5 Voted

What is CruiseCompete?

CruiseCompete is a service in which customers can use the platform to connect with a travel agent and get the best deals for a cruise vacation. You can use details such as travel dates, destinations, and preferred amenities to narrow down the available cruises through CruiseCompete while also gaining access to discounts and promotions you might not have known about otherwise.

The company launched in 2003 and claims to be an independent organization that connects consumers with independent travel agents; they don’t consider themselves to be a travel agency.

Their website claims that many publications such as The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and more have written about CruiseCompete and their incomparable services in the cruise industry. This review is going to take a more in-depth look at their website and services to see if they live up to the hype.

Is CruiseCompete a reliable company? Is CruiseCompete a trustworthy company to book a cruise?

To determine the reliability of CruiseCompete, I took a look at several different aspects. Reviews on CruiseCompete’s own website and social media pages give glowing feedback; the up-to-the-minute user feedback on the website mentions their great service, how much money consumers saved, and how easy it was to get the best rates. Their Facebook reviews rank them a 4.8 out of 5, though it should be noted that the page itself isn’t that active, with almost all of the comments dating to before 2019. Their Twitter page has been active more recently, but I didn’t see a lot of user interaction that gives an opinion on their services.

On the bottom right-hand corner of the website’s home page, you’ll see them boast of an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau website. And while that may be true, it should be noted that they’ve been accredited on the BBB since 2013 but have not had a single review/ complaint/ feedback ever – which is pretty unusual. They’re not even listed with ConsumerAffairs, which adds to my overall unease about the website.

All in all, I couldn’t find any recent feedback or reviews to determine the trustworthiness of CruiseCompete – other than on their website. That being said, I should also point out that I didn’t find anything negative which would prove them untrustworthy. It’s the lack of reviews in general that has me apprehensive about CruiseCompete.

Does CruiseCompete offer the best deals? Is it better to book a cruise through CruiseCompete or with its competitors?

Several companies do what CruiseCompete claims to do – and that is to connect you with travel agents who can find you the best deals with almost any popular cruise line in the world. The benefit of using one of these companies instead of booking with a cruise line directly is that you get to see all the cruises available and the prices they’re being offered at on one site instead of having to check them individually.

These experienced travel agents also know of deals and offers that you can apply to get the best rates – for example, did you know that everyone who stays in the same cabin as a senior can get the discounted senior rate? But what makes CruiseCompete different from other booking sites is that once you pick your cruise, over 500 independent travel agencies place bids for your business. They then give you the choice of deciding which price/ agent is right for you and who you want to work with.

Cruise booking sites such as CruiseCompete can be a very good resource when planning your next vacation, but I would suggest other companies with more recent positive feedback – even though they don’t work exactly the same as CruiseCompete. Some of these include, Cheap Tickets Cruises, and Click here for a list of some of the most popular cruise booking sites.

Is it easy to use the CruiseCompete website?

At first glance, the CruiseCompete website looks very outdated. Everything from the layout to the font they use makes it look like one of those basic websites from the 90s when the internet was just gaining fame.

Once you get over the visual, you’ll find their search engine right on the home page. You can input details such as destination, cruise type (ocean, river, etc.), sail date, length, and cruise line, with the option to choose ‘all cruise lines’ so that you can see everything available. Beneath that, you’ll find a list of current cruise specials with destinations such as Europe, the Caribbean, and even the glaciers in Alaska.

Once you plug in your details on the search engine, you’re taken to a list of all the results that match your criteria. You’ll see the name, cruise line, how many nights, the stops, and the dates they sail at a glance. But it isn’t till you pick one that you realize, you can’t access the prices or get quotes until you register as a member. It is free to register, and once you do, you will remain anonymous as different travel agencies send you quotes that you can browse and pick from at your discretion.

How can I register as a member on the CruiseCompete website?

To get access to the member-only pricing, you’ll have to input details such as a preferred username, password, a valid email address, and your location. The email address is where you will get the quotes, but it won’t give travel agents access to your actual email – that entire process is anonymous. They require your location because this gives travel agents the chance to apply any special location-based discounts (which I wouldn’t even know existed without these cruise booking sites).

You’re then taken to a page that asks you questions such as whether you’re current or former military, emergency medical personnel, or teacher, etc. so that agents could apply additional discounts that may be available.

Users are then prompted to select their ‘cruise type’, which ranges from large ship ocean cruises that carry over 1,000 passengers to group charters that accommodate groups of 20 people. Afterward, you can put in a quote request by inputting details such as preferred ship, total cabins, number of passengers, etc. And then you wait – professional travel agents will bid for your business (via email), giving you the best offers to choose from.

Can the CruiseCompete website help me figure out which cruise is best for me?

If you’re unsure of where exactly you want to go, opt for the ‘cruise search’ option. You can pick when you want to go, where you want to go, where you’re departing from, how long you would like to cruise for, and additional preferences such as preferred cruise lines, etc. to get a list of results. The best thing about this feature is that you can keep everything blank except your preferred departure port and get a list of every cruise available from there.

What other features are on the CruiseCompete website?

I came across their ‘Travel Tools’ page which provides a helpful list of cruise-related resources you may need. This includes finding excursions at ports you stop at, buying travel insurance, budgeting your vacation, and even applying for a visa or passport.

They also have a ‘Travel Resources’ page filled with essential blog-style articles that could be beneficial to cruise-goers. You can purchase cruise travel planners, learn about going on a cruise while pregnant or with small children, and get a better understanding of what’s included in your cruise. There are also user reviews of different cruise lines that may help you narrow down your possibilities.

All in all, though outdated, the website is functional and very easy to use when searching for a cruise. And while you do have to register to become a member, once you do, you are emailed the best deals available to you directly from the travel agents.

Can you get scammed by CruiseCompete?

While the only positive feedback I’ve found on CruiseCompete is on their website, I haven’t been able to find anything online to suggest that CruiseCompete is a scam. There isn’t any way the company can scam you since they don’t sell the cruise packages themselves, but instead, allow independent travel agents to bid for your business – and anonymously without sharing your information, for that matter.

The service offered by CruiseCompete is free to use and you are not obliged to buy after you receive a quote.

Does CruiseCompete have a rewards program?

While CruiseCompete does not have a rewards program, you will be able to provide any cruise-specific loyalty details to your travel agent before booking confirmation and they will be able to include that. For example, if you decide to book a vacation with MSC Cruises, using CruiseCompete partner travel agent, you’ll still be able to use the MSC Voyager’s Club number to collect your points.

Does CruiseCompete have a mobile app?

CruiseCompete does not have a mobile app for iPhone or Android users. Everything will have to be processed directly on their website, which isn’t very convenient in this modern day and age.

How can I reach CruiseCompete customer service?

At the very top of the page, on the navigation bar, there’s a ‘Live Help’ button. That takes you to a page with phone numbers for domestic and international clients who want to speak to a live agent. You’re also given an option to use their ‘Virtual Cruise Advisor’ if you prefer.

Researching CruiseCompete and its services for this review didn’t leave me 100% satisfied only because I couldn’t find any recent user reviews anywhere other than on their website. But the fact that their service connects me with a variety of independent travel agencies leaves me comfortable enough to use CruiseCompete for any future cruises I may take.

  • Nearly 20 years of experience in the industry
  • A+ rating on the BBB website
  • Service is free to use, and member registration is at no cost
  • Connects you with over 500 independent travel agencies anonymously
  • Cruise Search feature helps you narrow down your options
  • Virtual Cruise Advisor helps fine tune search results using series of multiple choice questions
  • Option to sort by cruise line to benefit from rewards scheme
  • User reviews mark cruise line out of five across different qualities
  • Lack of more recent user reviews anywhere but their website
  • Outdated website
  • Have to register as a member to get quotes/ pricing
  • No rewards program
  • No mobile app
  • Requires user to register with email before accessing quotes
  • Website very basic and out-dated