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04/30/04

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How did I plan for our trip?  A combination of books, advise from our travel agent, and some in depth digging on the internet. Here are a few of the links that I found valuable to our trip. Be patient.  I am still trying to organize and sort these links based on subject.  I keep finding more travel and cruise related links and as fast as I put links into categories, I find there are other ways of grouping the sites.

bulletCruise reviews-  The more I search, the more interesting places I find for views and reviews on cruising.  So many that I have had to put the reviews on a separate page!
bulletTravel sites- These are some of the best places to find great deals on travel and on cruises.  In no particular order I have found all valuable both for prices and for reviews of ships.  They also have comprehensive deck plans so you can see exactly where each cabin is (some of their legends are a bit sketchy so you sometimes cannot determine if a cabin has an extra fold out bed or has twin beds that cannot be made into a queen)
bulletiCruise.com
bullet VacationsToGo
bulletExpedia
bulletOrbitz
bulletJaunts 
bulletLast minute - In addition to the sites above, there are two web sites that specialize in last minute bargain rates.  I have not tried them yet for service, but the prices sure look good.
bulletThe Vacation Store
bulletMoment's Notice
bullet Bravenet- I have not had a chance yet to research any of the companies featured on Bravenet, but the prices look amazing.  Especially look at the Tripvalue prices.  Remarkable.
bulletAll inclusive travel sites NOT primarily for booking a cruise.
bullet Cruise Critic. Reviews, late breaking information, message boards.  This site has everything ranging from message boards to reviews to helpful hints about almost everything.  Signup is free. (Check out the thread on the Celebrity message board on "what happens if you die while on the ship?". It is hilarious!)
bullet Celebrity Cruise Critic parties.  For those who sign up with Cruise Critic, Celebrity offers a special free get together party.  There are a few steps in this process.  First, you have to sign up with Cruise Critic. Second, check to see if anybody has announced a party.  Third, sign up for the party at the special Celebrity site.  If more than 25 people sign up, the party is on and Celebrity will send you notice.
bulletTravel pages. Unfortunately the site does not permit direct links to the embedded pages.  There are reviews of most major lines and ships.
bulletCruise Clues- A very impressive personal site with some of the best content and most extensive links around. The authors have links to weather reports, cruise history, visa information, and virtually everything else!
bulletCruise Travel- This is the website of the magazine, Cruise Travel.  While primarily a vehicle for their magazine (which, by the way, is excellent) it does have considerable information on books and videos that can be ordered.
bulletShore Excursions - We used the ship services for our first shore excursions simply because it was the easiest ways to get guaranteed service with no surprises.  Next time we are considering using the following two services since they are quite a bit cheaper than the tours the cruises offer.
bulletAccessible Adventures in St. Thomas
bulletShoreTrips
bulletWhat time is it? Is is day or night?
bulletMedical Information.  From cruise line inspection records to the latest information of cruise sicknesses, here are the sites.
bulletCDC Center for Disease Control.  Information on the inspection records for all cruise ships.  You will need Adobe reader (a free download) to see most of this information.
bulletCruise2 has some good information on recent illnesses on ships
bulletSARS information- from U.S. State Department
bulletPassports and visas.  Do you really need a passport or a visa?  It depends on where you go.  Many Caribbean countries require neither, but you will have to have both picture ID and an official state birth certificate (not a copy)
bullet Requirements for individual countries- A list of countries and the requirements for each country from the U.S. State Department.
bullet Passport information from the U.S. Government.  Included on this site is information regarding where and how to get a passport and the actual forms to submit for a passport.
bulletTravel warnings - From the U.S. State Department
bulletWeather information - If you travel during hurricane season you will want to know the status of the weather both before you go and while you are on your trip.  Check out NOAA for the latest short and long term forecasts.
bulletNational Hurricane Center - U.S. Government site
bullet Celebrity special interests sites- A collection of sites built by supporters of Celebrity Cruise Line.  These sites have far more information about Celebrity than the official Celebrity site has!
bullet Celebrity Galaxy - A comprehensive review with pictures of the Galaxy by Brett and Patsy.
bulletLinks of links- Pages of links to cruise information.  Some of the links in these pages are quite good (and we have included them in our links).  Many go to travel agents.  You are on your own!
bullet Yahoo
bullet Open Directory Also try some of the subheadings for additional information.
bulletCruise @ddicts- Cute name and lots of links.  Some cruise reviews and member pages.
bulletWebring -  A web ring is a collection of sites for a single purpose.  Here is the one for cruising.  some of the sites are inactive, some of the sites are somewhat off topic, but there are a few good ones in the bunch.
bulletMiscellaneous stuff- Things that don't really fit into any of the categories above
bulletSealetter Cruise Magazine- While many of the links on this site seem to end in "page Not Found" messages, what is there is quite interesting.  Besides having reviews of ships, the writers cover all sort of interesting topics like ship doctors (and how well trained they are) and gambling on cruise lines.
bulletCruise Diva- Fun facts about the Century.  This site also has some nice overall sections on packing, general ship information, and lots of odds and ends that we do not cover (Check out the article on gentlemen companions!).
bulletVoyagers Anonymous.  This site actually gave me the idea to include the dinner menus on this site.  Dennis Marks included the dinner menus for both the RCI and the Sitmar lines.  This should give you some idea how well you can eat on a cruise.
bullet Ketchikan, Alaska.  Want to know what ships are in Ketchikan at any particular time?  This is the page to go to.(Don't know why I found this so interesting, but I did)
bulletOur other sites-
bulletHolland America Veendam Our first cruise and the only other site that we really have information on so far.  Below are the ships we hope to sail over the next few years
bulletHolland America Zuiderdam
bulletCelebrity Millennium
bulletCelebrity Century  This site.
 
bulletWhoops! And I can't forget the most important site of all for those interested in Celebrity.
bulletCelebrity Cruise Lines

 

 

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