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in     by Administrator 10.17.2014

Look to independent cruise websites for up-to-date information on cruises, ships and destinations.

While the major cruise lines offer important information from their official channels, you'll need to tune into one of these independent sites to get the real scoop. Some sites, such as Cruise Critic and Cruise Mates, focus on lively discussions via forums and message boards. Others, like Cruise Currents and Cruise Fever, concentrate on cruise news and reviews from written sources.

All cruise sites make their daily bread by posting digital ads. The big boys leverage thier larges followings by offering cruise deals from cruise lines and travel agents. All of the top sites are free, so there's no subscription fees.

In alphabetical order, our five favorite places to keep up with the cruise industry are:

Cruise Addicts. The third-largest community of online cruise-a-holics, this site features news and information, online discussions and ship reviews. The site produces a weekly podcast and live port cams. They offer cruise deals through their message board. John Shallo is the site’s primary contributor. Cruise Addicts on Facebook Cruise Addicts on Twitter

Cruise Critic. The largest cruise community on the internet, this 10-year-old site has developed a rabid following. The site’s forums and message boards often erupt when a dissenting opinion is presented. The site specializes in reviews: ship review, cruise reviews, destinations reviews – you name it. Be prepared for plenty of attitude, these cruisers are serious! Cruise Critic on Facebook Cruise Critic on Twitter

Cruise Currents. The newest cruise website, it’s run by a young upstart named Mike Faust. He eschews the usual cruise deals, concentrating solely on cruise news, reviews and information. The site’s blog has won numerous awards over the past couple years. If growth remains steady, the site may become one if the three largest cruise sites soon. Cruise Currents on Facebook Cruise Currents on Twitter

Cruise Fever. Unlike the three leading cruise websites, this venue doesn’t offer message boards or forums. They do have a large Facebook following, second in size after Cruise Critic. The fairly new site specializes in cruise news, cruise tips and cruise reviews. Like most cruise sites, it also offers cruise deals. Cruise Fever on Facebook Cruise Fever on Twitter

Cruise Mates. The second largest cruise website, this long-time venture boasts thousands of cruise reviews, a phot-sharing gallery and a daily cruise trivia quiz. The site’s 12-year-old Cruise Compete feature allows you to post cruise requests that can be answered by travel agents. Paul Motter is the company’s primary blogger. Cruise Mates on Facebook Cruise Mates on Twitter