I am exploring taking a cruise through Europe. The clearest website to book this seems to be costa, because it has a nice last minute option. Are there any other European vendors for last minute cruisers?
Costa cruises offer some amazing last minute deals, as they are still trying to rebuild a client base following the Concordia sinking. As a line based in Italy they tend to have a lot of Southern European / medeteranian client base, with a very multilingual feel. Popular with families, they seem to have a lot of activities.
For Northern European departures you could consider Tui cruises, a German based line, or CDF Croisières de France, line offering medditerainan options. For a more traditional (or old fashioned) cruise you could consider hopping the channel to the UK with both Cunard and p&o offering departures from Southampton.
And the American lines also base boats here in Europe.
Best advice when booking cruises is to concider the following points
Where you want to go, and depart from - how much extra will it cost to get to the departure port
How much you have to spend. The base price may seem cheap, but will usuall be for a small (comfortable) inside cabin. It's extra for a porthole, even more for a balcony.
Extras. Don't forget compulsory tips/gratuities charged per person per day. Also, cost of drinks on board. It might be work looking at an all inclusive option if offered, as it can be €8 or more for a beer or glass of wine on board some lines.
It seems strange but you often get better deals from travel agents, than you do direct from the cruise line. Always shop around.
In the UK one agent is cruisedeals.co.uk, or cruise.co.uk in the U.S. Vacations to go, in Spain the El Corte inglais department stores have a travel agency that seems good with cruises.