8 Best Sites to Book a Cruise

Many people plan to go on a cruise, but how many actually experience it? Well, planning a cruise is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a complicated and daunting process. The number of passengers in 2022 were approximately 30 Million, and the annual revenue generated by the cruise industry was approximately $27 Billion. Cruising is big business and that’s why you have different ways of booking a cruise, for instance, it can be directly through the website on your own or through the cruise line with a PVP (Personal Vacation Planner). Another way is through Online Travel Agencies (OATs) such as Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz. OTAs offer great deals and discounts, as well as comprehensive information on cruises.

Dozens of websites will open at your disposal when you look for cruise websites. But the cruise-specific website’s focus is on giving customers the best cruise experience. Now that you have so much to look into, how will you determine which is the best site to book a cruise? 

That’s where we come into the picture to answer such questions. To book a cruise, visiting a cruise oriented website is highly recommended. Cruise-specific websites have many advantages as they will guide you to the best of their knowledge. Other advantages of booking via a cruise-specific website is that you have the freedom to book a cruise at your convenience, sail with experienced sailors, get special deals or take up a last minute price drop deal. 

To know more, read the article on the list of the best cruise booking sites and come to your conclusion on which is suitable for you.


List of Best Cruise Booking Sites

As we have mentioned there are many websites to book a cruise, how will you know which one is right for you? Therefore, for your ease, we have compiled a list of the best cruise sites based on the monthly visits to that website, the annual revenue generated by the company, and the number of technologies installed, the ratings and reviews from the customers. We have also highlighted the special features, benefits, and drawbacks of each to help you make an informed decision before booking your cruise.


1. Vacations To Go

vacationstogo.com, cruise websites

Monthly Visits: 2.8 M

Annual Revenue: $100.0M-$200.0M

Vacations To Go, an amazingly laid out website, which has been running successfully since 1984. The website uses 30 technologies from 4 different industries such as Advertising and Content Management System. It has over eight million happy customers and declares itself to be the largest online cruise agency in the world. It’s an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with A+ rating. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vacations Publications, Inc., which publishes magazines, books and special reports for travel and mature markets.


Features: Why Will You Book with Vacations to Go? They have rock-bottom prices with exclusive low rates. Among the most comprehensive lists of cruises available, you can book your cruise without a fee. Use the 90 day ticker feature if you are planning to book a cruise within the next 90-days as the tool will scan and show you last-minute available cruises. Customers can use another cruise search tool (Bargain) if they plan their cruise more than 90 days in advance.


Pros: The website offers a vigorous search function.

Cons: Customer needs to call cruise counselors who will arrange everything, verify availability and answer your relevant queries.


2. Cruisesonly

cruisesonly, cruise booking sites

Monthly Visits: 474.0 K

Annual Revenue: $20.0M-$25.0M

CruisesOnly is America’s Largest Cruise Agency, which has been running successfully since 2011 alongside parent company World Travel Holdings. The website uses 81 different technologies from 17 different industries such as Conversion & Analytics. The website claims to be one of the best cruise booking sites that offer exclusive and impressive deals. But once you read the fine print well you will realize there’s a lot of fine print.

For example, a deal was offered for up to $2,250 in onboard spending, but when you read the fine print you notice that you are required to spend over $20,000+ on a cruise to get the full $2,250. Also, the bonus is based on the base fare of one person. Hence the deals might be lucrative but they aren’t necessarily stuff shots.

CruisesOnly, in collaboration with Make-a-wish, has raised more than $1 million dollars along side its parent company and other supported exceptional customers. This is vital funding made the Make-a-wish to grant wishes of over 100 kids.


Features: They have the best of industry-leading experts who assist customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Website claims for a 110% best prices guarantee which means if you find a lower price for an identical cruise within 48 hours of booking with them, you’ll be refunded 110% of the price difference. Another interesting feature is the V.I.P Customer Loyalty Club for which you are automatically signed up and it’s free if you have booked with them at least once before. Benefits such as shore excursion credits, onboard spending credits and deposit waivers. All V.I.P. Customer Loyalty Club benefits can be combined with most cruise lines’ existing loyalty programs.


Pros: Get Lucrative Cruise Deals

Cons: Lots of fine print with the offers offered on the website


3. Cruise.com

cruise.com , cruise booking sites

Monthly Visits: 395.5 K

Annual Revenue: $50.0M – $75.0M

Cruise.com is one of the Internet’s Largest Cruise Specialists and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Omega World Travel, Inc. The website is slightly messed up and can be overwhelming for newbies. There are a total of 66 technologies from 11 different industries installed on the website. They have been connecting travelers with the perfect cruise vacations since 1998. They have been named the Travel Agency of the Year (2022) and won top awards with every major cruise line.


Features: The website offers lots of deals and discounts, but many a times they are offered through the cruise line. Therefore, it is hard to tell which bonuses are coming from them. They also hold the ability to bundle your cruise fare with airfare. You can become an affiliate or begin your career with them as they offer professional opportunities for people who are passionate about travel and people. 


Pros: The only cruise company which has its applications and is easily downloaded from Apple and Google stores.

Cons: All the information on the website is jumbled.


4. CruiseDirect

cruisedirect, cruise websites

Monthly Visits: 279.3 K

Annual Revenue: $5.0M-$10.0M

The cruise-specific website might look outdated but gives you the best deal possible. The company has been around for two decades and served half a million people. When you go through the website you can rapidly search cruises by destination, departure port, month, how long you want to stay on cruise or which cruise line you are looking for. The website uses 57 technologies from 17 different industries such as email service. 

With each cruise listing, customers will see bonus details underneath the pricing. The company offers perks on most sailings such as onboard credit, free drinks, free Wi-Fi, free gratuities, free travel insurance or free specialty dining experience. If you are planning to sail with them, you will be supporting your planet’s beauty as they have teamed up with non-profit One Tree Planted to make the world greener and lusher, hence ensuring the habitat for future generations.


Features: CruiseDirect provides customers with real-time online chat and a contact number is mentioned for support from cruise expertise. Customers can “heart” cruise to save them as favorites for later when they are sure about the sail. They offer a “best price guarantee” meaning if the customer finds a lower price on another cruise booking website within 24 hours of their initial booking, they will get the difference refunded. The customer doesn’t have to pay the full cost of the cruise up front, just a deposit.and then if the customer’s cruise fare drops before the final payment, they will readjust the rate accordingly.


Pros: Bonus offered with each cruise ranging from discounts, shipboard credit or discounts on shore excursions. 

Cons: Price matching is only offered for the first 24 hours after you book.


5. Cruisecheap.com

cruisecheap, best cruise booking site

Monthly Visits: 221.6 K

Annual Revenue: $2.0M-$5.0M

The presentation of the website is elegant. The high volume, cruise-only travel agency specializes in cheap cruise vacations. They have done full justice to their tagline which is “We Make People Happy”. The Florida-based travel company was acquired by Arrivia , Inc in December 2019. It was founded by Uf Tukel and Don Walker. Cruisecheap is a member of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). The award-winning, multi-branded travel company that started with 5 employees today has a team of 120. CLIA, ACC & MCC Certified agency, and member of the Better Business Bureau & meets all BBB membership standards. 


Features: All major cruise lines are included such as Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, Regent Seven Sea and Royal Caribbean. Cruise specialists are trained in all cruise destinations, including Alaska, the Bahamas and Bermuda, and the list continues. You can visit the website and check out which is perfect for you. The team at Cruisecheap values savings, gives you expert advice, being nice to customers and handles all aspects of customer’s group administrative needs from cabin assignments, dining arrangements, group accounting and group invoicing. You can avail the free group cruise quote


Pros: Lots of information about cruise 

Cons: Sometimes customers’ queries are not fulfilled on time.


6. CruiseCompete

CruiseCompete, best cruise sites

Monthly Visits: 208.2k

Annual Revenue: $3.0M-$5.0M

The website might not be impressive and attractive but the deals, offers and services provided are unbeatable. Trusted by more than 1 million cruise consumers since 2003 the company has been running successfully. They have brought together more than 500 independent travel agencies to make cruise booking easy and quick. Customers only need to submit the ship name and date of sail with little relevant information and the travel agent will approach them with the best of offers so that they can compare them in one place. The concept was so powerful that the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Travel and Leisure, Kiplinger’s, USA Today, Detroit Press and many more of the world’s most influential publications have rambled about them. 


Features: They offer ship import reviews, cruise deck plans, shore excursion options, cruise price prediction, budget tools and so much more. The email newsletter from them is one of the most popular in the industry that keeps customers up to date on all of the new developments in the world of cruising. They believe in hassle-free service, saving time and money, and offer the best and most exclusive deals. Their agents are well educated, forward thinking and trusted cruise specialists in the industry. 


Pros: More than 500 independent travel agencies onto one website. 

Cons: Agent will connect with you after you submit your relevant information to them.


7. AmericanDiscountCruises

American Discount Cruises, Cruise Sites

Monthly Visits: 115.4 K

Annual Revenue: nearly $6.3M

The simple and graceful website is one of the best cruise sites among others. The website uses 37 technologies from 12 different industries including Advertising, Social, Payment & Currencies, and others. The company came with the mission of offering customers the best vacation ever. They are one of the world’s leaders in cruise deals and discounted all-inclusive resort packages. They have been the winners of both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises’.

The company is a member with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), Better Business Bureau (BBB), American Society of Travel (STA), International Airlines Travel Network (IATN), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). 


Features: The website promises to provide customers with the best prices available for the cruise. The team of cruise professionals with the company are all-time ready to assist customers and are available 7 days a week. The friendliest and most expert members of the agency at all times are set to assist you right from booking until you sail.


Pros: The site promises to offer renowned customer service and also guarantee the best prices available.

Cons: Clunky website


8. Cruisewatch

Cruisewatch, Cruise booking sites

Monthly Visits: 105.4 K

Annual Revenue: $5.0M-$10.0M

Cruisewatch is for people who love the power of data. AI-based travel tech company which aims to find technological solutions for every inefficiency in the cruise booking process. The website uses a compilation of data points to predict the best time for its customers to book a cruise based on price-allowing you to get the best deals. They monitor nearly 25,000 cruises and combine that info with price history and reviews to help you choose the most suitable cruise at the best price. Users can see price predictions for selected itineraries and set up alerts accordingly to alert by email whenever the cruise is available with a dropped price. 


Features: With Cruisewatch free account, customers can enjoy the personalized cruise price drop alerts, intuitive search engines, 360 advice, customer-centric models and predictive power. The use of the latest technology by Cruisewatch allows users to make the right decision. With some flexibility, users can check out their selection of price drops, last-minute deals and lock in the best deals. A lot of information allows users to compare cruise lines, cruise ships and destination ports. 


Pros: Use of Prediction Analytics, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence algorithms to make recommendations to customers are clear, concise and easy to understand at a glance.

Cons: Post-purchase price increases, meaning they can charge credit cards for any price increase that can also happen after cruise purchase as well. 


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Final Thoughts on Best Cruise Sites

Regardless of the website you choose from the above mentioned list of best sites to book a cruise for the first time or your next cruise. Every website has its perks and disadvantages. Also, after reading the article you now have a fair idea of what all features they have, what services and deals they are offering from time-to-time.

If you are a travel freak and love to travel, it’s high time to enter the cruise business by getting a cruise website and app. An app in the technology world has its own advantages. Read our next article on how apps make money.


Frequently Asked Questions


Cruise websites should be user-friendly and customers should be able to easily locate search boxes. Customers should be able to view the best price for the cruise lines. They should be able to quickly fill out the form with relevant information so the company agent can connect with them to book a cruise for them. This feature exists with a few operating websites running successfully.

Total Cruise Passenger traffic during the third quarter of  2022 amounted to 223,480. 2023 is promising for the Cruise Industry, seeing past records. Reintroduction of more cruises and itineraries to the cruise is a plus as guests love them. Overall bookings for 2023 have been strong so far, said the NCL cruise line.

The era in which we live is high-tech. Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a big role in every industry. The cruise industry is no exception. The industry uses AI assistants for several tasks such as facial recognition for orderly boarding, personalised recommendations for on-board activities, and queuing to make better use of 0n-board services.

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Co-founder & Director of Business
Sudeep Bhatnagar

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