Unprecedented Number of Consumers Using Internet to Book Cruise Travel

CruiseBrothers.com clients booked more than 250 cruises online in May alone; more than 1,000 during past five months

CRANSTON, R.I., June 8, 2006. An unprecedented number of U.S. travelers are recognizing that personalized service is not lost at sea when they book cruise vacations online. In fact, thanks to live chat support and other user-friendly Web interfaces introduced by leading travel agents, planning and booking a cruise via the Internet is easier than ever.

CruiseBrothers.com, one of the largest family-owned cruise travel agencies in the country, has enjoyed a huge increase in the number of cruises purchased through its online service.

During the past five months, the agency has booked double the number of cruises online than over the past two years combined, according to President Steven Gelfuso. More than 250 cruises were purchased by consumers via the CruiseBrothers.com online reservation service in May alone; more than 1,000 since January.

“We’ve experienced explosive growth in our online bookings,” Gelfuso
said. “People like using the Internet to make travel purchases as long as the process is simple and secure. We have one of the best online sites out there and a whole team dedicated to online customers, making it very easy for travelers to research and book their next cruise through us. Plus, they also have access to our knowledgeable travel agents online or via telephone who can assist them.”

According to the most recent national research conducted by Cruise Lines International Association, nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents said they would consider booking a cruise online.

>From a consumer’s perspective, Gelfuso says there are several benefits to booking a cruise online:

24/7 Convenience  Rather than having to work around a travel agent’s schedule, cruisers can take advantage of the fact that CruiseBrothers.com online cruise booking services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Search Options  Not sure exactly what type of cruise you are most
interested in taking? CruiseBrothers.com online booking engine let persons quickly evaluate cruise offerings based on home port, duration, ship, size of party, itineraries, budget, shipboard activities and entertainment, and ports-of-call.

Easy Price Comparisons  Planning a cruise online, especially when visiting a CruiseBrothers.com, enables travelers to easily compare the prices of various cruise offerings by multiple cruise lines. In addition, special cruise discounts are sometimes available exclusively online.

Shipboard Views  Want to tour a ship without really being there? The more tech savvy cruise sites feature stateroom layouts, 360-degree views of key ship attractions and views right into your home.

Advance Reservations  In addition to booking your cruise, many online sites also let you book spa and restaurant reservations, shore excursions, golf tee times, equipment rentals and other services well in advance.

Agent Assistance  Persons with questions can access interactive online chat support tools with live operators, or easily pick up the telephone and call someone at CruiseBrothers.com to provide assistance.

“Our clients, especially those that have cruised before or have a good idea of where they want to go on their next voyage, definitely love the convenience of our online booking system,” Gelfuso said. “It saves them time and, in some cases, money since stateroom prices can differ from one agent to the next.”

CruiseBrothers.com, located in Providence, R.I., has been in business for more than 30 years and recently celebrated its 500,000th cruise booking. They are a top producer for all of the major cruise lines. The travel agency has been recognized by MSNBC and travel expert Arthur Frommer as a top “Web Player” in the cruise vacation category.

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