About CruiseMates Cruise Reviews
Written by: Paul Motter
CruiseMates will be celebrating its tenth year on the Internet this August. We were the first cruise consumer-focused, advertising supported web site on the Internet, although there were other good cruise sites on the web in 1999. Those sites included “The Wheelhouse” and Cruise2.com. It did not include Cruise Critic, which was available only on AOL but not on the Internet until 2000.
CruiseMates was founded with Anne Campbell as the cruise editor, and myself, Paul Motter, as the rest of the story. Many people already knew Anne as the editor of Cruise Critic from 1995 to 1999. As the founding editor of both Cruise Critic and CruiseMates, Anne Campbell set the standard for Internet cruise reviews that always put the consumer first. Anne was a pioneer in online cruise line reporting, and you can continue to read her cruise opinions at www.shipcriticblog.com and her New York cruise site, www.cruisingfromnewyork.com. Anne has the same outlook and writing style as she has always had, often giving the unvarnished truth when other reporters are keeping mum.
Editorial standards are extremely important, especially when there are web sites that write little more than fluff about cruising. It is hard to commit to always writing the truth, even when it might hurt people we personally know and like at a cruise line, but ultimately the fact that we always put our readers first is what has made us a success today.
We are dependent upon advertising from the cruise lines as well as their willingness to allow us to travel on their ships to keep us supplied with information for you to read. So, it is a challenge to keep our promise to always report the truth, good or bad. So ultimately we know that the only way we can meet that challenge is to win the support of as many readers as possible. Today we get some 3,000,000-cruise enthusiasts to CruiseMates every year – compare that to any guidebook. And now more than ever industry sources say the Internet is the number one driver of cruise business. The cruise industry needs us as much as cruise consumers need us.
As noted, any guidebook or web site that needs to cover the entire cruise industry must rely upon the generosity of the cruise lines. At CruiseMates we admit and fully disclose that the cruise lines mostly (not always) sponsor our cruises. As far as I know, we are the first and only cruise web site to fully disclose that fact. Look for the link to our editorial policy disclosure statement on our “cruise reviews” page. We do it so you know that we have nothing to hide.
If any journalist is writing a glowing review about a cruise ship solely because the cruise line gave him or her a free stateroom then you are being ripped off. Newspapers have long had policies against travel writers accepting free trips for this precise reason. Unfortunately, the result has been that few newspapers have in-depth reporting about cruise ship vacations. One cruise may not be an expensive vacation, but to cover well over 125 ships every year would be an impossibly expensive undertaking.
There is really only one goal at CruiseMates, to get to the truth no matter what. How can a cruise site dependent upon cruise lines afford to criticize the cruise lines? Because we have “reach.” If you Google the name of any cruise line and the word “reviews” you will see that CruiseMates and our sister site, cruisereviews.com (also owned by Internet Brands and also using the same reviews as CruiseMates) comes up at two of the top three spots almost every time.
Any cruise line would be foolish to ignore our reviews when some three million people visit CruiseMates and 1.5 million visit Cruisereviews.com every year. Plus our cruise line and ship reviews are our most popular articles. It is because of YOU, our esteemed readers, that we have the freedom to be honest in our reporting.
Bottom line, if you read it in CruiseMates you can be 99.99% sure you are reading what you want and need to know. We have reader-contributed reviews for all of the cruise lines as well as our staff-written reviews, but our staff reviews tend to focus more on ship details and less on opinion, since opinion is a personal thing.
And when we do regrettably make mistakes in our reporting we truly appreciate it when you bring it to our attention. No matter what, our goal is to always give you the unvarnished truth.
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Posted: June 11th, 2009 under Paul Motter.