11 9 / 2014

Welcome to “The Cruiseline Crew” Loyalty Program

Building an active, engaged and fun cruise community was one of our primary goals when we created Cruiseline.com.

To help build the community and reward you for your contributions to the site, we launched a new Loyalty Program this week. As a member of the site, you automatically become a part of The Cruiseline.com Crew!

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For the past two years, we’ve been awarding points for just about everything members do on the site. Now, for the first time, those points mean something.

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New members of The Cruiseline.com Crew start out as a Deck Hand, but it’s easy to move up the ranks from there. Earning 22 points — that’s as simple as writing a review from your last cruise and adding it to your profile — brings a promotion to Purser. To move up the ranks, keep earning points by interacting in our forums. sharing your cruise photos and helping other cruisers.

When a member accrues 100 points, they become a 2nd Mate and will receive a Cruiseline.com Crew Reward Pack in the mail, filled with fun and useful Cruiseline.com and Ship Mate App logo products.

But it doesn’t end there! Once they reach Second Mate. Members will receive a new Reward Pack every time they advance to a higher level. Reaching 3,500 points brings you the rank of Staff Captain and a $50 Shipboard Credit to spend onboard your next cruise. How cool is that?!?!

Earn 5,000 points to reach the pinnacle of The Cruiseline.com Crew — the rank of Captain. Captains are awarded a cool badge and get The Captain’s Pack including a personalized award trophy, so you can let all your friends know you’re one cool cruiser.

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If you’re an existing Cruiseline.com member, you’ve already been initiated into the ranks of the Crew based on points earned since you joined the site. You’ll see your rank on your profile page and under your avatar throughout the site. Want to get more points? Click here and check out the right side of the page for all the point earning opportunities.

Here’s the best part: existing members who have earned the rank of Second Mate or above will receive all the Reward Packs they have earned for their activity so far! Existing Cruiseline.com members with the rank of Second Mate or above should look for an email from us over the next couple of weeks as we kick off the fulfillment process.

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You can check out where you stand compared to other members on our Leaderboard.

As part of the new Loyalty Program, we’ve also made it easier for you to earn badges with your contributions to the site, and we’ve added some new badges for shutterbugs! Check them out!

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What’s the catch? There isn’t one, but there are two important things to note: 1. We’re only able to mail Reward Packs to residents of the US & Canada. Our international members will earn points and advance in the The Cruiseline.com Crew ranks, but they aren’t eligible to receive prizes 2. To earn the rank of Second Mate or above, you must have contributed at least one review to the site, and to earn First Mate and above, you must also have started at least one cruise discussion on our Forum.

We worked hard to create a meaningful Loyalty Program to thank you for your contributions to Cruiseline.com and for making us the best cruise community anywhere.

Click here to learn more about The Cruiseline.com Crew Program 

Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Post a comment below or email us at hello@cruiseline.com and we’ll get right back to you.

28 8 / 2014

Ship Shape: Our Ship Pages Have a Fresh, New Look!

To make it even easier for you to find the cruise ship information and reviews you’re looking for, we’ve redesigned our ship pages.

Out with the old… 

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The tabs are gone… now, you’ll find the top reviews, tips, forum posts and roll calls on one page, with links to access the rest of our reviews and user-generated content.

…in with the new!

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Let’s look at some of the changes:

5 “Recommended” Reviews

Instead of showing hundreds or thousands of reviews for a ship that you have to sort through yourself, we’ll give you five top “recommended” reviews: these are recent, verified reviews that have been voted “helpful” by the community to give you a taste of the ship. Want to read more or filter for something specific? The other reviews are just a click away: for example, you can find Norwegian Getaway reviews here. 

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A Dedicated Page for Each Element of the Ship

Got an upcoming cruise planned on, say, the Norwegian Getaway? We’ve made it even easier for you to find exactly what you’re looking for. 

Want to see helpful ship tips from past passengers? Click here.  

Want to join a Roll Call for your upcoming cruise? You’ll find them here.

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Need information on dining optionscabins or deck plans

All of the info you want and need is just a click away… scroll down on the ship page to find all the links. And in the coming months, we’ll be enhancing each of these pages with additional information, better photos and more.

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Want to write a review, leave a tip or “follow" a ship? The action buttons have been moved to the top right of the page.

If you access cruieline.com via your smartphone or tablet, the new ship page is optimized to both look great and make it even easier for you to find the information you need.

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Check out the new page for your favorite ship right here: http://cruiseline.com/reviews/ships

We’ve also updated our Cruise Line pages and refreshed Port & Destination pages are coming soon.

What do you think of the new ship detail page format? Will it make it easier to find the reviews and information you’re looking for?

03 6 / 2014

New Feature: Book Your Shore Excursions From Cruiseline.com

You can now book shore excursions directly through Cruiseline.com! Under the “More” tab, select “Excursions,” and you’ll be taken to this page:

If you already booked your sailing, enter the details by selecting your cruise line, ship, and sailing date from the drop-down menus. Then click “Find my Excursions.”

The itinerary of your sailing, including the shore excursions offered in each port, will display. A photo, description, price, and other details are provided right on the page to make your selection easier. Also, we pulled in insider port tips from members who’ve sailed to these places.

For example, if you’re sailing on Carnival Dream on June 29, you have 32 excursion options in Cozumel, 18 in Grand Cayman, and 19 in Montego Bay.

See something you like? Click “See details & book,” and you’ll be taken to our partner’s page, Triptelligent, where you can enter your payment information, and voila! Your excursion is booked.

Or if you want to see what’s offered based on a port that interests you, toggle to the “By Port” tab on Cruiseline.com’s Excursions page and enter the destination. 

If your cruise is taking you to Nassau, The Bahamas, for example, a list of all of the excursion options will populate the page.

We know that deciding what to do with your precious port hours is difficult, and we want to make sure you know all of your options.

What’s the hardest part about booking an excursion? Let us know at hello(at)cruiseline.com!

12 5 / 2014

How to Find the Best Cabin. Our New Feature Lets You Search Reviews by Cabin Number or Type

So you’ve got the first part figured out: where you’re going to cruise and what ship you’re sailing. Now, the hard part: choosing a cabin. As ships get larger, there are more and more cabin categories from which to choose. Some ships have more than 30 categories to choose from!

We took the guesswork out of it. Now you can search our ship reviews based on cabin type. Do you know the exact cabin you want on your sailing? You can also search by cabin number.

For example, let’s say you’re cruising on Disney Fantasy. Select the Cabins tab on the ship’s page, and you’ll see the different categories available and the number of member reviews for each.

Interested in a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom? Click “2 reviews” next to that cabin category, and you’ll be taken to a reviews page where you can read what other cruisers had to say.

But if you’ve already looked at the ship’s deck plan and know which category, and possibly which cabin number, you’d like to stay in, switch to the Reviews tab.

Click on the Cabin No. box under the Cabin Type column, and you’ll see a drop-down menu of all the cabins that Cruiseline.com has reviews for. 

Once you select a cabin, read what other members have to say about it. For example, there’s one review for cabin number 9026 on Disney Fantasy, and the reviewer thought there was “plenty of storage.”

No one wants to be stuck under the nightclub or the pool deck, so learn from other members and check out what your cabin is like before you book, and it’ll be smooth sailing. Have questions about a cabin? Simply comment on the review, and the cruiser who stayed in that cabin will be notified of your question. You can also post any cabin questions in our forums.

We hope this will take the stress out of cruise ship cabin selection and help you find the perfect cabin for you and your party. Do you find it helpful? Any recommendations? Let us know at hello(at)cruiseline.com!

06 5 / 2014

Cruise Destinations: Everything You Need to Know About Cruises to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska, and more!

Cruiseline.com now has destination pages!

We have added a new tab on Cruiseline.com’s top navigation: Destinations. Check it out and see all of the places in the world that you can sail to.

These pages tell you what you’re likely to see when cruising to a certain part of the world, when is the ideal time to go, and what routes you can take. For example, did you know there are two main routes on Alaska cruises: Inside Passage and Gulf of Alaska?

Once you select a destination that you’re interested in — say, Alaska — click on the link, and you’ll be taken to a new page with community photos from our members’ Alaska cruises.

The different tabs will give you reasons for taking an Alaska cruise, as well as other cruise options, like expedition cruises and cruise tours — basically everything you need or want to know about cruising to the destination you selected.

Once you’ve learned about the destination, how about looking at actual cruises? Well, how much do you want to spend? We show you what cruise lines sail to that area, separated by mainstream, premium, and luxury line tabs.

Interested in what our experts think of a specific cruise line? Click “Read expert review,” and you’ll be taken to our professional review of the line in Bon Voyage magazine. Remember, all of our expert reviews are written by experienced writers who have sailed on those cruise lines.

Once you’ve chosen your destination and cruise line, take a look at all of the ports in that region. Not all cruises sail to these places, but this information may help you decide which route you’d most enjoy.

Toggle between the Visiting and Departing ports tabs for ideas on which port you’d like to depart from and which ones you’d like to visit.

The percentage number on each port photo is our members’ rating of that port — the percentage who said they loved that port of call — for a quick glimpse of what people who’ve visited it thought. You can also read detailed member reviews of the port or our expert Insider’s Guide from Bon Voyage by clicking the blue buttons under the photo.

We’ve made finding and choosing a cruise destination that much simpler by combining all of the information you need to select your perfect cruise destination.

As always, let us know what you think of new features like this. Email us at hello@cruiseline.com anytime!

What is your favorite cruise destination? Share it with us on Twitter @CruiselineTalk.

25 4 / 2014

We’ve improved! Check out how we’ve made cruise shopping even easier.

With the sheer number of cruise ports out there, it can be hard to pinpoint where exactly each port is on a given itinerary. Yes, the cruise may be going to the Eastern Caribbean, but where exactly are Nassau and St. Thomas in relation to each other?

Now on each cruise page on Cruiseline.com, there’s an interactive Google™ map with the itinerary plotted out for you. 

Simply click on the map, and it will open in a new window. You can look at it in satellite view, too.

Then feel free to zoom in and out and hover over the pins to see the port names. Click on a port’s pin, and you’ll be taken to the Cruiseline.com page that includes reviews and tips of that port from other cruisers.

Scroll below the map, and you’ll find a list of the ports, including arrival and departure times.

Want to see photos of the sailing and ship? On the far right are members’ photos of their cruise vacations so you can see firsthand what you’re getting with that ship. Click a photo, and a new window will open where you can scroll through cruiser and professional photos to get a glimpse of the specific ship and ports.

Ready to book? Our pricing feature is right in the photo window, so select your preferred sail date and see the price for that sailing.

Additionally, the price alerts and graph have moved between the map and photos for easy access once you’ve selected an itinerary.

Now you can see the cruise’s route, photos of the sailings, and prices all on one page. We hope these updates make it easier for you to plan and find your perfect cruise. As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. Email us at hello@cruiseline.com.

Google is a trademark of Google Inc.

02 4 / 2014

Most Popular Cruise Photos on Cruiseline.com

We get a lot of great photos uploaded to Cruiseline.com every day by our dedicated members, and we wanted to show off the best of the best! These are the most popular photos posted to Cruiseline.com with the most “likes” by you!

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User MATTHUNTER uploaded this photo of King’s Wharf, Bermuda, taken on his cruise on Norwegian Breakaway in October 2013.

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This beautiful sunrise from Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas in October 2013 was shared by user schastain.

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User moonjazz posted this photo from a hike of Nugget Falls in Juneau, Alaska, as part of a sailing on Holland America Line’s Westerdam in September 2013.

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Texassea uploaded this photo of herself in her very own Cruiseline.com T-shirt in Belize during a sailing on Carnival Magic.

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Texassea also shared this photo of the deck on Carnival Magic against partially cloudy skies.

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This great photo of the Blue Lagoon in Nassau, The Bahamas, is by user dctileman on Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas.

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This photo gives a bird’s eye view of the waters of Santorini, Greece, from user Cooper03 during a sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas.

24 3 / 2014

New Feature: Get Price Alerts on Your Ideal Cruise

Cruiseline.com rolled out a new feature: the price alert! When logged in to the site, you can add cruises you’re interested in and get email alerts when the price drops. No need to check the price on your ideal cruise — we’ll do it for you.

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Start a price alert by clicking the button on the right-hand side of the page. You’ll see a pop-up that looks like this:

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There are two types of price alerts. You have the option to set up one or both.

The first type alerts you when the cabin on your selected sailing goes below the price you indicated.

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The second sends you the best price for the sailing you selected, either daily or weekly, depending on your preference.

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^Your completed price alert will look like either of these, depending on what type of price alert you choose.

Click “Save to Watchlist,” and we’ll let you know if and when your cruise drops to or below your preferred price!

Want to get alerts on multiple cruises? Just repeat the steps with a different ship or sail date, and keep adding to your list. Remember, your price alert starts as soon as you begin to watch a cruise price, so create yours now.

Every time you log in, you’ll see this box, updating you on your watched cruises:

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Another helpful money-saving tool to remember is the price graph. Find out when the cheapest sailing on your cruise is, and set up an alert if the price drops even lower!

As always, these features come with your free Cruiseline.com membership!

What do you think? Will you use this new money-saving feature?

10 3 / 2014

New Feature: Top-Ranked Cruise Ships Based on User Reviews

Don’t know what cruise ship you want to sail on? Cruiseline.com’s new page lists the best cruise ships, according to your reviews — more than 43,000 of them!

We looked at all ships with at least 20 user reviews and ranked them based on the highest average score.

Crystal Symphony took the No. 1 spot with a 4.8 rating, and Disney Dream follows close behind with a 4.6. The rest of the top 10 are as follows: Disney Fantasy, Celebrity Reflection, Oasis of the Seas, Disney Wonder, Allure of the Seas, Disney Magic, Celebrity Silhouette, and Freedom of the Seas.

If you’re open on the price point, size, and destination, scroll through our list and see which ships everyday cruisers say are the best.

On the other hand, if you have a set price, size, or location you’re looking for, choose the filters that best suit your needs. 

For example, looking for a moderately priced, large ship sailing to the Caribbean? Select “$$” or “$$$,” the “L,” and click Caribbean from the drop-down list of destinations.

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^Your filters will look like this.

Once you pick your filters, the top ship according to the selections will float to the top of the page. 

In this case, Celebrity Reflection ranks highest with a 4.5 rating and 76 member reviews.

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Click the “All member reviews” link to read what Cruiseline.com members thought of their sailing on the ship. This will bring you to that ship’s individual page, which has photos, reviews, tips, and more. For some ships, we even have an expert review from a Bon Voyage writer who sailed on that ship.

Looking for a budget cruise to the Caribbean? Simply select “$” and Caribbean, and the highest-ranked ship will rise to the top.

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Looks like Royal Caribbean tops this list.

Or maybe you’re looking for the best XL ship, which has more than 4,000 passengers.

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Now, Disney Cruise Line ships take the top spots.

What ship do you think is the best?

28 2 / 2014

March Madness Leaderboard Contest is back!

It’s that time of year again: March Madness on Cruiseline.com! We’re about to start shelling out some seriously sweet travel swag to our community of cruising connoisseurs, and we won’t stop till the month is through. 

How do I get my hands on said swag you ask? Prepare to be amazed at how easy it really is. No basketball brackets necessary.

Head to Cruiseline.com, sign up to be a member (if you already are then you’re a rock star), and begin sharing your personal cruise experiences — the good, the bad, and the ugly — by writing reviews or uploading photos. But don’t stop there; keep racking up points by offering insider tips, chatting it up in the forum, checking in for roll call, or commenting on other reviews.

Simply filling out your profile can push you ahead of the pack. Uploading a profile picture alone gets you 10 points! You could do this in your sleep, right? Maybe, but we wouldn’t suggest it. 

Any member that hits 100 points each week will receive a prize and at the end of the month, one ultimate Cruiseline.com community king of the world will be crowned and handsomely rewarded, of course — because that’s the kind of people we are.

It all kicks off March 1 at 12 am EST and concludes March 31 at 11:59 pm, so mark your calendar! Check back every day to see how you’re doing, and challenge your fellow cruisers to some friendly competition. 

Here’s what 100 points will win you in week 1:

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Spot your bag with ease with this blue luggage identifier! Just attach it around your suitcase and leave all the other boring black bags in your dust.

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