Cruise Clues

Diane and Buil manage an extensive list of links for every possible cruise ship on the seas. They list thousands of links to people’s photo galleries, personal sites and tons of other useful links. We use this site a lot to locate pictures of ship we are considering sailing on.


Weather Underground

Want to know what the weather is going to be like in a particular port and a specific time of year? This web site allows you to identify a date and it will list historical high, low and average temperatures, as well as an estimate of the likelihood of precipitation.


Sylvie di cristo

On our cruise stop in the French Riviera, we booked a private guide to show us around the area. We have a fantastic day with Sylvie Di Cristo as our guide. She was accommodating, personable and knowledgeable. We told her what we wanted to see and she created an itinerary that allowed us to enjoy Nice, Eze and Monaco. Booking Sylvie for the day was the best money we spent on our Mediterranean cruise.


R Family Vacations

R Family specializes in cruise charters and land-based vacations for gay and lesbian families and their children. This company was featured in the HBO documentary All Aboard. Everyone is welcome to come on an R Family cruise, we’ve considered cruising with them since their entertainment is outstanding (Melissa Etheridge, Cyndi Lauper, famous Broadway stars).


Don’t forget your toothbrush

This site allows you to generate personalized holiday checklists that you can use when leaving town. You’ll never forget to cancel the newspaper or lock the doors to your house again!


Nautical Cities

Craig and Steve have put together a great site with information about many different cruise ships (current and retired). There is some great illustration work on display with images of the ships on a scale that helps to show the relative size of the different ships. The ship illustrations on our Cruises pages are courtesy of this site. Thanks, guys!


Sea Trade Insider news  

This web site publishes news stories regarding the cruise industry. You have to register to get access (it’s free), but there are interesting new items posted daily.


The Most Common Cruise Mistakes  

This is great two-part article from CruiseMates that offers a practical checklist covering the things that most often cause a good vacation to go bad.


U.S. Centres for Disease Control and prevention  

The U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is responsible for inspecting cruise ships for conformance to health and safety guidelines. The results of these inspections are posted on their web site. If you want to see how a particular ship rates in terms of cleanliness, visit this site and locate the ship in question from the list. Any infractions will be noted as well as the actions that were taken. A score below 85 is considered unsatisfactory.


Cruise Market Watch   

Ryan Wahlstrom, a trends and behavior expert with a specialty in leisure travel, publishes a blog with some fascinating data about the cruise market and trends in the industry. If you are at all interested in the business side of cruising, you will find some great reading here. Ryan is embarking on a research project to gather data for a book about cruise marketing strategy, which will take him on seven different ships for 31 days of onboard research. (It’s a living...sigh...)


Cruise Business Review  

This trade publication publishes information offering a comprehensive global view of news and developments in the cruise industry with interviews, market analyses, new vessel reviews and previews, as well as various technical and operational aspects.


Cruise TT   

This web site allows to see where cruise ships are located on a particular day, or better yet, which ships are going to be in a specific ports on a particular day.


SailWX   

This web site provides live tracking of cruise ships and ocean liners worldwide. Want to see where your favourite ship is at the moment? This web site can tell you.


Cruise Deck Plans  

The public area of this web site contains the deck plans for a large collection of ships. This is handy on-stop shopping for viewing the layouts of different ships. The Pack & Go feature allows you to print up to five deck plans on a page. A companion subscription site allows you to see actual pictures of your stateroom (I haven’t tried this site, I can only go by the description!).


INDEPENDENT TRAVELER INTERACTIVE PACKING LIST  

This site will allow you to check off the items you want to remember to pack and it will generate a packing list which you can print or email to yourself.


priceline

People often ask us how we are able to afford to travel so much. Making good use of frequent flyer points is one way, another is to never pay more than we need to for hotels. With Priceline’s Name Your Own Price feature, you pick an area where you want to stay, pick a star level and tell them how you are willing to pay. Priceline will submit the bid to participating hotels. You might have to bid a few times, but we have gotten some fantastic deals over the years.
A web site called
BiddingForTravel.com is very useful when bidding on Priceline since it will allow you to get an idea of what hotels are participating, what star levels they are rated at and what bids have been accepted (as posted by users of Priceline). 
I don’t know how we’d afford to travel without these web sites!


My Publisher

If you are like us, you probably have tons of digital photos sitting on our hard drive. This site offers a great piece of software called BookMaker that will allow you to gather your photos into a book which can be submitted to My Publisher to be printed into a professionally bound hard cover book. The results are spectacular. We have a beautiful hard cover book for each of our cruises, each containing our favourite photos of the cruise.


Apple

Okay, Apple has nothing to do with cruising...BUT...everything on this site was created using Apple’s iLife software. The web pages were created in iWeb, podcasts in Garage Band, and photos come from iPhoto. The software is easy and FUN to use. It was all assembled on my 20 inch Intel iMac.