I am an avid reader of Aurthur Frommers Budget Travel Magazine. When it arrived yesterday I was intrigued by and article “Go Kayaking before you go Cruising.” It described their user friendly search engine that searches online travel agencies for their cruise listings. Since I am into all things cruising, I decided to give it a try. I was very pleased with just how user friendly the engine is to use. In my example I started with November cruises on Celebrity. Once I could see the cruises available, I could narrow down the departure date, port, or length of cruise. I also had the choice to expand my options to see other cruise lines, longer or shorter cruises and other options. You can also even select from your choice of price range. Once the search engine finds the cruise it then refers you to a choice of 4 online travel agencies from whom one could book the cruise. If you already have a travel agent, you can certainly contact them with the cruise you want. In short, I found this to be a great search engine to find choices of cruise.
The site is: www.kayak.com/
This type of engine does have a few short comings. It doesn’t provide details on the ships amenities, type of cruise experience provided, dress codes, dining times….all the details that might help an inexperienced cruiser find the right cruise. The inexperienced cruiser would probably want to find a few choices and then contact a travel agent via phone and discuss the details of each particular cruise. The main danger of this type of search engine is the possiblity of a mismatch between cruisers. A person who doesn’t want to dress up might book a more formal line, or a passenger that wants to dress up might accidentally book a cruise line that is all country club casual. However, if you know what each lines offers and are looking for a cruise for the right date, destinations, and the price, this can be a great tool to save you time and worry.