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When we first started cruising, we devoured reviews. It’s why I first joined CruiseCritic.co.uk, for example. I recall that whenever we saw a good review of the next ship we were going on it made our day, while bad reviews quite depressed us. Will it be awful, we thought; have we wasted our money? (‘No’, and ‘No’ were the answers.)

Having done a few cruises I now read reviews differently. If you know what to look for you can see the reviews from the first-time cruisers, for whom the whole experience is overwhelming. (I did one of those after our first cruise, here; I don’t think I’d enjoy a cruise on MSC Sinfonia anything like as much today.) You can spot the jaded ‘seen it all’ reviews (I don’t think I’ve done of those yet), and you can also see the occasional review when something really did go horribly wrong and the reviewer had a genuinely awful cruise.

But then you come across the occasional review that’s just utterly, completely negative. Nothing on the cruise was right: the cabin was too small, dirty and falling apart; the staff were surly; the food was mediocre at best, inedible at worst; the entertainment was poor; the ports of call were unattractive; and all in all, the experience was dreadful. I’ve read numerous reviews like this of cruises on ships that I’ve been on and enjoyed, once of a cruise that I’d been on, and ended up wondering if the reviewer and I were in the same universe let alone on the same cruise. I even encountered someone like that on our last cruise: on the shuttle bus back to the ship from Dubrovnik old town, I overheard a man commenting that he thought that Dubrovnik was rubbish and that he should have done what his wife had done, which was stay on board. Dubrovnik! on a warm and sunny day!! Ah well; we enjoyed ourselves.

I recognise, of course, that some things are in the eye of the beholder; the perception of a good meal is definitely individual, of course, as is appreciation of entertainment. But some of the comments in the reviews are factual, e.g. comments about the state of the ship and so on, and I’ve just profoundly disagreed with the comments I’ve read.

For us the glass is at least half full, and we have enjoyed all of the cruises we’ve been on. Are we too easy to please, I wonder? Perhaps; but we end up having a good time. I’d rather be a bit uncritical and enjoy myself than be analytically accurate and have a miserable time as a result.


One Response to “On the variability of reviews….”

  1. Gary Falconer says:

    Very well said!!
    So much looking forward to our cruise on Azura next week.

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