One of the things I love about a cruise is being able to dip in and out of lots of destinations. And I’m not alone. Whenever cruise passengers are asked how they choose a voyage, the answer is itinerary.
But suppose you have been to Santorini and Mykonos and want to cruise to some other Greek Islands? Or you specifically want a voyage that visits Naples, so you can see Pompeii, or that stops in Riga in the Baltic? Short of searching through endless brochures there is no way to find what you want.
Which is where dealchecker.co.uk’s new Cruise Plotter search facility comes in. Because this natty system allows you to find a cruise to that port you’ve always wanted to visit. Whether that is a popular spot in the Med or some remote harbour in the South Pacific, Cruise Plotter can come to the rescue.
It sounds good, but sales spiel is one thing. Being able to use it is another. So I have been playing around on the system to see if it lives up to the hype.
My verdict? It not only works really well but is so easy – and fast – to use that it surely must revolutionise the way folk pick a cruise. And that is great news, because too often people choose only on price, which is so the wrong way.
Once into Cruise Plotter, the key cruise regions are highlighted on a world map, along with the number of cruises found in each. You pick a region, drill down to the country and port you want and up pops a list of cruises. It really is that simple.
I decided to look for a cruise visiting Monte Carlo in France. Just a few clicks and I had more than 100 itineraries with eight cruise lines to choose from. Actually the choice was bewildering but once you’ve got this far, you can narrow the search by price, date, duration and/or cruise line.
When you see a cruise you like, you click to see the itinerary (and yes, I did make sure the one I chose was indeed visiting Monte Carlo!). Another click takes you to the agent’s website to make the booking.
In case the Med was too easy, I also looked for a cruise to Montevideo in Uruguay. Exactly the same procedure, exactly the same result.
Just four cruise agents are featured on the site at launch (Iglu, Imagine Cruising, Cruise.co.uk and BAway) so imagine what a fantastic resource this will be as more sign up.
Of course, if you don’t know where to go, Cruise Plotter is great for inspiration. I hopped around the world, checking out cruises in South Africa, New Zealand, the Middle East and Iceland. I found plenty that appealed. Now all I need is for Ernie to pick my numbers!
Guest post by Jane Archer: one of Britain’s leading cruise experts. You can read her cruise columns for the Telegaph Travel here.