I want to check if smartcruiser is reliable to book our cruise for next September. We want the MSC Sinfonia ship departing from Venice. I couldn't figure out how to book it directly from the MSC website. So I remembered that Rick Steves mentioned "smartcruiser" in his book, so I checked it and it has the same offer. Now I just want to make sure that it is safe to buy, especially that I am not US/Canadian citizen.
Cheapcruises.com is another online site to price compare.
We booked a Med cruise 2 years ago. I did the price comparisons on the various websites including the cruise ship home site. Prices were very close. What i found was that a local travel agent (remember them?) who specialized in cruises quoted me the best price. He was able to put our booking with other people and get a large group discount.
Are you based in the States? If so try Costco. The folks over on Cruise Critic are always going on about the great deals they get on cruises at Costco travel. (Our Costco doesn't have travel services - not sure if it's just our location or a Canada thing).
@funpig, I didn't find the cruise I want on cheapcruises.com but Thank you anyway :)
@Andrea, I live in Jordan, that's why I can't find good deals with travel agents here and I don't know of I can buy it using online websites like smartcruiser
When we shop for a cruise, we go to CruisesToGo.com--the giant of the cruise industry. Their elaborate computer system has virtually every cruise in the world listed in a format that's easy to navigate.
The last couple of cruises have been purchased from an independent agent working thorugh Avoya Travel--#2 in cruise bookings. One cruise came with so many "freebies" that any more and they'd be paying us to go on the cruise.
There are so many cruise lines going through Venice now. I don't know that MSC would be preferred unless the price is substantially less than the others.
@Andrea - FYI Costco Travel (Canada) does cruises, too. We've booked our last 3 Celebrity Cruiselines cruises through Costco.ca. I do the pricing research first, online -- mostely through the Celebrity website. There, I can check what staterooms are available, etc. Then, when I phone Costco Travel, I find that they essentially match (to the penny) the price I found, and the cruiseline's added perks. Then, as the "travel agent", they add a perk. It used to be on board credit, which was a calculated amount, based on the price you pay, but these days it's a Costco gift card -- again, the amount is determined by how much you pay for the cruise. They act, essentially, as the go-between, so when I call, I tell them what room I want, the price, etc. They then put me on hold, and contact Celebrity, and do their dealing, and confirm room availability, etc. If I want to make any changes, I have to go through the Costco Travel number. Everything is sent to us via e-mail.
We've been quite happy with it. I monitor pricing and have called and adjustments have been made appropriately. It helps to know everything you want before you call them, so that their interaction with the cruise line is more efficient.
PS... Ahhhhhhh... we've sailed out of Venice twice. What a sailaway!!!
I like to use Vacationstogo to look for good cruise deals. As mentioned previously, it's great tool for quickly finding specific cruises and prices. They have a special Singles link, that shows cruises with low or no single supplements which is nice for those who travel alone. For actual bookings, I like to use Cruisecompete. You submit the specific cruise you want and different travel agents respond with their best offers. The offers have generally been even better than Costco. I'm not sure if these sites will work for non-US citizens though. I've seen Seascanner recommended as a good cruise booking site for Europeans.
Thank you .. I will use these for the next cruise. Now we booked using local travel agent but I would love to do it myself next time ;)