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Were We On the Same Ship?

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I write some of the cruise reviews for In preparation for writing a review, I leave myself daily notes… using words and phrases to serve as reminders of a particular event; be it a part of dinner or dinner service I want to comment on, or the condition of a furnishings, or staff interaction, or offerings in entertainers, activities or tours. I never try and form any conclusions based on anything that comes up early in a cruise. I like to allow the cruise to play out in its entirety, and then look at it, and examine it as a whole, a single entity; the cruise. I also like to talk to fellow passengers who I encounter during the cruise, and try to talk to them about their experiences, because one person is most certainly not going to see or experience everything that happens on the ship during a cruise.
Then, examining at it as whole, combining my own experiences, and what I feel I’ve gleamed from other passengers, I’ll try and assemble all the pieces into a single review. Once I’ve finished and submitted my review I like to surf the net a bit and read other’s reviews, particularly if I come across some written by others on the same sailing.
On occasion, I’m left staring in glassy-eyed amazement at the pages I’ve just read; left wondering… Were we on the same ship????
Based on the numbers of reviews and reports we read which include the phrase “Cruise From Hell” we can only assume that cruising is often a problematic and even dangerous vacation choice.

On a recent flight into New York City we were forced to circle over Newark Airport for almost 2 hours, and when we finally begin our descent, the turbulence was significant, and many passengers on the airplane were hastily pulling out the little white vomit bags, instead of their carry on bags. When we finally landed safely, and pulled up to our gate, the passengers rushed to disembark, happy we had arrived at our destination.

If an event similar to this had occurred on a cruise ship, we’d have had passengers screaming profanities at the crew, later writing letters to the cruise lines, and posting negative and venomous comments on all the cruise related message boards on the internet, while contacting their lawyer, who they have on speed dial on their telephones.

So, what are the factors that seem to give cruise passengers the green light to take sometimes vicious approaches to carry their grievances to the readers of any public forum they can find? What is it that makes people believe they have suddenly become as qualified as Gourmet Magazine`s food critic, to deem the food inedible, and the service atrocious?

Of course we all have a right to our opinions, and we all know what we like. There’s no doubt our personal tastes rightfully affect our views, and our reactions to our experiences. What I have trouble understanding is how easily people will allow a problem, or negative experience in regard to individual aspects of their cruise, cloud their views of the overall cruise experience so dramatically that they write only about the negatives.

As a writer, and most certainly as a reader, I want to see a balanced approach to a cruise review. While things rarely go perfectly, it`s also true that things rarely go so badly that the term `Cruise From Hell` accurately portrays the experience.

We love to receive your Reader Reviews to share with folks at CruiseMates. People researching can gleam so much information if people share their own experiences. But I do encourage all of those who take the trouble to write and share those experiences to not take the word `Critic` too much to heart. I encourage you to write about your cruise experiences, stepping back and taking an objective look at your entire experience, and sharing that balanced look. I do believe readers give more credence to reviews that talk about both the good and the bad, and they tend to disregard those which are obviously written to simply vent about a particular issue, or carry the baggage of someone`s individual agenda.

Would love to hear some comments from our readers on this one. What do you like to see covered in cruise reviews?





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Comment from Dave the Wave
Time December 4, 2008 at 9:56 am

I would like to see people put reviews in the “Reviews” section. Many people write reviews of their cruise but post it in the forum where it eventually gets lost. This is fine but also copy and paste it into the “library” of reviews so folks can go there and read them in the future. I always read as many as I can when I have an upcoming cruise. I have posted several there myself.

Comment from RayB
Time December 4, 2008 at 11:02 am

Since I am a very poor writer I do not write reviews. I make a few statements, mostly good, about the cruise.

About people who complain to companies about being sick? Well I cannot understand why anyone complain about something that cannot be prevented. Weather causes turbulence being it in the air or on the seas. The crews cannot control that therefore complaints should never be made. And thats my opinion whether right or wrong.

Comment from Bonnie Simpson
Time December 5, 2008 at 11:04 am

Everyone has different things that interest them. I do get angry when people are on these bashing missions. One negative & they come on these boards with nothing but negative remarks & it always ends with harsh words. That really does no good. Not very constructive.
I’m one of these that loves the activities. I play Name That Tune, Battle of The Sexes, putting contests, cooking classes. I love to be busy.
That would be a big thing for me to know about.
First of all we are Elite on Celebrity & Diamond on RCL. For the perks, these are the only lines we go on anymore.
We just came off the Solstice Inaugural. Beautiful ship, some of the best staff, good activities, good bars, great food.
Negatives ? Yes.
What I thought was lacking were the theme nights. I enjoy the sail away party. They usually get everyone up & teach some cute party dances. Didn’t happen. For a while I was the only one dancing with the entertainment staff. No sock hop, no pool side caribbean night.
Would I trash them for this on a board ? Of course not. I would tell people about it. It might be something they really like about cruising. I did talk with Nick, the CD, & a few pertinent people with my thoughts.
We still had a fabulous cruise & I would go back on again.
After reading some of the multiple threads about the Solstice on various boards, I did wonder if they were on the same ship that I was ?
What could have been so bad that someone would write, ” It was horrible. I’ll never cruise Celebrity again.”
There are some people who aren’t happy unless they are miserable & they want everyone else to be miserable also. Life is too short !!
Sorry if this is so long.

Comment from Kuki
Time December 5, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Dave… I ABSOLUTELY agree, that everyone should remember to post their reviews in the Member’s Review section. They are archived there, and much easier to find.
One they’re posted on the boards, it takes just a few days until they are pages back on the boards, and unless people go hunting, are much less uselful.


Comment from Kuki
Time December 5, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Bonnie… thank for your comments. Sadly, there are the types who do seem to just exist to be miserable.

I am one very much “the more information the better” in reviews. If there are areas of it that wouldn’t interest me, I can always skim over those parts.


Comment from LHP
Time December 6, 2008 at 2:11 pm

It is a shame when someone lets one or two incidents “ruin a cruise”.

I have come to the conclusion that when I cruise, I am going to have a great time….unless the ship sinks.

And even if the ship sinks, as long as no one is hurt and the company gives me enough perks for my inconvenience…I will still have a great time!!!

Yes, things happen. And I do write suggestions for improvements to Carnival when I run across these things.

But “ruin my cruise”….NEVER!!!

Comment from cruisinsoon
Time December 7, 2008 at 11:47 am

Kuki — My comment is quick and to the point. You are RIGHT ON!!! Thanks for saying it so well!!!

Comment from Liz
Time December 7, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Hi Kuki 🙂

Well my friend recently drove all the way to Miami to cruise puerto rico etc, but when he got there the cruise was changed to the caribbean cruise you can take from the Conquest due to the hurricane. He grumbled and griped all night at work, and i finally looked him in the eye and said ” you know how lucky you are your car isnt in the gulf of mexico right now, or fired since you couldnt return after your vacation time (we have a strict policy that you must return from vacation on the day your say or you find yourself in hot water). I told him to be thankful that he got a great vacation and still had his car and his health, not to mention his job.

He shut his mouth after that.

Comment from Manya
Time December 8, 2008 at 11:02 am

On my last cruise, the food did not meet our expectations. As a travel agent, I came back after my cruise finding it difficult to ‘rave’ about the food for that cruiseline… although all my passengers continue to come back with posiitive comments. There is a CONSTRCUTIVE (it outlined the good and bad) review on Cruisemates that could have been written by us… it was so on the money… I wish I could have made a comment attached to that review to ‘second that opinion’ .

I don’t think I would ever write a ‘cruise from hell’ review unless the cruiseline did not address my ‘concerns’ either during the cruise or afterwards (I mean at all that is) … any trip, whether it be ship or land based has the potential to turn bad or having something that does not live up to your expectations… it’s what you do yourself to make it better that counts… you can sulk and rant or you can find that teenie tiny ray of hope that things will get better and MAKE IT better… it’s your $$ and your time… if you WANT to remember it as horrible you certainly can ensure that by picking on every little thing that goes wrong.

I am sure those of you that cruise frequently, potentially could run into the problem of constantly picking out the negative or what another cruiseline does better. I am so glad to see so many that see mostly the positive and the love of cruising continues.

Comment from Eileen Vernon
Time December 9, 2008 at 1:56 pm

I submitted my review of the HAL cruise of the Pacific Rim to Australia. I hope everyone reads it. The Amsterdam is a wonderful ship. the food and service were outstanding.

Comment from Joyce Roach
Time December 11, 2008 at 7:50 pm

I was on the Jewel the same time as Kuki, but didn’t know it. I always try to make the best of any cruise. There may be the odd thing wrong, but not enough to ruin my long awaited vacation. I love cruising and being at sea and your trip is what you make of it. I won’t let anything ruin it.

Comment from Kuki
Time December 11, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Joyce.. good attitude. Too bad we didn’t get to meet on board.

Comment from MT NESTR
Time December 27, 2008 at 2:22 pm

In august we took a baltic sea cruise. I kept a journal that I shared with my friends and they really enjoyed it. I would be willing to send it to you so you can post it in cruise reviews. I’ve used other people’s reviews from here when I researched our upcoming cruise to South America. Let me know and I will send them to you.

Comment from Bob
Time December 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Maybe it is because our expectations are not as high, or maybe we are just realistic, but my wife and I have never taken a bad cruise. Of course, some are better that others, and the disembarkation in Ensenada was a truely horrific experience, but, it would not stop us from cruising again

We cruise 2-3 times a year, and always treat it as a special occasion. We have never felt we haven’t gotten our money’s worth, and, after finishing a cruise, start planning for the next one.

I guess some people need to whine and complain, and, who knows, maybe the bathroom really did smell like sewage, a pleasure we have never had. On the few occasions where we did have a problem, it has been resolved at the first level, never needed to speak with a department head.

Only 2 weeks and 6 days until our next one- I’m pumped!!

Comment from Cory
Time January 8, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Kuki – you are absolutely right – and the same applies to anything in life – some people cope and some people try to blame someone else for their unhappiness. Thanks for this blog!

Comment from gfc
Time June 11, 2009 at 8:25 pm

I realize this article is aged but it was new to me. 😉

It is true, the phrase “cruise from hell” has been overused, misapplied and generally when spoken, everything after is ignored because listeners have become conditioned to tune out. Yet, cruises from hell exist and are composed of many elements–I know, I’ve been on one. Did I write a review outlining the numerous problems? No. Why? Because although a significant number of other passengers shared some or even all of the same issues I did, the simple response was not to cruise on that ship again. After all, there were people on that cruise who didn’t have these issues and thought it was a great cruise.

But when I read what I would like to see is specifics. If you are going to talk about the food (good or bad) be specific, too much salt, light fluffy mousse, etc. Ditto, the entertainment, the service, the ports. Too many people say, it was the best cruise we’ve ever taken, but fail to say what made it different from other cruises. Merely saying great service or ports reduces the value of the review because like cruises from hell, a great cruise is composed of many elements. It would be nice to get a broader view of the overall experience.

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