cruisedirect.com

cruisedirect.com

7 Voted

What is CruiseDirect.com?

Believe it or not, my first vacation didn’t happen until I was 13. Well, I mean my first real vacation. Sure, I’d taken the occasional family road trip growing up, but I didn’t go anywhere outside of the United States until my mom booked us a cruise to the Bahamas. This, in my mind, was my first real vacation. And it was then that I became absolutely obsessed with traveling. Here I am, nearly 20 years later, and I have traveled the entire world twice over (I’m working on my 3rd as we speak).

It can all be traced back to that initial cruise to the Bahamas, though. I had never been on a cruise before. I hardly knew anything about them. I had no idea what to expect, what it would be like, what I would do on the boat. Truth be told, as a 13-year-old boy, I half-expected that the trip would be pretty boring. Anything that you have to do with your family is at that age. Plus, given the little that I did know about cruises (from movies and TV), it seemed to me as if they were much more geared towards adults.

What was I supposed to do on a cruise at 13? I wasn’t old enough to drink alcohol (not even in international waters), but I was too old to partake in the activities that the cruise had prepared for children. In my mind, this cruise was going to be a lot of sitting around and sleeping. As an adult, of course, this sounds perfect, but at 13 It sounded like hell.

It didn’t take me long at all, though, to warm up to the idea. Once the enormous ship took off and we were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, with no land in sight, I began to understand the allure of it, of luxury getaways in general. And as soon as I caught a glimpse of the enormous pool on the main deck of the ship (I had no idea that you could put a pool on a ship, but it seemed pretty cool to swim in water, on water), I was fully acclimated; for the remainder of the trip, I was the biggest fan of cruises on the whole ship, easily.

To be honest, I don’t even remember the actual Bahamas from that trip. Of course, I have been back since, but what really stands out to me most in my mind about this first trip there was the actual cruise itself. What I remember most vividly is the delicious, bottomless, tropical frozen drinks (even though they were alcohol free), the never-ending buffets, the on-board casino (which my mom snuck me into), and the nightly shows. It was like somebody had taken the city of Las Vegas and somehow stuffed all of it onto a boat.

Needless to say, this first cruise was far from my last. Although nowadays I am more of an adventure traveler, cruise booking sites are the first place that I go if I am in the mood for something a little more relaxing … and it doesn’t get much more relaxing than an all-inclusive cruise to a beachy paradise. Given all of my travels, you’d think that I would be able to tell you what is, hands down, the best cruise booking site on the web. Unfortunately, though, it just isn’t that simple.

There are a lot of factors to take into account when trying to discern the best cruise booking site. Price, for instance, is a huge one, but it is also volatile. So, if you are trying to find the best cruise booking site on price alone, well, you could crown a new online cruise booking king every other week. That being said, finding the cheap cruises is important, and some cruise booking sites are much better, in general, at finding the lowest prices possible than others.

You also have to take into account the quality of the site itself (design, features, mobile-friendliness, stuff like that), customer support, cancellation policies, rewards schemes … the list goes on and on. Maybe now you can see why I am a little bit apprehensive to say that any cruise booking site is definitively the best cruise booking site of all time.

I am confident, however, in saying that Cruise Direct is at the top of the list. For years, Cruise Direct has been offering reliable and dependable cruise booking from the top cruise lines. In fact, few cruise booking sites come anywhere near being as knowledgeable, respected, and well-connected in the cruise travel industry as Cruise Direct. They have been given an “A+” by the Better Business Bureau and are a member of the Cruise Lines International Association, giving Cruise Direct an unparalleled level of credibility and trustworthiness.

That’s not all that this cruise booking site has to offer, though. Cruise Direct is widely considered to be one of the best cruise booking sites due to the fact that, over the course of the last 20 years. they have been responsible for the sailing of nearly 35,000 cruises (as of the time of this review), they offer flexible payment plans, and they have expert customer support agents. If you are looking for the best cruise booking site, it would be a huge mistake to overlook Cruise Direct. Let’s take a closer look at everything this site has to offer (and perhaps where they fall somewhat short as well).

How useful is CruiseDirect.com?

The site design offered by Cruise Direct is pretty good. I say “pretty good” and not great because, well, it’s just a little bit generic. That being said, it does offer a fairly intuitive user experience. From the moment that you land on the homepage, you can start searching and browsing cruises with no trouble. Just select your desired destination, departure port, month, trip length, and cruise line to see all of your available options.

Once you are brought to the search results page, unfortunately, the site design doesn’t become more impressive. Each listing comes with a sprawling chart of all prices and room types available for each cruise that meets your criteria. For the sake of browsing, though, it would make more sense to me if these options were saved for a 3rd page, and the search results would be all that you have to worry about browsing through at first. The end result is a site design that is cluttered and inconvenient – be prepared to do a lot of scrolling up and down to browse multiple cruises.

How do you get discounts on cruises on CruiseDirect.com?

That being said, though, you have plenty of ways to filter these search results. You can filter cruises by price per person, sailing duration, destination, cruise line, departure city, ship, customer reviews, trip type (family, kids, luxury, etc.), features and amenities, and more. As far as sorting options go, there’s a lot left to be desired. Cruise Direct users can only sort their search results by price, duration, or review score. The best cruise booking sites, in my opinion, have a handful of sorting options that make it as easy as it should be to personalize your search and find the perfect cruise for you.

Where Cruise Direct makes up for this is in its award-winning customer support and flexible payment plans. Everybody knows that a cruise isn’t cheap, and sometimes it can be tricky to plan and pick the perfect one. Cruise Direct doesn’t let that get in the way of your enjoyment. By offering monthly payment plans and a book now, pay later option, anybody can book a cruise today. Furthermore, Cruise Direct is staffed by cruise travel experts who will go above and beyond to ensure that you find the best cruise deal possible. Of all the travel sites that I have reviewed, Cruise Direct probably comes closest to that pre-internet travel agency level of customer care and attention that has all but disappeared in the 21st century.

Does CruiseDirect.com have an APP?

The one area in which Cruise Direct outright disappoints me is its mobile friendliness. Don’t get me wrong, the browser website can be accessed on a mobile device easily enough. It is very unfortunate, though, that Cruise Direct does not offer a mobile app, not for Android nor iOS devices. This is something that travel booking sites may have been able to get away with 5 or 10 years ago, but when it comes to the best cruise booking sites in 2021, this is unacceptable.

Hopefully Cruise Direct has a mobile app in development, at least. However, for the time being, this is quite an inconvenience that makes the site even less user-friendly on the whole.

What I Like about CruiseDirect.com

-100% price-match guarantee

-Very reputable and dependable cruise booking site

-Flexible book now, pay later payment plans

-Expert, award-winning customer support

-Good cancellation policy

What I Dislike about CruiseDirect.com

-Site design could be improved

-No mobile apps available

Conclusion

At the end of the day, setting aside its subpar site design and lack of apps, Cruise Direct is still one of the best cruise booking sites out there today. Combining great prices, incredible customer service, trustworthy and dependable bookings, and a guaranteed price-match policy, it’s hard to write Cruise Direct off for a few design and accessibility flaws.

Pros
  • Cruise Direct 100% Bеѕt Price Guarantee (Prісе Match)
  • Mеmbеrѕ of Cruise Lіnеѕ Іntеrnаtіоnаl Aѕѕосіаtіоn
  • Over 15,000 Cruises Sаіlеd
  • Flеxіblе Payment Plаnѕ
  • Knowledgeable Cruіѕе Expert Agents
  • A+ BBB Rаtіng
  • Expert, award-winning customer support
  • Good cancellation policy
Cons
  • Site design could be improved
  • No mobile apps available