I guess I am one of the few people in the cruise (online) world with almost NO Cruise Critic experience at all.
I have sailed with CSB on Carnival cruises, so I know she has been on them. One I recall was that Carnival Dream cruise I mentioned. I don't know any other history she has with them but I would assume she has been on several of them.
My wife's first cruise was on Carnival Conquest and she had a great time. She loved interacting with the waiters and all the silly things they do - she thought it was all a hoot. She also loved the ports; horseback riding in Jamaica, Stingray City, etc. She was amazed at the food and room service.
For a first-time cruiser Carnival has a product that surprises and pleases the vast majority of "average people" with its quality. I think there is a very jaded mindset that comes with identifying yourself as a "cruise critic".
My former partner in CruiseMates, Anne Campbell, was the first editor of Cruise Critic, and it was supposed to be a content area about cruising where she took cruises and rated the ships. That is the origin of the name. The message boards were just a part of the site for people to talk and share information. Most people, Like Kuki, who went there regularly were very nice and fun people.
But Anne and I had this talk about the name of our respective site names:
"CruiseMates" = friendly and fun people who enjoy cruising
"Cruise Critic" = people with a bone to pick about cruising
But you know what they say - influence trickles from the top down. That "know-it-all" attitude of even inferring she (or Peter Greenburg for that matter) really knows there is a "problem" with Carnival seems pretty presumptuous when you think about it. They are not privy to any inside information at Carnival - none of us are.
But they infer, and "read the tea leaves" and with the press credentials officially declare there is a problem. And the readers of Cruise Critic see that and feel more than justified in acting the same way.
It is SO easy to judge other people (especially corporations) and say "this is obviously a problem," and "this is what they should do" that I just think its a joke when I see people talking that way, as if they are smarter than the people who built the business from the bottom up.
I work in the same circles as she works and I can tell you how close to the vest cruise lines keep mechanical and other business details. And everyone knows how Carnival refrained from commenting on most Triumph issues - to the point where the media was all saying "not a very good job of PR
So to take that to the next level and to come out and say "I know there's a problem there and I would not recommend the company" - really? What do you know that I don't know, because I have not heard anything that points to a specific Carnival problem there.
People like me & CSB know that cruise ships are all built by the same people, the crewmembers come from the same sources, etc etc etc. It is possible that Carnival has just had a run of bad luck.
It is also possible that media is focused on Carnival and reporting things that happen all the time as if they have never heard it before (and many of the non-cruise media probably haven't) - but you know what, I would expect CSB to be one of the media people NOT to jump on the sensationalism bandwagon.