Originally Posted by Paul Motter
What is the hardest piece of qualitative or quantitative piece of infoormation about a cruise you have ever needed to find, or on a continuing basis, need to find out?
I think the hardest thing to find online ... on any website, including Cruisemates, is good objective cruise reviews. I think that's always gonna be hard to find because everyone writes to their own experiences. So, the only way to get a more "accurate" handle on a ship or a cruise is to have LOTS of reviews to read ... many of them reasonably current ... so you can at least get a "feel" for the experience to be had on a certain ship or itinerary.
Case in point. A friend of mine from work is planning a Hawaii cruise for next year. He said that the group he is traveling with thought POA would be a good ship to go on. I told him that I honestly believed he and his group were making a mistake. Since they are older and place a premium on "down time" and enjoying each other's company in a relaxed fashion, they would be far better off on a ship that sails round trip from California. I told him that I had read a lot of reviews of POA where service was sometimes an issue. I told him that what he would pay for a sailing on POA, plus round trip airfare to Hawaii, he could almost get a 15 day cruise for the price of a seven-day one.
But, when I tried to point him in the direction of reviews, there weren't enough of them on CruiseMates to give him a clear indication that there were service issues and other problems on POA. So I simply provided him with the URLs for other sites. Hopefully, he'll get enough information now to make up his mind. I told him to stick with reader reviews, as opposed to any "official" staff reviews as the primary basis for making up his mind.
So, in a nutshell, we need more reviews ... lots more reviews ... of all ships. And we need comprehensive ones. Many of the reader reviews posted are only one or two paragraphs, saying whether or not they enjoyed the cruise, but very little information as to what the reviewer based their opinion on. Maybe a form the reader fills in that would guide him in the information it would be helpful for him to provide?
Blue skies ...