www.cruising.org

PROS:

Site for Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group representing 19 of the major lines serving North America. Can search ships and cruises by special features or themes. Directs you to travel specialists by Zip code.

CONS:

Only lists cruises for member lines.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Can now look up cruises by departure port.

www.cruisecritic.com

PROS:

Good, objective articles, such as "Best Cruises for Weddings," and reviews of more than 210 individual ships with demographics, dress codes, etc.

CONS:

Reviews by readers are uneven and, because they vary so much, can be confusing.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Now has last-minute bargains offered by various discounters. Prices are good, and a lead time of several weeks is common.

www.cruisemates.com

PROS:

Thorough reviews of ships from 25 lines written by Anne Campbell, former AOL cruise critic and guidebook author. Information is objective. Up-to-date news section, which is valuable during hurricane season.

CONS:

Almost too much information -- site seems cluttered. Advertising is large and annoying.

NEW & NOTABLE:

Offers a tool called "Cruise Bazaar" that's similar to Cruisecompete.com (see below).

www.cruisecompete.com

PROS:

Plug in cruise particulars and site peddles your request to nearly 90 travel agencies who then send you bids. Service is free, and prices are often lower than those on traditional cruise-booking sites.

CONS:

Registration required. Some agencies are much more likely than others to respond, so you still need to check prices outside the site.

NEW & NOTABLE:

List of participating agencies keeps growing.