I find it amazing that some people go on a cruise, and write reviews that paint a very negative picture. I am specifically talking about the few people who have written negative things about the new Carnival Victory. My wife and I have been on six cruises, going on our seventh next March. On each of the cruises we have been, there always seems to be one person or couple that magnifies little problems, and paints a very negative picture to others about their cruising experience. In several cases, I had to ask myself "was I on the same cruise with that person"? How can a group of 50 people go on a cruise, and 2 people out of the 50 say that the cruise was horrible? These people are, by nature, negative people. If they won a million dollars, they would question it, wondering if they would get screwed in taxes.
If you've never been on a cruise before, prepare your mental frame of mind so that you picture yourself having a wonderful time. There will be a few things that arise that are not perfect - no cruise line is without imperfection. Don't sweat the small stuff, and make every effort to enjoy your cruise.
So what constitutes a great cruise? It depends on your personality. If you want to have FUN, get involved in the shipboard activities that are offered, rather than just sitting back on the sidelines. I very often speak with people after they have cruised, who regretted not participating in the fun actvitities provided by the cruise staff. Get involved, if you want to have fun. Indroduce yourself to other people who appear to have something in common with you. You would be amazed at how often friendships blossom from people who met someone on a cruise.
If you are not looking for FUN, but prefer a more low key cruise, you can do that as well. No one forces you to get involved in shipboard activities. Pick and choose the things that do interest you (massages, art auctions, etc), and you will have a wonderful time.
Honestly - I laugh at these people who SWEAR that one cruise line is better than another. That is absolute hogwash. I went on a cruise last March on the Norwegian Wind - an older, 50,000 ton ship. By todays standards, it wasn't nearly as luxurious as most newer ships. Everyone in our group had a WONDERFUL time on this ship. We would have had a wonderful time, if we were sailing on the SS Minnow. You see - it is all about attitude. Keep a positive one, and you will have the time of your life, regardless of a few imperfections.