Not only are cruise vacations more affordable today than any time in recent years, but cruise ships are leaving from more ports in North America. This enables many cruisers to save even more money by driving their own vehicles or taking a short flight to their departure points.

CruiseCompete, the world’s exclusive competitive cruise pricing Web site, also is one of the only places on the Web that provides a complete list of departure ports in the U.S. and the cruise ships leaving from these locations.

“This is a very competitive market for cruise vacations and CruiseCompete.com enables consumers to obtain the very best deals from many of the largest cruise vacation aggregators in the country,” said CruiseCompete.com CEO Bob Levinstein.

“Our port departure tool is especially helpful for those travelers who may be on tight travel budgets. One may not have to travel across the country to take a cruise. Ships are now leaving from locations that were not considered mainstream cruise ports in years past. This really makes cruising easier for many people.”

Historically, cruise ships primarily departed from ports only in southern Florida and California. This is no longer true; today, the East Coast roster of cruise departure points includes (among others): Baltimore, Maryland; Cape Liberty, New Jersey; Boston, Massachusetts; Charleston, South Carolina; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Jacksonville, Florida, Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; New York, New York; Norfolk, Virginia; ,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Port Canaveral, Florida; Portsmouth, Virginia; and Tampa, Florida.

In the South, passengers can embark at Galveston, Texas; Honolulu, Hawaii; Mobile, Alabama, Charlotte Amalie, USVI; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and St. Thomas, USVI.

The West Coast departure points now include: Anchorage, Alaska; Juneau, Alaska; Ketchikan, Alaska; Los Angeles, California; Portland, Oregon; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Seward, Alaska and Whittier, Alaska.

U.S. passengers also have the option of leaving from Vancouver, BC; Victoria, BC, or Montreal, Quebec.

How Cruise Compete Works

The majority of cruise vacations are booked through travel agencies but, given the sheer number of agents in the United States, one never knows which one can provide the best deal on a specific cruise, Levinstein explained, adding that agency Web sites can only list standard retail prices provided by the cruise lines. However, factors like an agency’s relationship with a particular cruise line, access to group space and the agency’s business volume at any given time can all influence the price of a cruise.

CruiseCompete.com solves this dilemma, operating under a simple concept: let the consumer select a cruise and then let member agents compete to offer their best deals via the Internet. This enables the consumer to avoid contacting hundreds of cruise specialists on an individual basis to secure quotes.

The process is simple:

· Consumers first select a cruise, based on itinerary, ship, departure date and port. CruiseCompete.com provides a number of tools to help with this or one can chat with an agent via our “Live Help” link.

· Once a CruiseCompete account is set up, the consumer can make a new quote request online. The ship and sail date are selected from pull-down screen menus, along with information on the passengers traveling and cabin preferences.

· Member-agencies evaluate the request and, if they think they can provide the best deal, submit a quote. CruiseCompete.com lets the consumer know when a new quote is available via email. A link takes the consumer to a comparison of the various quotes. Also included are customer reviews of each agency and contact information.

· The consumer compares the offers and then contacts the agent(s) directly via telephone, email or live chat to ask further questions or book the cruise vacation.

“Many noted national travel experts think CruiseCompete.com is an invaluable tool for planning a cruise vacation, especially given its ease of use” Levinstein said. “But, the numbers tell the real success story. Since the launch of CruiseCompete, more than 1 million customer quote requests have been processed by our cruise specialists.”