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View Full Version : Is there a Celebrity "Champions "program too?


hcat
February 24th, 2009, 04:07 PM
after reading the link below I am wondering about some of the opinions that others post here too--

Does anyone know if there is a secret or non-secret Celebrity Champions program too??? Seems to skew the perceived neutrality of the boards

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=932627

dkjretired
February 24th, 2009, 04:46 PM
after reading the link below I am wondering about some of the opinions that others post here too--

Does anyone know if there is a secret or non-secret Celebrity Champions program too??? Seems to skew the perceived neutrality of the boards

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=932627

Thats interesting but I was curious about the number of posts listed. I wonder if Royal Caribbean is aware that a number of people have been around for years and had thousands of posts wiped out by the numerous programming changes.

I am a charter member of cruise critic going back to whatever it was 94 or 95 and probably have 30 to 40 thousands posts but am listed as having only 4thousand. It seems that a lot of newbies might get picked while the older posters could be left out in the cold..

ottawapuppy
February 24th, 2009, 07:29 PM
after reading the link below I am wondering about some of the opinions that others post here too--

Does anyone know if there is a secret or non-secret Celebrity Champions program too??? Seems to skew the perceived neutrality of the boards

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=932627

Here we go again..........

These conversations seem to skew the perceived value of the boards.

Mike

JanineM
February 24th, 2009, 07:49 PM
I don't understand the issue with the Royal Champions programme. It seems to me that Royal Caribbean is using word of mouth or viral marketing for their product. Loads of companies do this, without the specific "title" to put on a message board.

Companies are going to have a tough time marketing in the next year or so and if they decide to reward those who do their marketing for them by posting positive information on a webboard then that seems perfectly reasonable.

I participate with a couple of national polling organizations and there is frequently a segment of questions relating to circles of influence. Those who publicly support an organization or a company are coveted ... and I suspect this is exactly the group that RCI has targeted.


EDIT to add: I'm not a Royal Champion, so no conflict of interest here!

Schplinky
February 24th, 2009, 08:02 PM
after reading the link below I am wondering about some of the opinions that others post here too--

Does anyone know if there is a secret or non-secret Celebrity Champions program too??? Seems to skew the perceived neutrality of the boards

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=932627

This is really starting to get irksome. I've shared a lot of information over the years for which you have thanked me as it has been helpful to you. I am also grateful to you for the information you have shared. I guess now I'll be devalued in your eyes since I'm a part of the RC program. You've chosen to believe some disgruntled posters who did not get a free pre-inaugural cruise (and would not have actually qualified for one since they weren't Diamond Plus) over my own and the assertions of others. I can only presume you are equally going to ask who is Elite on this board (I am) because Celebrity gives Elite members previews to ships sometimes and you will want to start believing that their input is skewed now, too.

That you felt the need to drag this over here has been a disappointment to me. It's the equivalent of a kid on a school yard trying to get others to come watch a fight.

FinelyCruising
February 24th, 2009, 08:11 PM
Wow...a Concierge Lounge AND a Secret Society. RCCL sure does have it all. I'm jealous.:o

hcat
February 24th, 2009, 08:44 PM
Sorry to upset the applecart .., but I may have been the last to learn about this & was really shocked & disappointed to hear about it.. I also never heard the term viral marketing til the post here..what is that? Maybe I'd rather not know...

I enjoy sharing info but have never been perked for any of my positives.....(at least that I know of)

I am even looking forward to a cruise with members of CC when the opportunity arises, since I value the people who sponsor the board , feel the moderators really help us out & feel it would be correct to patronize them...they peform a great service...

the most disappointing issue overall to me is that more people seem concerned that they are not chosen to be one of these "cheerleaders"... than the fact that positives posters are rewarded by the cruise line...seems everyone wants in on the action...not even sure what these sought after perks are...

How does this differ from someone posting to rave about a guide & you find out they are the guide's brother-in-law! or a dealer giving you a car so you can tell everyone how good it is.. & if you say it is bad they take the car back maybe???

anyhow the, ethics are for the owners of the Board to figure out but glad I am now more aware..

Schplinky
February 24th, 2009, 09:12 PM
Sorry to upset the applecart .., but I may have been the last to learn about this & was really shocked & disappointed to hear about it.. I also never heard the term viral marketing til the post here..what is that? Maybe I'd rather not know...

If you saw an Herbel Essences ad in the 80's, you have heard of it. It goes something like "they told two friends, and so on."


I enjoy sharing info but have never been perked for any of my positives.....(at least that I know of)


Neither have most of the RCs, except for their title. Some of the older ones got to go on a 2-nighter (if they went to the expense of flying themselves there) about 2 years ago. The person who started that thread you quote has been posting nasty threads about it ever since because they were not invited. They felt it should only be for Diamond Plus C&A members (which would still have excluded that member).

the most disappointing issue overall to me is that more people seem concerned that they are not chosen to be one of these "cheerleaders"... than the fact that positives posters are rewarded by the cruise line...seems everyone wants in on the action...not even sure what these sought after perks are...



As you read on that post, most RCs have not received a perk besides their title. Some of us were invited on that pre-inagural two years ago. That's it.

How does this differ from someone posting to rave about a guide & you find out they are the guide's brother-in-law! or a dealer giving you a car so you can tell everyone how good it is.. & if you say it is bad they take the car back maybe???

anyhow the, ethics are for the owners of the Board to figure out but glad I am now more aware..

The difference is that we were chosen for being enthusiastic and helpful posters, according to the RCL staff who contacted us, who clearly enjoyed their products and enjoyed talking about them (...and they told two friends) to others. We were chosen because we speak frankly and cheerfully. We were chosen because of those things, we didn't do those things in order to be chosen.


That's why posts like yours that call our current motivations into question are offensive to me. The only way my opinion could possibly matter now is if we had turned down the acknowledgement by the line. There was no way to win this.

PhoenixCruiser
February 24th, 2009, 09:36 PM
That's why posts like yours that call our current motivations into question are offensive to me. The only way my opinion could possibly matter now is if we had turned down the acknowledgement by the line. There was no way to win this.

Lee, I think you might be missing our point (the non-RC's). Some of us find your signature offensive, kinda like a kick in the face every time we have to see "Royal Champion". Just a thought...

###

Schplinky
February 24th, 2009, 09:45 PM
And some non-RCs are demanding that we leave them in so that they can know who the shills are.

I think that the inability of some to be happy for someone else's good luck is a sad fact of life today and I will likely remove it when the brouhaha dies.

I'd also like to know what the "it" is you think I'm waving in your face. I hear from the RC person at Royal Caribbean about once every 9 months, usually to take a poll or something else non-glamorous.

Infi
February 24th, 2009, 10:54 PM
Putting aside the RC vs. non-RC discussion for a moment (because I read that entire thread on the RCI board out of boredom and would really not want to repeat that battle here, too)...the OP does have a good question.

If I'm remembering correctly, somewhere in that long thread on the RCI, one of the CC hosts mentioned their role in the RC program and that CC had helped work with RCI on a similar program for Celebrity. I wonder what, if anything, will materialize as a result. Any insight, hosts?

bob278
February 25th, 2009, 01:11 AM
............

The difference is that we were chosen for being enthusiastic and helpful posters, according to the RCL staff who contacted us, who clearly enjoyed their products and enjoyed talking about them (...and they told two friends) to others. We were chosen because we speak frankly and cheerfully. We were chosen because of those things, we didn't do those things in order to be chosen.
........

In my opinion (for what that may be worth), the sentence above that I marked in bold should cut the feet out from under the folks criticizing the RCs. They all had a history of doing something that RCI found appealing. They didn't suddenly post only positive comments because they were Royal Champions.

How many of us on CC (both RCL & Celebrity forums) benefited from them? I know I have. And when I was helped, I said thank you. That's what RCL did. What's wrong with recognizing something that benefits you?

Are those of you who are so cynical of anything positive these folks say going to now doubt every positive post from anybody thinking "That jerk is trying to get rewarded by the cruiseline"?

I didn't know what a Royal Champion was before that thread and my life is no better for knowing it now. If Celebrity has a similar program, it is equally unimportant to me. No post on this or any other forum is gospel to me unless I personally know the poster. So "credentials" just aren't that important (except maybe to those who don't have them).

ustal
February 25th, 2009, 05:32 AM
The difference is that we were chosen for being enthusiastic and helpful posters, according to the RCL staff who contacted us, who clearly enjoyed their products and enjoyed talking about them (...and they told two friends) to others. We were chosen because we speak frankly and cheerfully. We were chosen because of those things, we didn't do those things in order to be chosen.

That's why posts like yours that call our current motivations into question are offensive to me. The only way my opinion could possibly matter now is if we had turned down the acknowledgement by the line. There was no way to win this.

I didn't know what Royal Champions were before this thread, I kinda assumed it was some local sports reference! :rolleyes:

But I've been enjoying Schplinky's advice for a long time. I really appreciate that he's frank. He's not a big rah-rah Pollyanna, he's honest about the things he doesn't like. But he recognises that cruising is a great vacation, and doesn't sweat the small stuff. I can totally understand why Royal Carribean want him onboard - literally and metaphorically. Frankly, I hope he gets the odd perk for helping out, here on the boards and with whatever surveys etc Royal Carribean send him.

Now that I know what Royal Champions are though, I really appreciate people who include it in their sigs. For one thing, it means that this is someone who has been helpful in the past, and knows a little bit of what they're talking about. That's not to say that people who don't have "Royal Champion" in their sig don't know what they're talking about - it's just another piece of data. I like being fully-informed about the stuff I do, so data is good :)

Schplinky, thanks so much for all your input and advice on these boards! You rock :D

Conanc
February 25th, 2009, 07:02 AM
And some non-RCs are demanding that we leave them in so that they can know who the shills are.

I think that the inability of some to be happy for someone else's good luck is a sad fact of life today and I will likely remove it when the brouhaha dies.

I'd also like to know what the "it" is you think I'm waving in your face. I hear from the RC person at Royal Caribbean about once every 9 months, usually to take a poll or something else non-glamorous.

Hi Lee,

I have alwayed enjoyed your fair, interesting, accurate, and well-written reviews, as well as Mike's journal, your beautiful cruise website, photos and podcasts. Your answers to the many questions posed here have been most informative and pleasant, and the information you have shared has personally been extremely helpful to me in planning my upcoming cruise on the Solstice.

I for one am happy to see that someone who deserved it was chosen as a Royal Champion. Please do not let the opinion of an extremely "small" minority upset you or keep you from displaying "RC" in your signature. I know that I speak for many "of us" when I say congrats on being chosen as a RC. If anyone deserves it, you do. Wear the honor proudly in your signature. I know I would! :)

Thanks to you and Mike for all of your posts, your humor and your wit.

Nancy

FinelyCruising
February 25th, 2009, 07:33 AM
the most disappointing issue overall to me is that more people seem concerned that they are not chosen to be one of these "cheerleaders"... than the fact that positives posters are rewarded by the cruise line...seems everyone wants in on the action...not even sure what these sought after perks are...



Isn't this the core of the backlash, knowing that everyone in the universe that has sailed on Royal ships or has have a favorable sailings and reported them as favorable feels cheated?

People have to act a bit more mature with those who they have enjoyed commingling with all this time rather than find offense with them because of their assignment by the cruise line. If not, then its just petty jealousy that has gotten the best of all those who can't sort this out.

Conanc
February 25th, 2009, 08:25 AM
People have to act a bit more mature with those who they have enjoyed commingling with all this time rather than find offense with them because of their assignment by the cruise line. If not, then its just petty jealousy that has gotten the best of all those who can't sort this out.

commingling.....I like that word. :)

Schplinky
February 25th, 2009, 08:38 AM
commingling.....I like that word. :)

I'm a big commingler from way back.

librarylady19
February 25th, 2009, 08:54 AM
Just have to add my 2 cents in support of Mike & Lee. As a newbie to these boards and cruising in general, I found their website (and later their posts on CC) to be uniformly informative, entertaining, and fair-minded. After reading so many posts from people with an obvious axe to grind it is refreshing to hear from an upbeat, informed source.
As someone who is in the information business (I'm a Library Director), I know how difficult it is to reach people effectively. We are bombarded with so much information online, on TV, etc. If RC is smart enough to find good advocates for their product and utilize them for word-of-mouth marketing, good for them.
Mike & Lee - you provide a valuable service to many of us out there who are nervous about spending so much money on a cruise and want to be sure of every detail! I spend a lot of time researching online (both at home and at work) and recognize a well designed, organized site when I see one. Kudos to you! It takes a lot of time and effort and expertise to develop and maintain this product - and at your own expense.
So....ignore the whiners, please. As others have said, we really appreciate what you are doing and hope you continue.

ottawapuppy
February 25th, 2009, 09:04 AM
commingling.....I like that word. :)

I had commingling once, but the Dr gave me a salve and it cleared right up. (I really need to get new material...)
Mike

hcat
February 25th, 2009, 11:11 AM
I am not jealous of anyone. I have been cruising since the 1960's.....

The information I recieve from the boards is very helpful & appreciated, as I hope my information helps others as well. However, the insinuation of Royal C. into marketing into the process is disappointing and IMHO will affect board content.

I won't be commenting on the issue again as my questions are fully answered.

Longboysfan
February 25th, 2009, 01:43 PM
Here we go again..........

These conversations seem to skew the perceived value of the boards.

Mike

I saw you reply in the other thread and agree with you on it.

But do me a favor and change your picture Avitar.

FinelyCruising
February 25th, 2009, 01:44 PM
I'm a big commingler from way back.

I knew that about you ;)

:D

Longboysfan
February 25th, 2009, 01:52 PM
Just have to add my 2 cents in support of Mike & Lee. As a newbie to these boards and cruising in general, I found their website (and later their posts on CC) to be uniformly informative, entertaining, and fair-minded. After reading so many posts from people with an obvious axe to grind it is refreshing to hear from an upbeat, informed source.
As someone who is in the information business (I'm a Library Director), I know how difficult it is to reach people effectively. We are bombarded with so much information online, on TV, etc. If RC is smart enough to find good advocates for their product and utilize them for word-of-mouth marketing, good for them.
Mike & Lee - you provide a valuable service to many of us out there who are nervous about spending so much money on a cruise and want to be sure of every detail! I spend a lot of time researching online (both at home and at work) and recognize a well designed, organized site when I see one. Kudos to you! It takes a lot of time and effort and expertise to develop and maintain this product - and at your own expense.
So....ignore the whiners, please. As others have said, we really appreciate what you are doing and hope you continue.

Nice Avitar back drop.

If you looked at costs and disregard the nickle and dimers who always have somethng to say....
A cruise is a better vacation value then the travel / eat / pay / hotel / pay / unpack / pack / eat / pay / travel / pay / hotel / pay / eat / pay ......
You get the idea.

I loved it from the very start when you know mst of the cost up front and paid at the end.
Which brings me to a nice short story when my wife and I were on our first cruise.
She borrowed $20 of the tip money not knowning. Then we had to scramble to get it together at the end of the cruise.
But found a folded $20 in the back of my wallett for emergency. This was one of them.
Then checked the tip dollars needed again and found we had a little left over.
She was happy going off to the gift shop for that last treasure to be bought on the ship.
Thank goodness our friends picked us up at the pier.

ottawapuppy
February 25th, 2009, 01:55 PM
But do me a favor and change your picture Avitar.

But...to what?...

Longboysfan
February 25th, 2009, 03:59 PM
But...to what?...

I do not know. But that picture is not you.
Does not show the care free cruiser you reflect in the posts.

I could not find a Bozo the Clown picture for my avitar and settled on the football helmit.

FinelyCruising
February 25th, 2009, 04:02 PM
Bello Noch should be easy to find...:D

gillianrose
March 10th, 2009, 07:51 PM
Now that I know what Royal Champions are though, I really appreciate people who include it in their sigs.

For one thing, it means that this is someone who has been helpful in the past, and knows a little bit of what they're talking about. That's not to say that people who don't have "Royal Champion" in their sig don't know what they're talking about - it's just another piece of data. I like being fully-informed about the stuff I do, so data is good :)


I don't agree that seeing Royal Champions in a signature means someone knows what they are talking about or is any more helpful than anyone else. They may or may not be.

It probably does mean that they are or have been pretty vocal cheerleaders for the line, however, and I am more likely to disregard some of their more positive comments, unless they balance the positive with the negative. I am not speaking of Schplinky in particular, as you have, but anyone who I learn makes money or gets perks for their support of a line (any line), with some notable exceptions whose name(s) I won't list but who have a long history of posting frank opinions that were not always rosy.

J & G
March 10th, 2009, 09:48 PM
While I have gotten lots of great information from many of those who are Royal Champions, I didn't know until recently what that meant. I thought that they were just self-appointed champions of RCI....and I am in total agreement with that position. I didn't realize that was a "paid position".......albeit, rewards, rather than real money, as far as I can tell.....

I guess mostly I am disappointed. It's like finding out that your mother is paying someone to be your friend. :(

ottawapuppy
March 10th, 2009, 09:53 PM
While I have gotten lots of great information from many of those who are Royal Champions, I didn't know until recently what that meant. I thought that they were just self-appointed champions of RCI. I didn't realize that was a "paid position".......albeit, rewards, rather than real money, as far as I can tell.....

I guess mostly I am disappointed. It's like finding out that your mother is paying someone to be your friend. :(

Don't believe everything you read on the internet...

Schplinky
March 10th, 2009, 09:55 PM
Honestly, this has been wrestled to death on the RCL board. I came over here to escape the acrimony so let me just say once before I absent myself from this thread that much of what is being said is untrue. Champions are not paid and many have not received one single perk, except the derision of posters on the RCL board.

I'm not going to post further because honestly, this has been covered to death over there.

J & G
March 10th, 2009, 10:14 PM
Don't believe everything you read on the internet...


You are right about that.....thanks for the reminder that just because something appears on the internet, that doesn't necessarily make it true.....we must be wise consumers of the vast amounts of available information.

bobbyleduck
March 12th, 2009, 12:29 PM
That article is important, because many people are unaware of the prejudices, and purchased opinions of "MANY" of the posters on these boards. By the way - Royal Champions - refers to the entire cruiseline, after all the company is Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and that includes Celebrity.
When I've posted something negative, and I've been flamed, I never thought it was a conspiracy, but now I and everyone else knows better. I used to think it was just the travel agents on this board, and you know who you are even if we don't, who did this sort of thing, but now I and the rest of us know that there are actually people out there in message-board land who are paid to attack those of us who might not spout the company line.
I've spent my life watching advertising with a lot of skepticism, but when something isn't identified as advertising, people are mislead. Newspapers actually have to put a disclaimer on pages that look like an article, but are really advertising, so that people won't believe they are reading information instead of propaganda.
It would be nice if the same thing applied to message boards. It's important to understand the truth, because only then can the truth set you free.
Now, for my disclaimer. I have enjoyed my two cruises aboard Celebrity, and I hope to enjoy many more, but if I post something that suggests everything wasn't as good as it could be, you'll forgive me if I treat those who subsequently attack me as less than objective.

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

Ma Bell
March 12th, 2009, 12:53 PM
What a bunch of hot air. Conspiracy on Cruise Critic...that really makes me laugh.

I've been accused of being a Celebrity cheerleader even though my comments contain the good and the not so good. After more than 50 Celebrity cruises, I've never received anything, not even an upgrade, and I've never even heard of "Champions" programs until now.

Schplinky
March 12th, 2009, 12:58 PM
That article is important, because many people are unaware of the prejudices, and purchased opinions of "MANY" of the posters on these boards. By the way - Royal Champions - refers to the entire cruiseline, after all the company is Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and that includes Celebrity.




Actually, it doesn't. Royal Champions were chosen from the RCL area of the Cruise Critic boards and from other travel fora like tripadvisor (before that company bought this site) and the rec.travel newsgroups. Most Royal Champions have never sailed Celebrity although some, like myself, have.

When I've posted something negative, and I've been flamed, I never thought it was a conspiracy, but now I and everyone else knows better.


I think attributing every disagreement anyone has ever had with you to this is a bit of a reach but that's your own conclusion to draw. Still, presuming there must be a conspiracy in place in order for anyone to disagree with you seems a bit self-absorbed.

... now I and the rest of us know that there are actually people out there in message-board land who are paid to attack those of us who might not spout the company line.

The RCs are not paid either. This has been debated to death on the RCL board and those who choose not to believe this cannot be dissuaded. Some of the RCs were offered a two night pre-inaugural about two years ago (just as many elite Captain Club, travel agents, etc. were shown elements of Solstice before she sailed) but many of the Champions have been offered nothing but the title of Champion and the ensuing abuse on the RCL boards, and now this one. RCs are not given a company line to spout and many are openly critical of the policies of RCL. Notably, one of the RCs led the stampede to the Florida Attorney General's office to have fuel surcharges removed from the bills of guests who booked before they were instituted. Hardly sounds like a well-paid company parrot to me.


It would be nice if the same thing applied to message boards. It's important to understand the truth, because only then can the truth set you free.


Many of the RCs put it in their signatures, only to be subjected to the abuse of other RCL posters who were upset or jealous. We were told that we were flaunting our "status." I recently removed mine to avoid the impression that I was rubbing "it" in people's faces but for you, I will put it back.

I find it offensive that you accuse fellow posters without asking questions and that you presume to know their intentions and motivations. I am in the middle of reviewing our recent Solstice cruise and have been posting it in installments. If you would care to read it and tell me where I am blindly spouting RCI propaganda, I would love to recant and make a very public apology to you. If you don't find this bias, I'd appreciate the same courtesy.

If you cannot find it within yourself to do this and would rather just make presumptions, please add me to your ignore list because I plan to continue to post candidly and frequently. All of this is just a bunch of hooey.

usha
March 12th, 2009, 01:09 PM
The fact that RCCL would want to encourage their prolific, "helpful", "cheerful" posters here by giving them the title of "Champions" & even gave some free cruises, looks a little shady. The fact that the whole thing is sactioned by Cruise Critic...looks even more shady. JMO...

TomBeckCruise
March 12th, 2009, 01:22 PM
The fact that RCCL would want to encourage their prolific, "helpful", "cheerful" posters here by giving them the title of "Champions" & even gave some free cruises, looks a little shady. The fact that the whole thing is sactioned by Cruise Critic...looks even more shady. JMO...

Yep, I'll bet there is a secret handshake too.;)

TomBeckCruise
March 12th, 2009, 01:29 PM
But...to what?...

here ya go.

http://puppydogweb.com/gallery/cotondetulears/e.htm

lots of care free pups:)

flagger
March 12th, 2009, 01:30 PM
These threads crack me up.

If you for a second think that there are not paid and unpaid cheerleaders for all cruise lines on these boards, think again. This is CruiseCritic, not Consumer Reports. It is advertising supported as well TA ad-buy supported. This, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Kudzu, Angieslist all have posts from people whose job it is to make the reviewed service look good.

I just wonder if people are naive or really thought CC was immune.

This is a free service, but it does costs someone, some company money to run this website. If the posters are not paying for it, where do you think the money is coming from. Unless there is some stimulus earmark I missed, it comes from somewhere. Take what you read posted here with a grain of salt unless you can experienced and can verify it yourself.

It doesn't mean everyone is lying about their experience, it just means everyone and everything should be subject to your own personal scrutiny. It doesn't make it bad or god, just the way it is.

bobbyleduck
March 12th, 2009, 01:44 PM
Actually, it doesn't. Royal Champions were chosen from the RCL area of the Cruise Critic boards and from other travel fora like tripadvisor (before that company bought this site) and the rec.travel newsgroups. Most Royal Champions have never sailed Celebrity although some, like myself, have.



I think attributing every disagreement anyone has ever had with you to this is a bit of a reach but that's your own conclusion to draw. Still, presuming there must be a conspiracy in place in order for anyone to disagree with you seems a bit self-absorbed.



The RCs are not paid either. This has been debated to death on the RCL board and those who choose not to believe this cannot be dissuaded. Some of the RCs were offered a two night pre-inaugural about two years ago (just as many elite Captain Club, travel agents, etc. were shown elements of Solstice before she sailed) but many of the Champions have been offered nothing but the title of Champion and the ensuing abuse on the RCL boards, and now this one. RCs are not given a company line to spout and many are openly critical of the policies of RCL. Notably, one of the RCs led the stampede to the Florida Attorney General's office to have fuel surcharges removed from the bills of guests who booked before they were instituted. Hardly sounds like a well-paid company parrot to me.



Many of the RCs put it in their signatures, only to be subjected to the abuse of other RCL posters who were upset or jealous. We were told that we were flaunting our "status." I recently removed mine to avoid the impression that I was rubbing "it" in people's faces but for you, I will put it back.

I find it offensive that you accuse fellow posters without asking questions and that you presume to know their intentions and motivations. I am in the middle of reviewing our recent Solstice cruise and have been posting it in installments. If you would care to read it and tell me where I am blindly spouting RCI propaganda, I would love to recant and make a very public apology to you. If you don't find this bias, I'd appreciate the same courtesy.

If you cannot find it within yourself to do this and would rather just make presumptions, please add me to your ignore list because I plan to continue to post candidly and frequently. All of this is just a bunch of hooey.

Let the fun begin. I didn't mention a single post, by you or anyone else, in my previous post. I was commenting upon the original article, having just read it this morning. Thinking there must have been a thread that was already dealing with the subject, because the story is three days old, I looked for, and found this thread, and subsequently added my post. I didn't actually read the previous posts other than to be sure that I had the correct thread.

Flaming is completely different from disagreements, and I have and always will welcome honest discussion and disagreement. However, when I, or others, post my/our opinions about something that happened to us, and other people attack our opinions, then that is something completely different than disagreement.

Paid, free trip = Potato/Potato! Enough said.

Advertising is advertising is advertising! Whether you are a "Royal Champion," a "travel agent," or both, if you only post positive things about something that you have a vested interest in, then you are a spokesman for the company and everyone would appreciate knowing that in advance. It doesn't mean your words aren't important, valid or informative, but it does offer perspective. And by you and your, I mean the general you and your (everyone for whom it applies, not necessarily you).

I accuse no person, and named no person in my post. I just happen to believe the information in the article was important and I sincerely hope everyone who seeks information from these boards will read the article and get another view of how these boards are sometimes used and abused. By the way, what questions should I be asking?

Again, you have made this personal. Blindly! I never used the word. Propaganda is a widely understood term and those who are using it should be exposed. Again, considering I named no person, and was truly only talking about the original article and my own experiences, please don't take it personally, unless, of course, you or any person actually recognize yourself in the original article, or if you or any other person has actually flamed me for my opinion.

And, finally, please avail yourself of the opportunity to read my final paragraph:

"Now, for my disclaimer. I have enjoyed my two cruises aboard Celebrity, and I hope to enjoy many more, but if I post something that suggests everything wasn't as good as it could be, you'll forgive me if I treat those who subsequently attack me as less than objective." I have written reviews of my two Celebrity sailings, of which one was more critical than the other.

I was attacking no person, and I am not attacking you. I read these boards frequently, even when I'm only thinking of cruising, and I mostly read the Celebrity boards, because that is what interests me.

As for apologing for something I never did, where do you even get the nerve to make such a request?

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

P.S. I believe your final sentence probably expressed the entire truth about your post.

Schplinky
March 12th, 2009, 01:57 PM
Actually, you claimed the RCs (of which I am one):

-are part of a conspiracy to flame you (" I never thought it was a conspiracy, but now I and everyone else knows better.")
-are "paid" to attack you ("paid to attack those of us who might not spout the company line.") and have no ability to express their own opinions
-are only allowed to post in a certain way ("only post positive things about something that you have a vested interest in"


I guess I'm supposed to interpret those things more generously, as you have in your follow-up.

I'm not sure if I've just flamed you or disagreed with you (seems a slippery definition) but I wish you well as you navigate your way through life.

I'm done beating this dead horse

(note to sensitive posters: dead horse is a euphemism and is not a specific reference to you)

bobbyleduck
March 12th, 2009, 02:40 PM
Hey, Flagger: Thank you for mentioning that this is CruiseCritic. So often I have read things on here and realized that some people just don't appreciate the "Critic" part of that.

It seems as if some people would rather that there be no criticism of anything cruise related, however, they have no problem with criticizing (FLAMING) people who might make a legitimate critic of a cruise related experience.

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

CruisingChick
March 12th, 2009, 03:24 PM
If you saw an Herbel Essences ad in the 80's, you have heard of it. It goes something like "they told two friends, and so on.".

Not that it really matters but those commercials were for Faberge Organic Wheat Germ and Honey Oil Shampoo and Conditioner......and it was in the 1970's!!!

and for whatever it's worth, I'm Elite on Celebrity and have received little to nothing in the way of REAL perks.

dam1050
March 12th, 2009, 06:04 PM
If you cannot find it within yourself to do this and would rather just make presumptions, please add me to your ignore list because I plan to continue to post candidly and frequently. All of this is just a bunch of hooey.

My oh My, so defensive, ;)

yes I do believe the ignore list is the best idea for those who are only cheerleaders for particular lines (of which I believe each line has them) -- I only wish we were provided with a full list of their user names in order to put the whole list of them on ignore! Think of how easy it would be to keep up with the posts without them on the boards .......... :)

xpcdoojk
March 12th, 2009, 06:04 PM
These threads crack me up.

If you for a second think that there are not paid and unpaid cheerleaders for all cruise lines on these boards, think again. This is CruiseCritic, not Consumer Reports. It is advertising supported as well TA ad-buy supported. This, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Kudzu, Angieslist all have posts from people whose job it is to make the reviewed service look good.

I just wonder if people are naive or really thought CC was immune.

This is a free service, but it does costs someone, some company money to run this website. If the posters are not paying for it, where do you think the money is coming from. Unless there is some stimulus earmark I missed, it comes from somewhere. Take what you read posted here with a grain of salt unless you can experienced and can verify it yourself.

It doesn't mean everyone is lying about their experience, it just means everyone and everything should be subject to your own personal scrutiny. It doesn't make it bad or god, just the way it is.

Flagger, it is stuff like this that make you think to yourself are people really this clueless. Then after you read the thread and the blog that it is based on you know that they are. That is when you start dreaming of your own private island far far away from them all.

Lee, I am sorry that this is following you all over the net. Ms Potter is the one that should be embarassed to post anywhere including her own worthless blog. JMHO:(

jc<---- waving to his old friend FC!:)

jc<---- is not a Royal Champion therefore is 100% credible:rolleyes:

Karynanne
March 12th, 2009, 06:26 PM
Just a rhetorical question...but why is it when a Cruise Critic member consistantly praises the positive aspects of Celebrity cruising, is he/she considered a "cheerleader"? Maybe the personality of the "cheerleaders" just don't look for the negative.

I've cruised with Celebrity exclusively, for the past 10 years. Would I be considered a cheerleader? Probably yes. But this cruiseline fits my check-off list. Is every cruise (we take 3-4 per year) perfect? Probably not. But when I think back on all our trips, I rarely think of anything "earth shattering" that has impacted the trip. Did we miss ports? Yes. Were there itinerary changes? Yes. Did we still have a fabulous time with our friends? Absolutely yes!

The bottom line is, we know what to expect everytime we book a cruise. We understand the positive and negative aspects of cruising.

Am I a Celebrity Champion? Well....in spirit, yes. As far as a monetary compensation. No.

cruzendude
March 12th, 2009, 06:54 PM
I invite everyone here to join me as Celebrity Champions-Charter members....but hurry you can ONLY be a charter member if you join before April 1st! :p HEY, its my club so I get to make the rules! :eek:

FinelyCruising
March 12th, 2009, 07:08 PM
JC- Thank You for pulling me out of my funk. I am thrilled to see you, and yes, I know I owe you an email my friend.;)

I have gotten to know many many posters and like MaBell, I did not know about Royal Champions until I read this thread went it first started, but after I had the opportunity to read what Lee wrote I can suggest this FWIW.

It is crystal clear to me, that Lee is telling us what the story is with the history and the label, and knowing him as I do from here after all this time, I don't doubt what he is stating for one millisecond. Lee is a guy with integrity and that's all there is to it as far as I am concerned.

I could go into endless examples and arguments, but its either in your gut to know it or its not, and there is no mystery to me.

Part two of this message from me is to say that there have been continual suggestions that those who favor Celebrity are cheerleaders and somehow agents for the cruise line. I know those who are addressed in this fashion and just to get away from the concept that this is even plausible this one can be described by this example that many can relate to...If someone owns a Mercedes, and they love Mercedes cars and only want to drive Mercedes cars and they tell everyone who they know who is considering a Mercedes that its a great product despite some specific flaws, does that mean they are an agent for Mercedes and getting a discount other than what you and I can get?:o

No, its called opinion, and some have the legitimate opinion that Celebrity is great because_______________.

Now Bobble...here comes your part. Yes, this board is here as an agent for the cruise line, there is no doubt in my mind that it is restricted to maintain a level playing field for this brand and all the other brands that it represents. But that is their line of business and if anyone thinks that this chat is self supporting is not correct. It is funded by advertising from those whose ads are through out all the pages and pages every single day.

That does not mean that the posters are somehow part of the advertising process tied to the board host, it means that there is a word of mouth advertising that is allowed to flow quite freely to contribute to the paid efforts of the advertisers. Do I think that there is something wrong with that? No, I don't I think thats how this internet business works.

I happen to know for a fact that there are other message board sites that allow the expression of TA's names and information in order to support the cruiser rather than the cruiseline, and that allow the expression of opinion with less intervention.

But what is here is what you get and I think it is much, much less incestuous than people are inclined to think as a result of not understanding the big picture.

So please, don't beat up fellow posters who are just trying to have a good time with everyone else and share the joy of their experiences, because many of the people who are here and being judged and singled out as bad apples are quite the opposite and the truth is staring right in the face.;)

xpcdoojk
March 12th, 2009, 07:32 PM
FC, you are one of the best of the best. I think you have it exactly figured out. I really need to start cruising Celebrity again. I love their product, I have just been seduced by the thought of surfing across the Atlantic. I am weak what can I say.

The bit that makes me laugh is thinking that anyone here really knows anyone else, and therefore you can go through every post and say what is this person bias. It is an anonymous forum and I can be the president of Carnival if I want to. Then we wonder are they a hater of the line or a cheerleader. I do not like to cheerlead, but I really dislike the shot from the dark from the haters. I love capitalism and I really struggle with those that always think the big bad corporation is out to screw everyone. I have at one time or another defended almost every cruise line in existence. Ultimately, we come here and other similar places to learn about the experience and to try to maximize our own experiences while on board. We, also, come here to kill the time between holidays. Unfortunately, there is a significant percentage that come here to destroy your happiness with your preferred cruiseline. Why do they do this? Who knows, they had a bad experience on a cruise, maybe, a Royal Champion or the brand new Celebrity Champion may have made them mad one day. Who knows and who cares. They really are contemptible, and they are amongst us!:eek:

In the case of the Royal Champions some marketing firm idenitified a small group of passionate Royal Caribbean posters. Many of them like Lee have cruised on many cruiselines, and have said non positive things about many of them including RCI. These posters were chosen for what they had done. NOT what they will do. That is a huge difference. Hence the blogger is completely wrong, and a bunch of really good CC members are getting slandered and driven from the boards.

jc:D

cruzendude
March 12th, 2009, 07:55 PM
FC, you are one of the best of the best. I think you have it exactly figured out. I really need to start cruising Celebrity again. I love their product, I have just been seduced by the thought of surfing across the Atlantic. I am weak what can I say.

The bit that makes me laugh is thinking that anyone here really knows anyone else, and therefore you can go through every post and say what is this person bias. It is an anonymous forum and I can be the president of Carnival if I want to. Then we wonder are they a hater of the line or a cheerleader. I do not like to cheerlead, but I really dislike the shot from the dark from the haters. I love capitalism and I really struggle with those that always think the big bad corporation is out to screw everyone. I have at one time or another defended almost every cruise line in existence. Ultimately, we come here and other similar places to learn about the experience and to try to maximize our own experiences while on board. We, also, come here to kill the time between holidays. Unfortunately, there is a significant percentage that come here to destroy your happiness with your preferred cruiseline. Why do they do this? Who knows, they had a bad experience on a cruise, maybe, a Royal Champion or the brand new Celebrity Champion may have made them mad one day. Who knows and who cares. They really are contemptible, and they are amongst us!:eek:

In the case of the Royal Champions some marketing firm idenitified a small group of passionate Royal Caribbean posters. Many of them like Lee have cruised on many cruiselines, and have said non positive things about many of them including RCI. These posters were chosen for what they had done. NOT what they will do. That is a huge difference. Hence the blogger is completely wrong, and a bunch of really good CC members are getting slandered and driven from the boards.

jc:D

Now JC, You KNOW the Celebrity Champion is loved by all on CC! :D

bobbyleduck
March 12th, 2009, 08:05 PM
I'm interested in knowing who the "blogger" is, that some of you keep refering to, sometimes rather derisively? My referrence point is an article on MSNBC, by Anita Dunham-Potter, a cruise expert, travel writer and consumer advocate, whose article is at the following site:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29554810/

I do find it interesting that nobody seems to be picking up on the "travel agent" aspect of all of this. Again, before reading the article, I assumed that most of the people who not only were "cheerleaders," but also took the time to "flame" those who voiced a less than cheerful opinion, were "travel agents." Now, I and others know that there is another group out there as well.

Now, before any of you "flame" me: I have sailed on Celebrity twice. I enjoyed myself on both cruises, although, I must admit that one was superior to the other and my subsequent reviews, on Cruise Critic, said as much. I intend, and hope to cruise many more times on Celebrity, but I appreciate it when people point out problems, and I really appreciate consumer advocates who are looking out for the average person.

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

FinelyCruising
March 12th, 2009, 08:26 PM
I'm interested in knowing who the "blogger" is, that some of you keep refering to, sometimes rather derisively? My referrence point is an article on MSNBC, by Anita Dunham-Potter, a cruise expert, travel writer and consumer advocate, whose article is at the following site:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29554810/

I do find it interesting that nobody seems to be picking up on the "travel agent" aspect of all of this. Again, before reading the article, I assumed that most of the people who not only were "cheerleaders," but also took the time to "flame" those who voiced a less than cheerful opinion, were "travel agents." Now, I and others know that there is another group out there as well.

Now, before any of you "flame" me: I have sailed on Celebrity twice. I enjoyed myself on both cruises, although, I must admit that one was superior to the other and my subsequent reviews, on Cruise Critic, said as much. I intend, and hope to cruise many more times on Celebrity, but I appreciate it when people point out problems, and I really appreciate consumer advocates who are looking out for the average person.

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

Bob...I'll read the link, but can tell you that there are very few agents that are Celebrity regulars here on this board, and I can suggest that any TA's who do post her from time to time are not among the regulars who are considered cheerleaders.

I can name names and real occupations of the perceive cheerleaders and I think you would be surprised at what you would learn. But I am not going to do that.

If anyone wants to dare ask a poster what their line of business is, that is for them to wrestle with to be that bold.

cruzendude
March 12th, 2009, 09:23 PM
I'm interested in knowing who the "blogger" is, that some of you keep refering to, sometimes rather derisively? My referrence point is an article on MSNBC, by Anita Dunham-Potter, a cruise expert, travel writer and consumer advocate, whose article is at the following site:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29554810/

I do find it interesting that nobody seems to be picking up on the "travel agent" aspect of all of this. Again, before reading the article, I assumed that most of the people who not only were "cheerleaders," but also took the time to "flame" those who voiced a less than cheerful opinion, were "travel agents." Now, I and others know that there is another group out there as well.

Now, before any of you "flame" me: I have sailed on Celebrity twice. I enjoyed myself on both cruises, although, I must admit that one was superior to the other and my subsequent reviews, on Cruise Critic, said as much. I intend, and hope to cruise many more times on Celebrity, but I appreciate it when people point out problems, and I really appreciate consumer advocates who are looking out for the average person.

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

I don't know who dubbed Miss Potter a "cruise expert" but if you did a little more research into her so called cruiseing message board you will find she is more of a crack (or is it quack) pot than a cruise expert...her consumer advocacy is how she got hooked up with Brenda Moran which started this entire fiasco....dig a little deeper and you wioll uncover MANY flaws.....wanna borrow my shovel? :D

Karynanne
March 12th, 2009, 09:26 PM
I don't know who dubbed Miss Potter a "cruise expert" but if you did a little more research into her so called cruiseing message board you will find she is more of a crack (or is it quack) pot than a cruise expert...her consumer advocacy is how she got hooked up with Brenda Moran which started this entire fiasco....dig a little deeper and you wioll uncover MANY flaws.....wanna borrow my shovel? :D

Now I remember why that name sounded so familiar! Now that's a story unto itself!

Cruising Bill
March 12th, 2009, 09:37 PM
This pseudo-controversy cracks me up. I met Schplinky and Ottawapup on a Constellation Cruise about three years ago. Prior to the cruise, I had for the first time joined Cruise Critic and participated in talking about our upcoming cruise with both of these guys as well as others (which was a 7-night So. Carib.). We had a nice time meeting and chatting with them, but didn't get to spend much time (since we were busy relaxing by the pool, and they were busy on excursions).

When we returned, Schplinky wrote a review of the cruise, in which he was fairly critical of the experience. I remember feeling slightly stung, as I had thought it the best cruise ever. I have since been a Cruise Critic regular reader, and go on one to two cruises a year. I have found Lee's posts to be helpful, informative, entertaining and honest. In fact, though, every time he mentions that Constellation cruise, he is still critical and it still irritates me. :)

My point is that I don't believe, based on this personal experience, that him being an openly Royal Champion, has impinged on the honesty, quality, depth and interest of his writing. My partner and I, when planning a cruise, will (seriously) sometimes ask each other when pondering an issue about our vacation, "what does Schplinky think about that"?

I hope we'll be on a cruise again together someday, Lee, but in the meantime I will look forward to reading your posts.

Schplinky
March 12th, 2009, 11:17 PM
I do find it interesting that nobody seems to be picking up on the "travel agent" aspect of all of this. Again, before reading the article, I assumed that most of the people who not only were "cheerleaders," but also took the time to "flame" those who voiced a less than cheerful opinion, were "travel agents."

Bob,

I don't really understand your point here. Would a travel agent really care if someone like Celebrity, Princess, Cunard or Carnival more, so long as they bought their trips from them? Why would a travel agent be upset that you liked one line and not the other?

This pseudo-controversy cracks me up. I met Schplinky and Ottawapup on a Constellation Cruise about three years ago. Prior to the cruise, I had for the first time joined Cruise Critic and participated in talking about our upcoming cruise with both of these guys as well as others (which was a 7-night So. Carib.). We had a nice time meeting and chatting with them, but didn't get to spend much time (since we were busy relaxing by the pool, and they were busy on excursions).

When we returned, Schplinky wrote a review of the cruise, in which he was fairly critical of the experience. I remember feeling slightly stung, as I had thought it the best cruise ever. I have since been a Cruise Critic regular reader, and go on one to two cruises a year. I have found Lee's posts to be helpful, informative, entertaining and honest. In fact, though, every time he mentions that Constellation cruise, he is still critical and it still irritates me. :)

My point is that I don't believe, based on this personal experience, that him being an openly Royal Champion, has impinged on the honesty, quality, depth and interest of his writing. My partner and I, when planning a cruise, will (seriously) sometimes ask each other when pondering an issue about our vacation, "what does Schplinky think about that"?

I hope we'll be on a cruise again together someday, Lee, but in the meantime I will look forward to reading your posts.

Thanks Bill.

I'd like to think I've matured a lot as a cruiser since that cruise. I think one of the things Connie had going against her [for us] was that she was our second cruise and we compared EVERYTHING to our first, instead of just enjoying the different experience.

In the dozen or so cruises since then, I have also learned that two couples on the same ship can have diametrically opposite experiences. We certainly have noticed that in reading the reviews of folks who were on Century and Solstice with us (both of which we quite liked).

We just booked a transatlantic for next spring and we certainly took Constellation's greta itinerary into account, but I could see us on that class again one day.

lee

p.s. I'd be interested to hear how you liked Osterdam. Feel free to email me via our web page in my signature.

Sky Sweet
March 12th, 2009, 11:27 PM
Thanks for starting this very informative thread because I didn't realize that this group existed.

I never understood why a few posters attacked someone for being upset about not having air conditioning in their cabin during a Caribbean cruise, but now I do.

cruzendude
March 12th, 2009, 11:34 PM
I invite everyone here to join me as Celebrity Champions-Charter members....but hurry you can ONLY be a charter member if you join before April 1st! :p HEY, its my club so I get to make the rules! :eek:

So what??? Doesn't anyone wanna be Vice President of the Celebrity Champions? :D

Ma Bell
March 13th, 2009, 12:41 AM
Thanks for starting this very informative thread because I didn't realize that this group existed.

I never understood why a few posters attacked someone for being upset about not having air conditioning in their cabin during a Caribbean cruise, but now I do.

As I recall, the poster received a free cruise because of the air-conditioning problem but was still upset because the Captain didn't come and apologize to him.

Catnip
March 13th, 2009, 06:56 AM
It seems as if some people would rather that there be no criticism of anything cruise related, however, they have no problem with criticizing (FLAMING) people who might make a legitimate critic of a cruise related experience.



I totally agree.

FinelyCruising
March 13th, 2009, 07:19 AM
You've got to admit some of the nit piking is insane. Just this week I read a review of a first time X cruiser insisting that the Solstice in just it few short months is in a such a state of disrepair that she seems as old as all the other ships in the fleet. Now mind you this was the posters first time on a Celebrity ship.

An eye roller to me.:rolleyes:

excitedofharpenden
March 13th, 2009, 07:27 AM
The whole thing is bunk in my view, put about by the feeling that "some people might be getting more than me". The green eyed monster. The most destructive of all the traits us humans have.

As for A D-P being a "cruise expert" I think that may be based upon the same amount of research she does!

Phil

Catnip
March 13th, 2009, 07:51 AM
You've got to admit some of the nit piking is insane. Just this week I read a review of a first time X cruiser insisting that the Solstice in just it few short months is in a such a state of disrepair that she seems as old as all the other ships in the fleet. Now mind you this was the posters first time on a Celebrity ship.

An eye roller to me.:rolleyes:

I've always been amused & a little puzzled at the reactions of some of the cruise lines loyal fans (doesn't matter which cruise line, it happens in most all forums here) that take such exception to and get so angry about negative comments about "their" favorite cruise line. :confused:
To me, everyone has a right to their own opinion, and to state it here. If someone has a bad experience on a cruise and comes here to report it, why would others get so uptight about it? I mean, honestly, unless you are the President of the company, why would you (generic you, not you in particular) take it so personal?
Even if it is truly a troll, only here to stir up debate, why even take the time to blast off a scathing reply? Why not just laugh as I do and ignore him?

bobbyleduck
March 13th, 2009, 09:43 AM
I've always been amused & a little puzzled at the reactions of some of the cruise lines loyal fans (doesn't matter which cruise line, it happens in most all forums here) that take such exception to and get so angry about negative comments about "their" favorite cruise line. :confused:
To me, everyone has a right to their own opinion, and to state it here. If someone has a bad experience on a cruise and comes here to report it, why would others get so uptight about it? I mean, honestly, unless you are the President of the company, why would you (generic you, not you in particular) take it so personal?
Even if it is truly a troll, only here to stir up debate, why even take the time to blast off a scathing reply? Why not just laugh as I do and ignore him?

Yes!

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

usha
March 13th, 2009, 11:37 AM
You've got to admit some of the nit piking is insane. Just this week I read a review of a first time X cruiser insisting that the Solstice in just it few short months is in a such a state of disrepair that she seems as old as all the other ships in the fleet. Now mind you this was the posters first time on a Celebrity ship.

An eye roller to me.:rolleyes:
Yeah, I read that, and just sort of shook my head.
Okay, I haven't been on Solstice, but I'm pretty sure it's not quite ready for the scrapyard.:cool:

Sky Sweet
March 13th, 2009, 12:15 PM
You've got to admit some of the nit piking is insane. Just this week I read a review of a first time X cruiser insisting that the Solstice in just it few short months is in a such a state of disrepair that she seems as old as all the other ships in the fleet. Now mind you this was the posters first time on a Celebrity ship.

An eye roller to me.:rolleyes:

I agree that some people nit pick, but on the other hand there are others who have very valid complaints, such as lack of cabin air conditioning on a Caribbean cruise, and get attacked by the Celebrity cheerleaders.

BTW - I enjoy reading your posts because you are not either a Celebrity Cheerleader or someone who finds fault with everything. Your reviews are very fair and balanced and I wish more people would follow your lead :)

tbelian
March 13th, 2009, 12:39 PM
attacked by the Celebrity cheerleaders.



The more things change ......


I'm soo glad I peeked in , NOT!

woodofpine
March 13th, 2009, 12:55 PM
If you're a cruiseline you'd rather have a booster than a critic. This forum isn't called 'CruiseBooster' nor is it called 'InforCruise'. Sure, CC can be informative - but its an opinion forum by its own title.

There's a place for ads but the posts themselves aren't supposed to be that place. The RC business is subtle marketing but its also subterfuge. That's why it rubs some the wrong way. I'm glad the RC members let it be known. I'm sure that they as a group they are well informed and articulate. But - criticism and objectivity/subjectivity is almost certainly not their strong suit.

This is just a discussion forum, its not a jury - if it were a jury a plaintiff would likely have grounds to exclude an RC member. Sometimes posters here act like plaintiffs and sometimes they ask the 'critic' forum to act as a jury... Inevitably, RCI hopes and expects RCs to be their 'champions' - I guess its good to know who those folks are...

Schplinky
March 13th, 2009, 01:12 PM
I'm glad the RC members let it be known. I'm sure that they as a group they are well informed and articulate. But - criticism and objectivity/subjectivity is almost certainly not their strong suit.



Can you please give an actual example of this?

Sky Sweet
March 13th, 2009, 01:14 PM
The more things change ......


I'm soo glad I peeked in , NOT!

Tbelian, If you are going to quote me, I would greatly appreciate it if you didn't take the liberty to use part of my quote out of context, and then respond to that distortion of my original post.

However, you did illustrate why I have a problem with the Celebrity Champions Progam and for that I should be grateful.

Sky Sweet
March 13th, 2009, 01:32 PM
If you're a cruiseline you'd rather have a booster than a critic. This forum isn't called 'CruiseBooster' nor is it called 'InforCruise'. Sure, CC can be informative - but its an opinion forum by its own title.

There's a place for ads but the posts themselves aren't supposed to be that place. The RC business is subtle marketing but its also subterfuge. That's why it rubs some the wrong way. I'm glad the RC members let it be known. I'm sure that they as a group they are well informed and articulate. But - criticism and objectivity/subjectivity is almost certainly not their strong suit.

This is just a discussion forum, its not a jury - if it were a jury a plaintiff would likely have grounds to exclude an RC member. Sometimes posters here act like plaintiffs and sometimes they ask the 'critic' forum to act as a jury... Inevitably, RCI hopes and expects RCs to be their 'champions' - I guess its good to know who those folks are...

Hi Woodofpine :)

I agree that a cruise line would rather have a booster than a critic of its product, and could understand why they would have a program like this on the cruise line's own website. I can even understand why a travel agent would.

However, I thought that cruise critic was a special place for people to give honest feedback about their experiences at sea, and for people who are planning a cruise to use that information in their decision making process.

Now that I know this program exists, I will no longer be able to just accept posts on this forum at face value.

excitedofharpenden
March 13th, 2009, 01:46 PM
The more things change ......


I'm soo glad I peeked in , NOT!
Hey Tom. Haven't seen you for a while. Hope all is well.

Phil

FinelyCruising
March 13th, 2009, 02:18 PM
I've always been amused & a little puzzled at the reactions of some of the cruise lines loyal fans (doesn't matter which cruise line, it happens in most all forums here) that take such exception to and get so angry about negative comments about "their" favorite cruise line. :confused:
To me, everyone has a right to their own opinion, and to state it here. If someone has a bad experience on a cruise and comes here to report it, why would others get so uptight about it? I mean, honestly, unless you are the President of the company, why would you (generic you, not you in particular) take it so personal?
Even if it is truly a troll, only here to stir up debate, why even take the time to blast off a scathing reply? Why not just laugh as I do and ignore him?

Catnip...I think the internet forums are for communicating thoughts and opinions, yet I don't see anger in reactions as much as I see a divide when people hold fast to their thoughts, observations, impressions and beliefs. I think that any legitimate issue is easily distiguished by those that are not really enough of a big deal for reasonable people go on about and for those who have a vast amount of experience on the ships and in this brand, I think its likely to find a lack of patience with small things that are magnified into big deals.

I am not convinced that the divide that can occur is as a result of anyone taking a flaw one finds while on board personally, but it's probably perceived to be something being taken personally when an idea is challenged or even poo-poo'd, keeping aside those who post reviews with a bit of a desire to incite an uproar. And that we know does happen too.

I really beleive the pupose of these forums is to invite an exchange of information, and sometimes people can ignore what is said, or bite their tongue, or not. :o

ChevyCruiser
March 13th, 2009, 02:33 PM
You've got to admit some of the nit piking is insane. Just this week I read a review of a first time X cruiser insisting that the Solstice in just it few short months is in a such a state of disrepair that she seems as old as all the other ships in the fleet. Now mind you this was the posters first time on a Celebrity ship.

An eye roller to me.:rolleyes:

And why is that person's opinion any less valuable than anyone else's? I was on the Solstice's inaugural and the lawn was already worn out and "resting', there were sewage smells at odd places around the ship, the aft elevator cables banged and clanged on sea days, the floors around the beverage stations in the buffet area were always sticky, the sound levels in the theater were deafening, and our table for four was so close to the next table that the waiter treated the two as one table for 10 and thus we didn't get our entrees until the other table had finished their appetizers - and they were consistently 10-15 minutes late to dinner, and our Sunset Veranda cabin balcony was covered by a layer of soot every morning.

I'll stick with the old plow horse Mercury any day instead of another cruise on a race horse Solstice.

Does that make your eyes roll?

FinelyCruising
March 13th, 2009, 02:34 PM
Can you please give an actual example of this?

Lee, wasn't it you in your recent review of Solstice that you thought the Cirque inspired show was not so good at all...kind of a poor man's Cirque? Even though I haven't seen she ship or the show yet, I thought I was going to have to have it out with you for that just for disappointing me in advance!

FinelyCruising
March 13th, 2009, 02:48 PM
And why is that person's opinion any less valuable than anyone else's? I was on the Solstice's inaugural and the lawn was already worn out and "resting', there were sewage smells at odd places around the ship, the aft elevator cables banged and clanged on sea days, the floors around the beverage stations in the buffet area were always sticky, the sound levels in the theater were deafening, and our table for four was so close to the next table that the waiter treated the two as one table for 10 and thus we didn't get our entrees until the other table had finished their appetizers - and they were consistently 10-15 minutes late to dinner, and our Sunset Veranda cabin balcony was covered by a layer of soot every morning.

I'll stick with the old plow horse Mercury any day instead of another cruise on a race horse Solstice.

Does that make your eyes roll?

If you are asking me to let you know what I think of all your notes, this this is a good example of setting out a challenge.

The reality is that the 1st few sailings were a mixture of both praise and commentary of a variety of issues that you noted here unlike business as usual aspects of cruising on Celebrity ships.

Despite the fact that others indicated that some of these were unfortunate start up issues, and I happend to think Celebrity fell down on the job for this rollout, you have decided that for other reasons you do not like this ship.

That is your choice, and I am not bothered by it at all, but I will certainly take my cruise in two weeks even though I know that the lawn needs rest and the elevator cabs may not be ones with sealed wall construction. Those are the ones that make my eye roll...since you asked.

Ma Bell
March 13th, 2009, 02:53 PM
There are certainly many well balanced reviews and honest complaints posted on these forums and I personally welcome them. However there are some that, in my opinion, are just over the top and many times very misleading to someone who may be looking to book a cruise.

If we have experience to the contrary should we all just sit back and not comment? According to some on these boards the only opinions that are valid are the complainers and anyone who has a good experience should keep it to himself. I think it's just as important to rebut some of the exagerations as it is to have the valid complaints.

Constructive criticism is always needed and welcomed. Vitriol and bashing are not.

If the complaining was all we saw here, no one would ever book a cruise. I don't know about the rest of you but I can't think of a business that seems to have more satisfied customers than cruising.

Pedlar Family UM
March 13th, 2009, 05:42 PM
Hi Woodofpine :)

I agree that a cruise line would rather have a booster than a critic of its product, and could understand why they would have a program like this on the cruise line's own website. I can even understand why a travel agent would.

However, I thought that cruise critic was a special place for people to give honest feedback about their experiences at sea, and for people who are planning a cruise to use that information in their decision making process.

Now that I know this program exists, I will no longer be able to just accept posts on this forum at face value.

I agree with you 100%, Sky Sweet, this kind of program does diminish the value of the information on any cruise web-site. You will always have some who claim loudly to be neutral, but who in reality are very biased toward a particular cruise line. On top of that you add this program by RCL to encourage posters to say favorable things about RCL products and the integrity of a great informational site like this one tends to go way down in my humble opinion.

With the return of those who were on the last Millennium
cruise, before dry dock, it can only be hoped that they will be allowed to tell their story and post their opinions without being maligned or having their reports impugned by some of these types of posters.

Cheers

xpcdoojk
March 13th, 2009, 05:56 PM
Sky Sweet, regardless of the RC brohaha, you should always be skeptical of every post on the internet when you have anonymous posters. You don't know the motivation of other members. Therefore you have to use your own judgement, you can not just believe everything you read. That was the way it was before this and that is the way it will be after this.

Some posters, obviously, are passionate about cruising and you can tell the ones that consistently provide good information, and you can tell the ones that no matter what happens that they are going to find something to complain about. In other words over time you learn the bias that people have both good and bad. There are many people here at CC that are tremendous resources in the Royal Caribbean forum here, some of those people were picked for exactly that reason. For the posts that they had made in the past. They were not paid to post positive things, they mostly did post positive things. I don't know all of the RCs, but of the many that I know I find them to be the best resources in the forum for anyone wanting to find out about RCI. It is a shame that they now feel like people think that they are paid shills. They are not. This witch hunt is driving good information from the boards, and the replacement for this information is not as good. So, we all lose.

jc

woodofpine
March 13th, 2009, 06:02 PM
Can you please give an actual example of this?

Absolutely... Your response and reaction above.

As another poster suggested, you 'don't get it'. You're blind to the subtlety of the line's use of Pavlovian techniques to reinforce preferences. RCI's not interested in the least with critical objectivity, their aggenda is your continued 'championing'. (And yes - the line has an aggenda. They are not paying people to monitor forum posts, identify persistently positive posters, then contact them to reward [if only with a pat on the back] because its 'relaxing'...)

I'm not saying that any RC is not sincere. But... If you think that RCI isn't trying to influence and hence manipulate forum content then I think you're being naive. No - I'm not going to dream up some sort of integrity test to apply to RC posters. They are sincere.

But - if you can't see the issue... an issue created by the conduct of your 'favorite' cruiseline, then that's a perfect example of how the line's program has impaired your objectivity to generate a subjective response.

Karynanne
March 13th, 2009, 06:32 PM
Absolutely... Your response and reaction above.

As another poster suggested, you 'don't get it'. You're blind to the subtlety of the line's use of Pavlovian techniques to reinforce preferences. RCI's not interested in the least with critical objectivity, their aggenda is your continued 'championing'. (And yes - the line has an aggenda. They are not paying people to monitor forum posts, identify persistently positive posters, then contact them to reward [if only with a pat on the back] because its 'relaxing'...)

I'm not saying that any RC is not sincere. But... If you think that RCI isn't trying to influence and hence manipulate forum content then I think you're being naive. No - I'm not going to dream up some sort of integrity test to apply to RC posters. They are sincere.

But - if you can't see the issue... an issue created by the conduct of your 'favorite' cruiseline, then that's a perfect example of how the line's program has impaired your objectivity to generate a subjective response.

How is RCI trying to manipulate forum content? There are many forum posters that always find the glass half-full. They don't see the negative. Does this make them naive...or maybe they have the type of personality that doesn't find fault with mundane issues. They see the big picture and the whole experience.

FinelyCruising
March 13th, 2009, 06:38 PM
Wood....I am not certain that is a fair assessment, or even an accurate one since it sounds like an accusation to me.

In many, many environments people are gifted in a variety of ways as a Thank You for your business and your continued kind words. I think its a huge leap to say that as a result of this attribute that all RC individuals have then sold their soul to the devil and are under some spell. There has been no contract for exclusivity issued and that leaves people free to say and do anything they want to, suggesting they are stooges is just wrong.

This seems to me to be a most unfortunate turn of events and I feel that the kind of retribution that is occurring by the press and cruise critic members is pretty unreasonable under the circumstances. I think many decent people are being victimized as a result of clear and apparent jealousy. When I saw the one article bringing the Moran's into this issue, I knew right then and there this was not about objectivity at all, particularly since there was no mention that the cruise lines themselves have banned the Moran's from their ships coupled by the fact that plenty of ordinary posters on multiple boards found no favor whatsoever with their agendas.

So its clear to me there is a bandwagon approach designed to drag these RC's through the mud.

That is just messing with Karma.

bobbyleduck
March 14th, 2009, 10:52 AM
Why is it that the idea of a "real" critique of a cruising experience is so loathsome to the industry and its champions? I'm not talking about people who just want to complain about a ship, a line, an itinerary and such, but an honest critique. On the other hand, even the people who just want to complain deserve the same opportunity as the rosy-voiced "Champions."

Why is it that people who make suggestions for ways a cruise might be improved are roundly thrashed on these boards?

And, why is it that people who've had a perfect experience (Oh, yeah, that happens all the time) feel the need to "flame" people who may not have had the same experience. By the way, if you experience everything in life perfectly, please don't "flame" me, just be thankful that you are able to do so.

I have tended to find the enjoyment of every trip, cruise or otherwise, that I have taken, but that doesn't make the problems go away. In my situations it has made the trips more memorable and thus even the problems have been important to the overall experience, but I understand that not everyone experiences problems the same way that I do, and that some problems, which I may not have experienced, may not be able to be dismissed so easily. I may be able to make lemonade from the lemons in my life, but some people may not be able to do so, and THAT'S OK!

Enough of me. Back to your regularly scheduled programming. And --

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

woodofpine
March 14th, 2009, 10:54 AM
Defensive RC champions ignore that I stated, "They are sincere" (so how is that an accusation?) and that "they are well informed and articulate"... (that is, what sort of accustion?).

I think the foregoing show that I never accused anyone of "selling their soul" (that's the sort of flamboyant comment most RCs would eschew (at least if it were directed at their preferred cruiseline;)).

But general forum influence - hence manipulation (perhaps that term implies more specificity than its due) - that is undoubtedly a primary objective of a cruise line,
1) identifying particular posters;
2) based on their generally favorable post content;
3) communicating with them individually;
4) praising and encouraging their 'brand' of post communication;
5) offering recognition and other things that would be generally be construed or categorized as 'perks' as reinforcement.

Viral marketing is stealthy.

I'm 'not envious' as the defensive imply... For some reason the inducements offered don't mean to much to me personally (I tend to spread my cruise booking around despite repeater inducements ditto airlines where I've always ignored mileage clubbing).

I'm just bemused that the RCs as a group have had a higher than average credibility on these boards. The perception of their credibility has been impaired to a degree by a marketing program of their preferred cruiseline. These sorts of marketing initiatives are not new in industry and have usually been accompanied by the concerns expressed by some of the 'cruise critics' here. Given an RC's natural concern for their cred, their preferred cruiseline has done them virtually no good service in the context of their posting cred here.

So - why is there no irritation or criticism of these 'well informed and articulate' RC posters directed toward the cruiseline whose behavior created a personal cred perception issue that now burdens them a little?

Pavlov's dog want another cookie! ;):D;)

Schplinky
March 14th, 2009, 11:30 AM
Lee, wasn't it you in your recent review of Solstice that you thought the Cirque inspired show was not so good at all...kind of a poor man's Cirque? Even though I haven't seen she ship or the show yet, I thought I was going to have to have it out with you for that just for disappointing me in advance!

Sorry about that! :)

One thing I've read a lot lately is that "it's Cruise Critic after all" but I think that those who are universally critical should be as quickly dismissed as those who are universally positive. A movie critic is not employed simply to post every flaw they saw in a film, nor are they there to post only those things they liked. Good critics write about their expectations, their actual experience and how the two coincided or conflicted. Those who think this site being called Cruise Critic infers that only criticism is valid have missed the point. I read a post the other night where they lady (I think) said that she only believes the negative reviews. That actually made me sad for her but I guess we're all entitled to our own approach to life.

I've been accused lately of only posting sugar coated reviews and I took great exception to that, admittedly. While I will confess that my reviews might be long, overly detailed, overly subjective or unfocused, I have to say that sugar-coated is not a phrase that would ever have occurred to me.

Such is life.

J & G
March 14th, 2009, 11:34 AM
Every forum, be it travel-related or other, has its "champions." Some are paid, some are company employees disguised as happy customers, and some are just people who are perpetually happy. :)

Likewise, almost all forums have those who cannot find anything positive to say. Sometimes, these people are "paid" by the competition to make potential customers doubt the competitor's product. Other times, they are just people who have become dissatisfied for whatever reason, have asked unsuccessfully for excessive compensation, and as a result, are bad-mouthing the company. And still other times, there are those who just won't ever be happy, no matter what! :mad:

Just like the scoring of many Olympic events and cheerleading competitions (since we are on the topic of cheerleading), a discriminating reader has to throw out the extreme high and low "scores" and base their opinions on the rest.

Was I disappointed to find that the RCs had been compensated? A little, at first.....but that doesn't make me discount their opinions. I have received polite and valuable information from many of them, and I have never felt that it was sugar-coated in any way. I will continue to ask for and value their opinions. And if =X= starts this program, I will feel the same way......

Schplinky
March 14th, 2009, 11:36 AM
As another poster suggested, you 'don't get it'. You're blind ...



Defensive RC champions ignore that I stated, "They are sincere" (so how is that an accusation?) and that "they are well informed and articulate"...

that's the sort of flamboyant comment most RCs would eschew (at least if it were directed at their preferred cruiseline;)).

...




I can't imagine why I was offended by your earlier post.

Sky Sweet
March 14th, 2009, 11:41 AM
BTW, I don't put all Celebrity Cheerleaders in the same category

Some have tried every cruise line and truly like Celebrity best

Some have only been on Celebrity, but honestly feel it is perfect in every way, so they have no desire to try another cruise line

Some like to think it has a passenger base that is superior to other cruiselines so they can identify with that image

Some feel they will get better perks from the cruiseline by assuming the role of a cheerleader

I only have a problem with posters who make it difficult for this board to function as a place for everyone who has been on a cruise to provide honest feedback about their experiences at sea, as well as those who consistently ridicule the passenger base of other cruise lines so they can feel a false sense of elitism

J & G
March 14th, 2009, 11:48 AM
Sorry about that! :)

One thing I've read a lot lately is that "it's Cruise Critic after all" but I think that those who are universally critical should be as quickly dismissed as those who are universally positive. A movie critic is not employed simply to post every flaw they saw in a film, nor are they there to post only those things they liked. Good critics write about their expectations, their actual experience and how the two coincided or conflicted. Those who think this site being called Cruise Critic infers that only criticism is valid have missed the point. I read a post the other night where they lady (I think) said that she only believes the negative reviews. That actually made me sad for her but I guess we're all entitled to our own approach to life.

First, let's define "critic"

Webster defines it in the following way:

Main Entry: 1crit·ic
Pronunciation: \ˈkri-tik\
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin criticus, from Greek kritikos, from kritikos able to discern or judge, from krinein

1 a: one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique b: one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances

2: one given to harsh or captious judgment

The primary definition is not one that includes negativity. As I read it, a critic is one who makes a reasonable and analytical jusdgement about something.....

So why do some people seem to think that one cannot be a critic unless that person posts negative opinions?


I've been accused lately of only posting sugar coated reviews and I took great exception to that, admittedly. While I will confess that my reviews might be long, overly detailed, overly subjective or unfocused, I have to say that sugar-coated is not a phrase that would ever have occurred to me.

Such is life.

OK, "sugar-coated" is NOT an adjective that I would have ever attached to any of your reviews.....maybe I'm not reading them correctly, but......

FinelyCruising
March 14th, 2009, 02:11 PM
Every forum, be it travel-related or other, has its "champions." Some are paid, some are company employees disguised as happy customers, and some are just people who are perpetually happy. :)

Likewise, almost all forums have those who cannot find anything positive to say. Sometimes, these people are "paid" by the competition to make potential customers doubt the competitor's product. Other times, they are just people who have become dissatisfied for whatever reason, have asked unsuccessfully for excessive compensation, and as a result, are bad-mouthing the company. And still other times, there are those who just won't ever be happy, no matter what! :mad:

Just like the scoring of many Olympic events and cheerleading competitions (since we are on the topic of cheerleading), a discriminating reader has to throw out the extreme high and low "scores" and base their opinions on the rest.

Was I disappointed to find that the RCs had been compensated? A little, at first.....but that doesn't make me discount their opinions. I have received polite and valuable information from many of them, and I have never felt that it was sugar-coated in any way. I will continue to ask for and value their opinions. And if =X= starts this program, I will feel the same way......

I like what you have presented here, and I think that many people go the distance to assist others in making their cruise an enjoyable one. We know of all those who come here without any research in advance only to moan and groan about the time the had. But that is X's fault too for their marketing that these ships and the experince are labeled as high end luxury.

I think the kicker is that there was a "free cruise offered", and I suspect that is the real issue with the dissatifaction disguised as we should have known who you are. I have seen it asked but not answered...how did anyone have a bad cruise as a result of the information that was received on these boards by a RC poster? If there is any reason to incite this kind of reaction I think there ought to be some real and tangible damage to someone's cruise as a result of the word of mouth found here and there simply is not any evidence of that.

So everyone can just keep on chewing away at this like it has impacted their lives so greatly, and I will just keep on cruising and hoping I steer clear of all the complainers if I ever encounter them on board. Here, I can just switch channels at will.

FinelyCruising
March 14th, 2009, 02:30 PM
Defensive RC champions ignore that I stated, "They are sincere" (so how is that an accusation?) and that "they are well informed and articulate"... (that is, what sort of accustion?).

I think the foregoing show that I never accused anyone of "selling their soul" (that's the sort of flamboyant comment most RCs would eschew (at least if it were directed at their preferred cruiseline;)).

But general forum influence - hence manipulation (perhaps that term implies more specificity than its due) - that is undoubtedly a primary objective of a cruise line,
1) identifying particular posters;
2) based on their generally favorable post content;
3) communicating with them individually;
4) praising and encouraging their 'brand' of post communication;
5) offering recognition and other things that would be generally be construed or categorized as 'perks' as reinforcement.

Viral marketing is stealthy.

I'm 'not envious' as the defensive imply... For some reason the inducements offered don't mean to much to me personally (I tend to spread my cruise booking around despite repeater inducements ditto airlines where I've always ignored mileage clubbing).

I'm just bemused that the RCs as a group have had a higher than average credibility on these boards. The perception of their credibility has been impaired to a degree by a marketing program of their preferred cruiseline. These sorts of marketing initiatives are not new in industry and have usually been accompanied by the concerns expressed by some of the 'cruise critics' here. Given an RC's natural concern for their cred, their preferred cruiseline has done them virtually no good service in the context of their posting cred here.

So - why is there no irritation or criticism of these 'well informed and articulate' RC posters directed toward the cruiseline whose behavior created a personal cred perception issue that now burdens them a little?

Pavlov's dog want another cookie! ;):D;)

Wood...I think its post 79 and this one too that suggests that RC's are puppets.

I will take it a step further and say if you think that is true, that these RCs have been brainwashed by a perk, and that's my read, then all those who have followed and booked and sailed and been happy as a result are of such weak mindedness that they are no better than the RC's and the whole thing has trickled down to hypnosis of two groups of people.

I recognize there is now this rebound with a huge hue and cry of why on earth did I ever believe you, you lied to me. You concealed from me. There is no damage as a result, but there is a reaction that I see resulting from their independent decision to take a cruise on RCCL that they somehow earned a RC a free cruise and want to begrudge that right now as fast as they can because that was not the deal they signed up for when posting here.

There was no deal with the RC's as best as I can tell but people are just not going to get that.

woodofpine
March 14th, 2009, 04:33 PM
Wood...I think its post 79 and this one too that suggests that RC's are puppets.

I will take it a step further and say if you think that is true, that these RCs have been brainwashed by a perk, and that's my read, then all those who have followed and booked and sailed and been happy as a result are of such weak mindedness that they are no better than the RC's and the whole thing has trickled down to hypnosis of two groups of people.

I recognize there is now this rebound with a huge hue and cry of why on earth did I ever believe you, you lied to me. You concealed from me. There is no damage as a result, but there is a reaction that I see resulting from their independent decision to take a cruise on RCCL that they somehow earned a RC a free cruise and want to begrudge that right now as fast as they can because that was not the deal they signed up for when posting here.

There was no deal with the RC's as best as I can tell but people are just not going to get that.


OK - if RCs and their defenders are offended: SORRY.

The RCs are articulate and well informed. I'll repeat it. I've never said that RC are 'brainwashed' or 'puppets' (don't put words in my pen or mouth thank you).

I'm naive. A lot of folks here are naive. As you know, there are those that regularly ask, "Do the cruise lines read these forum posts?" And the answer is - absolutely. Not only do they read them, but RCI in particular seeks to patronize certain posters (obviously for a corporate communication purpose).

Sure - we are ALL a bundle of biases. Those biases are a reflection of our experiences. I guess many of us are naive and didn't realize that certain poster biases have been targeted and actively cultivated by the cruiselines, because of their participation here on CC, rather than soley as 'typical' cruiseline product consumers. I won't apologize for those that think that active cruiseline patronizing of posters calls certain things into question. If RCs are offended by that, well the ranks of us naive continue to grow... RCs however should NEVER bridle at being cast as line cheerleaders; after all they have officially accepted that and been designated as such by corporate HQ.

xpcdoojk
March 14th, 2009, 04:59 PM
I like what you have presented here, and I think that many people go the distance to assist others in making their cruise an enjoyable one. We know of all those who come here without any research in advance only to moan and groan about the time the had. But that is X's fault too for their marketing that these ships and the experince are labeled as high end luxury.

I think the kicker is that there was a "free cruise offered", and I suspect that is the real issue with the dissatifaction disguised as we should have known who you are. I have seen it asked but not answered...how did anyone have a bad cruise as a result of the information that was received on these boards by a RC poster? If there is any reason to incite this kind of reaction I think there ought to be some real and tangible damage to someone's cruise as a result of the word of mouth found here and there simply is not any evidence of that.

So everyone can just keep on chewing away at this like it has impacted their lives so greatly, and I will just keep on cruising and hoping I steer clear of all the complainers if I ever encounter them on board. Here, I can just switch channels at will.

Good luck with that, FC. After watching this mess, I think there are a lot more of them than us.

jc

FinelyCruising
March 14th, 2009, 05:12 PM
OK - if RCs and their defenders are offended: SORRY.

The RCs are articulate and well informed. I'll repeat it. I've never said that RC are 'brainwashed' or 'puppets' (don't put words in my pen or mouth thank you).

I'm naive. A lot of folks here are naive. As you know, there are those that regularly ask, "Do the cruise lines read these forum posts?" And the answer is - absolutely. Not only do they read them, but RCI in particular seeks to patronize certain posters (obviously for a corporate communication purpose).

Sure - we are ALL a bundle of biases. Those biases are a reflection of our experiences. I guess many of us are naive and didn't realize that certain poster biases have been targeted and actively cultivated by the cruiselines, because of their participation here on CC, rather than soley as 'typical' cruiseline product consumers. I won't apologize for those that think that active cruiseline patronizing of posters calls certain things into question. If RCs are offended by that, well the ranks of us naive continue to grow... RCs however should NEVER bridle at being cast as line cheerleaders; after all they have officially accepted that and been designated as such by corporate HQ.

I'd rather think they were volunteers who were called upon to help others seeking information about cruising on certain lines and certain ships. I don't think it was a quid pro quo and I don't think they deserve to be disrespected any more than they already have been as I have never thought that the labeling of 'cheerleader' came as a result of anyone's tolerance. So I happen to bristle at the term.

FinelyCruising
March 14th, 2009, 05:14 PM
Good luck with that, FC. After watching this mess, I think there are a lot more of them than us.

jc

Could be.:cool:

ghstudio
March 14th, 2009, 05:38 PM
The moral of all this is that any forum you follow has "shill" entries...well probably not all, but a high percentage. EBAY feedback is quite often similar....someone will buy an item from themselves using a different name and then praise themselves. TripAdvisor has numerous posts from TA's and tour guides camoflaged to be just offering to help.

Problem is that some/many believe that if they read it here on the internet, it must be true...it must be from someone who is just writing their honest views trying to help....I don't mean this derogatorily, but many are just technologically naive folks.

TripAdvisor, CruiseCritic and the many other similar type boards would love to have the "shills" go away...but there is no way to block them. So, we the readers have to intellegently figure out what's honest and what's less than honest. Yes...from this perspective the internet sucks....

As far as the Champion program, lots of companies do similar things....they want to sway poster sentiment towards them. They don't require only positive posts...they aren't paying people for posts (at least in dollars) but the contact with the company....perceived as a personal connection to the company....makes poster's more positive. The goal of the programs is always to make the champions feel that they are closer to RCL than the rest of us....it's the intent of the program to make that so....because they become part of "the team".

I am not a champion...I don't want to be a champion although I wouldn't mind someone who I could call at RCL who actually could do something if I had a problem. I think it's intellectually dishonest to be a champion and not disclose it....even if you think you're being fair and objective...because, by being accepting the role of being a champion, you are really, perhaps subconsciously, being swayed towards the postive.

If you want to comment on these boards and be believed on your OPINIONS...then you should clearly NOT be a champion...and maybe those of us who aren't should put that in our signatures. I am going to add it (when I figure out how). As far as factual answers, I'll accept those from anyone, including someone who is a champion, someone from the cruise line, a TA or a guide.

I was recently at a hotel in mexico....with a serious health outbreak. I reviewed it as such as did many others. In the middle of our honest reviews were two by folks who had just a wonderful time, saw no one sick, all is well, come on down. Truthful reviews or "shill" reviews....

Believe anything you read on the internet, from any source, with a grain of salt.....much is true, but not all. Unfortunately, CruiseCritic has those who believe they are posting honestly, but are prone towards making positive comments by this program. Too bad......

woodofpine
March 14th, 2009, 05:42 PM
Boy - what a sensitive bunch the RCs are... The 'us' 'them' colloquey...

There is no conspiracy of Rcs or non-RCs. Everyone is entitled to convey opinions and information and each post is a singular thing. This is just a cruise forum... I don't know what others have posted, maybe its been unduly harsh. IMHO I don't think that I have 'dragged anyone through the mud'.

But I remain utterly amused by the RCs indignation that being actively grafted into a particular line's marketing initiatives doesn't come at a some price in personal credibility. After all, the presumption here is that poster's opinions come with no strings attached (how presumptuous of me). Those that see the issue aren't the ones that have tainted you, the cruiseline did that.

No harm, no foul. Sure. But it is interesting to know that some cruiseline seek to co-opt posters for marketing reasons.

FinelyCruising
March 14th, 2009, 05:46 PM
Boy - what a sensitive bunch the RCs are... The 'us' 'them' colloquey...

There is no conspiracy of Rcs or non-RCs. Everyone is entitled to convey opinions and information and each post is a singular thing. This is just a cruise forum... I don't know what others have posted, maybe its been unduly harsh. IMHO I don't think that I have 'dragged anyone through the mud'.

But I remain utterly amused by the RCs indignation that being actively grafted into a particular line's marketing initiatives doesn't come at a some price in personal credibility. After all, the presumption here is that poster's opinions come with no strings attached (how presumptuous of me). Those that see the issue aren't the ones that have tainted you, the cruiseline did that.

No harm, no foul. Sure. But it is interesting to know that some cruiseline seek to co-opt posters for marketing reasons.

Wood I agree we were babes in the woods till now. Who knew they were that smart?

Sky Sweet
March 14th, 2009, 05:56 PM
Boy - what a sensitive bunch the RCs are... The 'us' 'them' colloquey...

There is no conspiracy of Rcs or non-RCs. Everyone is entitled to convey opinions and information and each post is a singular thing. This is just a cruise forum... I don't know what others have posted, maybe its been unduly harsh. IMHO I don't think that I have 'dragged anyone through the mud'.

But I remain utterly amused by the RCs indignation that being actively grafted into a particular line's marketing initiatives doesn't come at a some price in personal credibility. After all, the presumption here is that poster's opinions come with no strings attached (how presumptuous of me). Those that see the issue aren't the ones that have tainted you, the cruiseline did that.

No harm, no foul. Sure. But it is interesting to know that some cruiseline seek to co-opt posters for marketing reasons.

Hi woodofpine :)

I agree with you.

There are a few posters who I think have a vested interest in the cruise line by the nature of their posts, but it never occurred to me that any poster was recruited by them to be an advocate.

FinelyCruising
March 14th, 2009, 06:09 PM
Hi Sky...do you think that is occurring on this board with Celebrity posters? FWIW, I don't think that the RC's are XC's but perhaps some now think that there is a sect here too.

Karynanne
March 14th, 2009, 06:29 PM
I have to admit that I never thought if any of the frequent posters were "alleged" RC'ers or not. When I joined this board in 2000, I was just seeking out basic information about Celebrity. I sure some of the posters are TA's...but more favorable posts are just people that enjoy this cruiseline....warts and all.

I'm not a RC, nor am I connected to the travel business whatsoever. I'm just a traveler that enjoys cruising. And if I post a postive comment, does this make me a RC? If so...then I'm not being compensated enough. Those ball-point pens and key chains I seem to collect at Trivia won't get me very far...

Schplinky
March 14th, 2009, 06:36 PM
This thread seems to have evolved into a debate about the merits of being too negative or positive. While I will affirm anyone's right to be as negative as they need to be to get through the day, there are some posters on all the boards of lines we've sailed (RCL, X, NCL, HAL) who say nothing but bad things about their line of choice and yet they never leave that line and sail elsewhere. Again, they have every right to do this but when they're clearly miserable about the line, wwhy would they keep paying to sail.

Sorry if this is off topic.

excitedofharpenden
March 14th, 2009, 07:27 PM
This thread seems to have evolved into a debate about the merits of being too negative or positive. While I will affirm anyone's right to be as negative as they need to be to get through the day, there are some posters on all the boards of lines we've sailed (RCL, X, NCL, HAL) who say nothing but bad things about their line of choice and yet they never leave that line and sail elsewhere. Again, they have every right to do this but when they're clearly miserable about the line, wwhy would they keep paying to sail.

Sorry if this is off topic.
Lee, this thread and the one on the RCCL board seems to have gone in all directions and has ended up in a place I don't want to be.

There are a lot of very useful posts on these boards and many useful posters. It's enlightening reading ALL reviews and stories of ships I'm going to be sailing on, good or bad. IMHO this has been blown out of all proportions by whoever started it. Who did start it? I've lost the plot with the whole thing. I'll continue to read and enjoy this site and sort the wheat from the chaff as I always have.

Phil

Schplinky
March 14th, 2009, 07:33 PM
You set a good example. I'm going to do that to.

woodofpine
March 14th, 2009, 10:45 PM
This thread seems to have evolved into a debate about the merits of being too negative or positive. While I will affirm anyone's right to be as negative as they need to be to get through the day, there are some posters on all the boards of lines we've sailed (RCL, X, NCL, HAL) who say nothing but bad things about their line of choice and yet they never leave that line and sail elsewhere. Again, they have every right to do this but when they're clearly miserable about the line, wwhy would they keep paying to sail.

Sorry if this is off topic.

This thread has a VERY easy topic to summarize and IMHO it has stayed close to it (and NO is it NOT about excess positivism or negativism).

It IS about the integrity and neutrality of poster opinions, and cruiseline (RCI specifically) initiatives to co-opt and sway posters.

If that is too HOT a topic for RCs to handle, turn the channel; but don't denounce the thread! This particular thread has been pretty well reasoned and civil.

Some threads are about particular ships, or particular cruises, itineraries etc. Those threads are largely fact and opinion. This thread is about opinions... How they're formed, shaped, and expressed. And it is about surrepticious marketing efforts of RCI to promote and influence posts and posters.

That is certainly as legitimate a topic as waffles or changing menues!:rolleyes:

Schplinky
March 14th, 2009, 11:02 PM
If that is too HOT a topic for RCs to handle, turn the channel



Sorry, didn't realize the boards had appointed new moderators. It is interesting, though, that your criticism is about a group of people who are claimed to shout down any disagreement and that's all you have done here.

The thread has had lots of posts on various topics but I'll defer to you since your opinion is certainly stronger. Nice to see you're remaining civil in all this.

ghstudio
March 14th, 2009, 11:37 PM
Put me in woodofpine's camp.

There is great public furor about doctors who promote or use drugs/medical devices and are paid by the drug companies. Of course the doctors claim that they are still unbaised and they use the products because they work....etc. etc. So you go to a doctor, he recommends a certain knee replacement, uses it on you and then you find out he's been paid by the drug company to do research on their knee replacements. You wonder....did I really get the right knee replacement....or did he use it because he was influenced.

Turn the page...now we're back here....and we have many unbiased reviewers connected to the drug(sorry), the cruise companies. The doctors will swear they are unbiased...and they really think they are. Ditto with the RC's here.

Other doctors go to medical seminars around the world with lavish non-seminar activities at very low/no cost. But they remain completely unbiased....sure they do.

Schpinky....why don't you drop out of the RC program....especially since you claim you get nothing out of it. I'd bet you don't....be it for ego, stature, a contact name or some benefits you haven't quite explained. Until you do, you're reviews/comments/opinions are suspect, irrespective of your claim to impartiality....just as the medical articles by the doctors working with drug companies.

RC's.....Tell us why you are in the RCL program. I know a number of doctors who said no to trips/study funding so they could be unbiased and honest and pick the best products. How about you other RC folks......why not drop out of the program?

Schplinky
March 15th, 2009, 12:38 AM
I was chosen as an RC BECAUSE I am an enthusiastic supporter of RC (as I am now of X, and NCL). It did not become a supporter because I was chosen as an RC. My feelings about the brand have not changed, which would require me to re-evaluate my stance more than the feelings of other posters.

I am also aware of the lack of truthfulness in the reporting of the program and I can assure you I am not compensated for my participation. In fact, the word "participation" even overshoots my feeling about the "program" since I think, in total, I have received about 4 or 5 emails from RCL in relation to the program in two years. These have mostly been in the form of surveys which solicited my opinions. Why don't I drop out? Why would I? I like giving my opinion and having it have an effect on a product I like.

The people who enjoy my reviews will continue to enjoy them because they know me (in a virtual way) and they have already drawn their own conclusions over whether my experience will inform theirs. If folks want to discount my reviews because of the RC program, I'm very happy for them to do so, as it is their right.

If this were truly some sort of stealthy program, as some seem readily willing to believe, I would have likely been instructed to get a new screen name and start posting under it. I certainly would not admit to being an RC online and I would not feel the need to defend myself (since you wouldn't know I was one).

Since I was named an RC, I have been on eight cruises, five of them on RCL. Anyone who thinks they were free should be required to pay my American Express Bill.

The Celebrity board was a nice respite from the RCL board, at least as concerns this topic. There, if you responded to the untrue posts, you were defensive; if you didn't, you were admitting by default that you had committed some moral sin. For my part, I'm going to simply stop posting on the topic altogether and I'm also going to try to stop reading these threads, too. It's difficult to have people question your integrity with supposedly clever little aside that you'll later be accused of being sensitive about if you respond to them ("ego, stature, a contact name or some benefits you haven't quite explained") and in general they seem posted not by people who want to have a discussion but by those who would rather win an argument. So, let me finish with this:

You win.

bobbyleduck
March 15th, 2009, 12:43 AM
Some of you, and again you know who you are, took the opportunity to attack the source of the article that brought this all to light, so I want everyone to fully understand the difference between a "Cheerleader," a "company shill," a "Royal Champion," or a "Travel Agent," and of course a credentialed member of the press who is also acting as a consumer advocate.

The former group of people don't put their real name, occupation and/or credentials on their posts, and may actually have a vested interest in influencing your decision, not to mention potential conflicts of interest, while the latter, Anita Dunham-Potter who writes for MSNBC, puts her name and reputation on the line every time she puts her investigations into print, and would have to find some other source of income if there weren't enough people who find her perspective worthwhile.

One group relies upon deception (even if their words are written with objectivity and honesty) and the only source each one needs to quote is, of course him or her self. The other, again, a member of the press and an investigative journalist, quotes actual sources who are not herself, does interviews, and seeks comment from those who are being investigated.

By the way, according to her bio on MSNBC, "Anita Dunham-Potter is a Pittsburgh-based travel journalist specializing in cruise travel.

Anita's columns have appeared in major newspapers and many Internet (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15291392/#) outlets, and she is a contributor to Fodor's "Complete Guide to Caribbean Cruises 2006."

The above information should be enough to get her to the level of expert, but let's read further: "She has appeared on CBS' The Early Show as well as online chats with USA TODAY and MSNBC. In addition, she is widely quoted in leading national publications.

Anita's columns and articles have appeared in print in Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Aviation Lifestyles, and USAir Magazine...Currently, she is the cruise columnist for Tripso.com (http://www.tripso.com/dunhampotter/index.html) whose content is available on MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11483830/).

Anita Dunham-Potter is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) (http://www.satw.org/) and Pennwriters (http://www.pennwriters.org/)."

Agree with her, or find fault with her reporting, if you must, but please don't disrespect her because she actually puts it on the line as a professional writer.

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

Sky Sweet
March 15th, 2009, 12:46 AM
I was chosen as an RC BECAUSE I am an enthusiastic supporter of RC (as I am now of X, and NCL). It did not become a supporter because I was chosen as an RC. My feelings about the brand have not changed, which would require me to re-evaluate my stance more than the feelings of other posters.

I am also aware of the lack of truthfulness in the reporting of the program and I can assure you I am not compensated for my participation. In fact, the word "participation" even overshoots my feeling about the "program" since I think, in total, I have received about 4 or 5 emails from RCL in relation to the program in two years. These have mostly been in the form of surveys which solicited my opinions. Why don't I drop out? Why would I? I like giving my opinion and having it have an effect on a product I like.

The people who enjoy my reviews will continue to enjoy them because they know me (in a virtual way) and they have already drawn their own conclusions over whether my experience will inform theirs. If folks want to discount my reviews because of the RC program, I'm very happy for them to do so, as it is their right.

If this were truly some sort of stealthy program, as some seem readily willing to believe, I would have likely been instructed to get a new screen name and start posting under it. I certainly would not admit to being an RC online and I would not feel the need to defend myself (since you wouldn't know I was one).

Since I was named an RC, I have been on eight cruises, five of them on RCL. Anyone who thinks they were free should be required to pay my American Express Bill.

The Celebrity board was a nice respite from the RCL board, at least as concerns this topic. There, if you responded to the untrue posts, you were defensive; if you didn't, you were admitting by default that you had committed some moral sin. For my part, I'm going to simply stop posting on the topic altogether and I'm also going to try to stop reading these threads, too. It's difficult to have people question your integrity with supposedly clever little aside that you'll later be accused of being sensitive about if you respond to them ("ego, stature, a contact name or some benefits you haven't quite explained") and in general they seem posted not by people who want to have a discussion but by those who would rather win an argument. So, let me finish with this:

You win.

Just out of curiosity - have you ever received a free upgrade since you became part of this program?

ocngypz
March 15th, 2009, 11:04 AM
I find the whole ballyhoo quite interesting for several reasons.

1. I wonder how much time RCL employees spent matching screennames on the various sites to RCL logins, bookings, etc.

2. Was any personal information given to RCL by the various websites?

3. Opinions are like noses, everyone has them.

4. Facts and opinions are not one in the same.

Who else is watching you besides the cruiselines????????????????

Conanc
March 15th, 2009, 11:29 AM
The posts on this thread have become utterly ridiculous and some posters should be ashamed of themselves for attacks on people like Schplinky (Lee and Mike) for posting and sharing their unbiased opinions on their cruising experience. Lee has always been a supporter of Royal Caribbean and offered lots of valuable information to all of us here on the boards. That is the REASON he was chosen. He was not chosen and then directed to be a supporter of Royal Caribbean. Sheesh. Be happy for someone else's good fortune instead of being bitter and negative individuals. Life is too short.

We are all very fortunate to be cruising at all in this economy. There are many people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to put food on the table. We are also fortunate to have computers and internet access to be able to share information with each other. I will continue to use these boards to gain and share information and to chat with cruise friends. I for one am thankful for the informative and helpful reviews and posts by Lee and Mike and will continue to seek them out. From this point forward, I am done with threads like these. I suggest to all who feel the same way that we just stop posting so the naysayers are left to themselves and this thread can die the death it deserves.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Sky Sweet
March 15th, 2009, 12:21 PM
I personally think that the Royal Champion program is a brilliant marketing strategy for the cruise line because it is a very inexpensive way for them to promote their product.

bobbyleduck
March 15th, 2009, 12:55 PM
The posts on this thread have become utterly ridiculous and some posters should be ashamed of themselves for attacks on people like Schplinky (Lee and Mike) for posting and sharing their unbiased opinions on their cruising experience. Lee has always been a supporter of Royal Caribbean and offered lots of valuable information to all of us here on the boards. That is the REASON he was chosen. He was not chosen and then directed to be a supporter of Royal Caribbean. Sheesh. Be happy for someone else's good fortune instead of being bitter and negative individuals. Life is too short.

We are all very fortunate to be cruising at all in this economy. There are many people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to put food on the table. We are also fortunate to have computers and internet access to be able to share information with each other. I will continue to use these boards to gain and share information and to chat with cruise friends. I for one am thankful for the informative and helpful reviews and posts by Lee and Mike and will continue to seek them out. From this point forward, I am done with threads like these. I suggest to all who feel the same way that we just stop posting so the naysayers are left to themselves and this thread can die the death it deserves.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day.

I’m sorry, but what part of this post number 34, from you know who, do you consider unbiased opinion of his cruising experience:
"Originally Posted by bobbyleduck
That article is important, because many people are unaware of the prejudices, and purchased opinions of "MANY" of the posters on these boards. By the way - Royal Champions - refers to the entire cruiseline, after all the company is Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and that includes Celebrity.

Actually, it doesn't. Royal Champions were chosen from the RCL area of the Cruise Critic boards and from other travel fora like tripadvisor (before that company bought this site) and the rec.travel newsgroups. Most Royal Champions have never sailed Celebrity although some, like myself, have.
Originally Posted by bobbyleduck
When I've posted something negative, and I've been flamed, I never thought it was a conspiracy, but now I and everyone else knows better.
I think attributing every disagreement anyone has ever had with you to this is a bit of a reach but that's your own conclusion to draw. Still, presuming there must be a conspiracy in place in order for anyone to disagree with you seems a bit self-absorbed.
Originally Posted by bobbyleduck
... now I and the rest of us know that there are actually people out there in message-board land who are paid to attack those of us who might not spout the company line.
The RCs are not paid either. This has been debated to death on the RCL board and those who choose not to believe this cannot be dissuaded. Some of the RCs were offered a two night pre-inaugural about two years ago (just as many elite Captain Club, travel agents, etc. were shown elements of Solstice before she sailed) but many of the Champions have been offered nothing but the title of Champion and the ensuing abuse on the RCL boards, and now this one. RCs are not given a company line to spout and many are openly critical of the policies of RCL. Notably, one of the RCs led the stampede to the Florida Attorney General's office to have fuel surcharges removed from the bills of guests who booked before they were instituted. Hardly sounds like a well-paid company parrot to me.
Originally Posted by bobbyleduck
It would be nice if the same thing applied to message boards. It's important to understand the truth, because only then can the truth set you free.
Many of the RCs put it in their signatures, only to be subjected to the abuse of other RCL posters who were upset or jealous. We were told that we were flaunting our "status." I recently removed mine to avoid the impression that I was rubbing "it" in people's faces but for you, I will put it back.

I find it offensive that you accuse fellow posters without asking questions and that you presume to know their intentions and motivations. I am in the middle of reviewing our recent Solstice cruise and have been posting it in installments. If you would care to read it and tell me where I am blindly spouting RCI propaganda, I would love to recant and make a very public apology to you. If you don't find this bias, I'd appreciate the same courtesy.

If you cannot find it within yourself to do this and would rather just make presumptions, please add me to your ignore list because I plan to continue to post candidly and frequently. All of this is just a bunch of hooey."
OR THIS BIT OF SARCASM FROM POST NUMBER 105:

"Sorry, didn't realize the boards had appointed new moderators. It is interesting, though, that your criticism is about a group of people who are claimed to shout down any disagreement and that's all you have done here.

The thread has had lots of posts on various topics but I'll defer to you since your opinion is certainly stronger. Nice to see you're remaining civil in all this."
OR THIS RECENT ATTEMPT TO END THE DISCUSSION ON HIS TERMS IN POST 107:

"For my part, I'm going to simply stop posting on the topic altogether and I'm also going to try to stop reading these threads, too. It's difficult to have people question your integrity with supposedly clever little aside that you'll later be accused of being sensitive about if you respond to them ("ego, stature, a contact name or some benefits you haven't quite explained") and in general they seem posted not by people who want to have a discussion but by those who would rather win an argument. So, let me finish with this:

You win."
And, finally there is your post number 113, above, attempting to kill a thread that you don’t like, instead of just leaving it alone and letting those who are interested in the original subject enjoy their discussion. By the way, the original discussion if you’ve forgotten was about a story that suggested, in part, that "Cheerleaders," "Travel Agents," and "Royal Champions" might have a vested interest in attacking those who disagree with them. Nothing I’ve read from such people leads me to believe otherwise.
Happy cruising to all!
Bob

P.S. Is it a clever marketing ploy, or manipulation? How many of us actually appreciate viral marketing, or would we appreciate a bigger effort to actually improve the cruising experience instead of using others to try and make us think cruising is every bit as good as it ever was. As much as I enjoy cruising, it is not as good a product as it was when I first cruised, and I don't need a bunch of "cheerleaders," "travel agents," and "Royal Champions" to tell me otherwise, or to put down my biased (based upon my own personal experience) opinion.

Schplinky
March 15th, 2009, 01:32 PM
Just out of curiosity - have you ever received a free upgrade since you became part of this program?


I get auto-notifications when a thread I've subscribed to gets another hit so I was just coming on to unsubscribe but thought I would answer your question. In 15 cruises, I've never had an upgrade or eaten with the Captain.

Sky Sweet
March 15th, 2009, 01:39 PM
There is an article in USA today titled....
"Is Royal Caribbean manipulating message boards at cruise websites?"

Here are a few quotes from that article...

"Can you trust what you read about Royal Caribbean (http://www.usatoday.com/travel/cruises/topic.aspx?topic_id=06Onc4h6Lh2Qd&pt=o) at online message boards? That's the question some vacationers are asking this week in the wake of stories suggesting the cruise operator has been manipulating online discussions for more than a year."


"The key to success in viral marketing is to subtly influence the influencers without them overtly realizing they are being influenced," Royal Caribbean's manager for loyalty marketing, Rachel Hannock, told the audience, according to a blog on loyalty marketing (http://www.customerinsightgroup.com/loyaltyblog/?p=46) written by the Customer Insight Group."


"online posts from Royal Champions "are carefully monitored during events and on a regular basis to ensure that posts remain positive and frequent."


"Hayden says the Royal Champions, of which there currently are about 75, were chosen because they were highly active posters at Cruise Critic and a few other sites and passionate about cruising. So far they have been invited on two short free cruises, and clearly the line expected that they would post about the experiences at Cruise Critic and elsewhere. But Hayden stresses they were free to write whatever they felt about the ships, good or bad. No Royal Champion has been asked to leave the program because he or she was too negative in posts, he adds."


"USA TODAY has asked Cruise Critic to clarify what it has known about the Royal Champions program over the past year. In an initial email to USA TODAY, Cruise Critic publisher Kathleen Tucker said the site wasn't involved in helping Royal Caribbean develop the program."

usha
March 15th, 2009, 01:45 PM
You gotta wonder how long Rachel Hannock has 'til she gets her pink slip.:cool:

chief joe
March 15th, 2009, 01:49 PM
Sky Sweet, regardless of the RC brohaha, you should always be skeptical of every post on the internet when you have anonymous posters. You don't know the motivation of other members. Therefore you have to use your own judgement, you can not just believe everything you read. That was the way it was before this and that is the way it will be after this.

Some posters, obviously, are passionate about cruising and you can tell the ones that consistently provide good information, and you can tell the ones that no matter what happens that they are going to find something to complain about. In other words over time you learn the bias that people have both good and bad. There are many people here at CC that are tremendous resources in the Royal Caribbean forum here, some of those people were picked for exactly that reason. For the posts that they had made in the past. They were not paid to post positive things, they mostly did post positive things. I don't know all of the RCs, but of the many that I know I find them to be the best resources in the forum for anyone wanting to find out about RCI. It is a shame that they now feel like people think that they are paid shills. They are not. This witch hunt is driving good information from the boards, and the replacement for this information is not as good. So, we all lose.

jc

This post best answers the idiocy on this thread. It all goes to you pay your money and take your chances. Ships and crews break down and you have to roll with what happens. You have to take what is said on these post with a grain of salt both good and bad you soon learn who to trust and the ones to ignore. As the comedian on the tv says you just can't fix stupid.

woodofpine
March 15th, 2009, 01:50 PM
I find the whole ballyhoo quite interesting for several reasons.

1. I wonder how much time RCL employees spent matching screennames on the various sites to RCL logins, bookings, etc.

2. Was any personal information given to RCL by the various websites?

3. Opinions are like noses, everyone has them.

4. Facts and opinions are not one in the same.

Who else is watching you besides the cruiselines????????????????


ocngypz - you're always good for a worthy observation or two! #1 points to the level of human resource investment RCI put into the program. ;)

bobbyleduck - you'd make a good prosecutor! :D

skysweet - I agree with you, it is a 'brilliant' (well - at least surreptitious, effective and inexpensive) marketing program - unfortunately, presently coming at the expense of RC's blood pressure etc. Sometimes though you just have to apply the ole 'smell test' and it fails in that category - IMHO. In that way, its decent posters like schplincky that get 'tainted'.

schplincky - you need to relax, lighten up... RC's appear to have taken a beating over on the (closed) RCL thread. Just remember - as ocngypz points out - RCI has a fair amount of man power, time, money, and planning invested in this little program. RCI's both riding your coat tails and taking you for a ride. That's what patronage is about. Protest all you want, but CC posters disturbed that RCI would attempt to create a patronage system among CC posters aren't crazy or mean spirited. In fact, they are a bit angry (for you) in that they see something you don't; that one of the 'expenses' of the RC program is your journalistic credibility (real or perceived).

One thing I'm pretty confident of, RCI hoped that the RC program would remain unpublicized on CC... I'm sure there are memos in production presently.;)

bobbyleduck
March 15th, 2009, 02:23 PM
bobbyleduck - you'd make a good prosecutor! :D


Thank you for the kind(?) word, although, I would prefer journalist, which I am. You'd never know it, would you?

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

ottawapuppy
March 15th, 2009, 02:34 PM
One thing I'm pretty confident of, RCI hoped that the RC program would remain unpublicized on CC...

Most of the original Royal Champions have mentioned that they were such with entries in their signatures for almost two years now. They have self-identified for years. Their opinions were valued for years until this tempest in a teapot exploded.

Mike

woodofpine
March 15th, 2009, 02:41 PM
Why wouldn't it surprise me to have escalated provokations entered... until surprise (not) the thread is closed... What a 'coincidental' convergence of interests that would serve. ;):eek:;)

ottawapuppy
March 15th, 2009, 02:41 PM
From what I am reading here, some people think the integrity of these boards has been compromised. Here's an easy solution: walk away. There are other cruising-related discussion boards, which in your opinion, haven't been soiled. Go there.
Quick, quick...like a bunny......

Problem solved! Now we can all get on with our lives.

Mike

ghstudio
March 15th, 2009, 02:56 PM
I guess RCL has now openly admitted that the program is to influence posters....that they have offered perks.....pretty much they have confirmed the whole thing as a marketing campaign.

Schpinky...I suggest you read the USA Today article and see the quotes by RCL top management. You really need to read that article and then think about all your posts here claiming it's not true.

I suspect the program will end very shortly and there may even be some changes at RCL. This is not the type of publicity RCL wants or needs. It's almost hard to believe those folks gave those quotes....what were they thinking???

eileen & jay
March 15th, 2009, 03:03 PM
One thing I'm pretty confident of, RCI hoped that the RC program would remain unpublicized on CC... I'm sure there are memos in production presently.;)

You bet!!! IMHO, one word states it all...ego! LOL:D

bobbyleduck
March 15th, 2009, 03:03 PM
I see that some of you still don't get it. Many of us find the idea of "Viral Marketing" to be disgusting, whether you're a paid employee masquerading as an ordinary poster, or some other sort of shill for the company. Now, if you are none of those things, whether you're a "Travel Agent," a "Cheerleader," or a "Royal Champion," you have no reason to get your knickers in a knot about this thread. If, however, you take turns (and you and I know who you are) taking pot shots at me because I've taken a stand against that sort of thing, and not against a particular poster, then your suggestion is that you're with the people who "flame" anyone who doesn't toe the company line.

That's how I see it, and if you are not a part of that group, and feel wrongly included by me, which I never intended, then I am forever sorry. If, on the other hand you stand for attacking me (which is not the same as just disagreeing with my position) when I post something, then you may want to find some other activity because I will no longer back down from bullies.

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

bobbyleduck
March 15th, 2009, 03:11 PM
You bet!!! IMHO, one word states it all...ego! LOL:D

Dear Eileen:

I see that you're doing a Panama Canal cruise next month aboard Mercury. We cruised the canal aboard Infinity, two years ago, and loved it. I'm sure you'll have a great time as well.

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

usha
March 15th, 2009, 03:19 PM
I've raised 3 kids, and if there's one thing I'm too familiar with, it's that gut feeling that the story just isn't adding up.
My gut is telling me that the Royal Caribbean/Royal Champions/Cruise Critic story is one of those.

bobbyleduck
March 15th, 2009, 03:35 PM
I've raised 3 kids, and if there's one thing I'm too familiar with, it's that gut feeling that the story just isn't adding up.
My gut is telling me that the Royal Caribbean/Royal Champions/Cruise Critic story is one of those.

Cute dog! And, A Happy St. Patrick's Day to you as well!

Happy cruising to all!

Bob

xpcdoojk
March 15th, 2009, 03:55 PM
As the comedian on the tv says you just can't fix stupid.

You surely can not. I just wish that someone could develop a vaccine for it because it seems to be becoming an epidemic.

jc

ghstudio
March 15th, 2009, 05:31 PM
The most unfortunate part of this incident, this thread, is that Cruisecritic and RCL are both hurt by the story....and both are fundamentally good companies. Overall, the posts about RCL/Celebrity are positive as are the reviews; Overall, there is a wealth of information in the CruiseCritic forums. But because of these threads (the one in RCL and this one) and the news now picking it up, both are getting tarnished.

I hope that CruiseCritic doesn't just erase the threads because that will cause even more comments in the other cruise/travel forums...and probably in the news. I do hope they change their terms of service to ban this type of thing in the future...even though it won't stop anything...at least it's a statement about how they want to run their business.

I hope that RCL, seeing the problem of being even perceived to have gone behind people backs or being "sneaky" hurts more than it helps....and it may turn off repeat cruisers which can really hurt. (we've never been on HAL...but I might just try it or go back to Princess). I would hope that later this week, we'll see an update in USA Today that RCL has discontinued the program....and perhaps even put a list of those (forum names) in the program on each of the bigger sites so we all know which of the old posts we should take with a bigger grain of salt. They might also, with CruiseCritics agreemenet, put up a sticky directly from RCL on both the RCL and Celebrity forums about the program...and talking about the future...

If they want spokespeople, they don't have to do anything other than look in their repeat cruisers programs.....and they can add whatever perks they want if they think it will help....but do it openly.

Finally, CruiseCritic might want to "temporarily" close the "roll call" section for RCL/Celebrity to help RCL Corp see the error of their ways. Yes, it hurts us, but it might be worth forcing the issue, for which CruiseCritic will get cudos. Hopefully, it would be a short "close"

I continue to be surprised that the two folks quoted in the articles didn't understand the negatives....they are probaby too close to the program and have lost site of the people they really need to focus on.....us.

Sky Sweet
March 15th, 2009, 05:40 PM
Since the concept of what constitutes a conflict of interest has been mentioned on this thread, I would like to make a few comments on that topic.

I am retired now but owned an appraisal business for many years. From time to time I would hesitate to do an assignment I received because I thought it might be a conflict of interest. Then I decided that even if it wasn't, the fact that it was gray enough to make me wonder about it means I should not accept it.

Catnip
March 15th, 2009, 05:41 PM
Why is it that the idea of a "real" critique of a cruising experience is so loathsome to the industry and its champions?

Why is it that people who make suggestions for ways a cruise might be improved are roundly thrashed on these boards?

And, why is it that people who've had a perfect experience (Oh, yeah, that happens all the time) feel the need to "flame" people who may not have had the same experience.

I'm at a loss to explain that myself. I've never understood the "cheerleader" mentality.....:confused:
I've sailed on many different cruises and several different cruise lines. I am a Diamond member of RCCL and agree that they have a good product. But, I do not think they are perfect and imho, there is always room for improvement.....always.

TomBeckCruise
March 15th, 2009, 06:06 PM
Since the concept of what constitutes a conflict of interest has been mentioned on this thread, I would like to make a few comments on that topic.

I am retired now but owned an appraisal business for many years. From time to time I would hesitate to do an assignment I received because I thought it might be a conflict of interest. Then I decided that even if it wasn't, the fact that it was gray enough to make me wonder about it means I should not accept it.

Yes, that is the problem. It is the "appearance" of a conflict of interest.
I believe many of the Royal Champions might not realize that, and they post what they truly feel, which is not always positive, and they do not understand why they would be questioned/ attacked. Schplinky, who has chosen to defend himself, seems very fair minded to me in what he writes about all of his cruise experiences. However, the information provided by the reporter has cast doubt on all RCs and RCI.

Coolcruise02
March 15th, 2009, 06:45 PM
This all makes me sad! I learned so much from this board in the beginning and everyone was so helpful. Then after returning from our first X cruise and reporting that we had a "great cruise" but we also reported a few examples of "not being treated famously" and boy were we flamed, to the point I will not post a review again.

I have since learned others on this board are employed or connected to a cruise line and have not disclosed that fact. Everytime I read one of their posts I can see the favoritism.

So, it is a hard lesson to learn but you have to take all posts with a grain of salt. Use your own good judgement when reading posts.

Karynanne
March 15th, 2009, 07:01 PM
This all makes me sad! I learned so much from this board in the beginning and everyone was so helpful. Then after returning from our first X cruise and reporting that we had a "great cruise" but we also reported a few examples of "not being treated famously" and boy were we flamed, to the point I will not post a review again.

I have since learned others on this board are employed or connected to a cruise line and have not disclosed that fact. Everytime I read one of their posts I can see the favoritism.

So, it is a hard lesson to learn but you have to take all posts with a grain of salt. Use your own good judgement when reading posts.

But there is a flip side of all of this. There are posters (myself, included), that cruise often, have no connection to the cruiselne...and I am not a TA...that do usually post positive comments.

Are we now not going to be taken seriously? I just don't have the kind of personality that finds fault in the "small stuff". I never have, and probably never will.

But in order to be a credible poster on CC, should I drum up some "stuff", like wilted lettuce, or a thread-bare towel, every now and then?

I guess I need to take off my rose-colored glasses and become jaded.

Sky Sweet
March 15th, 2009, 07:24 PM
This all makes me sad! I learned so much from this board in the beginning and everyone was so helpful. Then after returning from our first X cruise and reporting that we had a "great cruise" but we also reported a few examples of "not being treated famously" and boy were we flamed, to the point I will not post a review again.

I have since learned others on this board are employed or connected to a cruise line and have not disclosed that fact. Everytime I read one of their posts I can see the favoritism.

So, it is a hard lesson to learn but you have to take all posts with a grain of salt. Use your own good judgement when reading posts.

But there is a flip side of all of this. There are posters (myself, included), that cruise often, have no connection to the cruiselne...and I am not a TA...that do usually post positive comments.

Are we now not going to be taken seriously? I just don't have the kind of personality that finds fault in the "small stuff". I never have, and probably never will.

But in order to be a credible poster on CC, should I drum up some "stuff", like wilted lettuce, or a thread-bare towel, every now and then?

I guess I need to take off my rose-colored glasses and become jaded.

I'll answer your question from my perspective. I don't have a problem with people who are willing to overlook minor problems. My problem is with those who continuously attack anyone who makes a negative comment about Celebrity, even when someone posts a well balanced review of both positive and negative aspects of their cruise.

Based on my memory, you are not guilty of this.

Catnip
March 15th, 2009, 07:27 PM
Then after returning from our first X cruise and reporting that we had a "great cruise" but we also reported a few examples of "not being treated famously" and boy were we flamed, to the point I will not post a review again.



I don't post reviews here either, for that very reason.......

woodofpine
March 15th, 2009, 07:51 PM
Your posts here address the issues very well.

It's great that lines pay attention to their customers' online posts. CC's forums are certainly a 'fun' pastime for consumers to share info in a presumptively 'market neutral' opinion media. RCI's reported staff comments though make it clear that their program was to corrupt the 'market neutral' environment and that even their 'champions' weren't to be aware of the company's full intent and methodology. That sucks; their champions have been exploited as has been the forum.

Clearly, with the disclosure of the program's full intent, the goodwill sought is lost instead. RCI offers competitive products that can stand on their own merits. What irritates about viral marketing is that it takes a fundamentally disrespectfull attitude toward a company's consumers - and in particular - the co-opted ones.

Just my opinion though...

Host Walt
March 15th, 2009, 08:36 PM
A reminder. Regardless of the subject, we will not tolerate ad hominem arguments on any thread including this one.

To be sure I'm clear, here's the definition of ad hominem:

An ad hominem, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

In message board vernacular, ad hominem means personal attacks vs. discussions of the facts.

If you have any question about what is permitted please refer to our Community Guidelines (http://www.cruisecritic.com/community/guide.cfm#6).

Thank you.

cruzendude
March 15th, 2009, 09:08 PM
A reminder. Regardless of the subject, we will not tolerate ad hominem arguments on any thread including this one.

To be sure I'm clear, here's the definition of ad hominem:



In message board vernacular, ad hominem means personal attacks vs. discussions of the facts.

If you have any question about what is permitted please refer to our Community Guidelines (http://www.cruisecritic.com/community/guide.cfm#6).

Thank you.

HUH??? That just made my head hurt! How about a rule againt rules being in latin? :eek:

GXmanDC
March 15th, 2009, 09:16 PM
This all makes me sad! I learned so much from this board in the beginning and everyone was so helpful. Then after returning from our first X cruise and reporting that we had a "great cruise" but we also reported a few examples of "not being treated famously" and boy were we flamed, to the point I will not post a review again.

I have since learned others on this board are employed or connected to a cruise line and have not disclosed that fact. Everytime I read one of their posts I can see the favoritism.

So, it is a hard lesson to learn but you have to take all posts with a grain of salt. Use your own good judgement when reading posts.

You are correct that there are CCers who attack anyone who posts negatively about their favorite line. However, I have not witnessed the Royal Champions doing it. I think some have mistakenly connected the RCs to those who flame critics. I've read a lot of posts and in my experience the RCs have been quite honest and actually very critical of Royal Caribbean.

I think you always have to read everything, whether on the net or in print, with a suspicious eye and decide for yourself if it is credible.

FinelyCruising
March 15th, 2009, 09:28 PM
Walt at 8:36 pm....For heavens sake yes Walt....ad hominininininum.... This is just silly IMHO. Or this this just the precursor to shut this thread down...:cool:

TomBeckCruise
March 15th, 2009, 09:35 PM
HUH??? That just made my head hurt! How about a rule againt rules being in latin? :eek:

It appears CC has consulted Attys!!!:p

Host Kewlguy
March 15th, 2009, 11:58 PM
You are correct that there are CCers who attack anyone who posts negatively about their favorite line. However, I have not witnessed the Royal Champions doing it. I think some have mistakenly connected the RCs to those who flame critics. I've read a lot of posts and in my experience the RCs have been quite honest and actually very critical of Royal Caribbean.

I think you always have to read everything, whether on the net or in print, with a suspicious eye and decide for yourself if it is credible.

I was actually surprised when I was chosen to be a Royal Champion back in 2007 since I had been very critical of certain aspects of the cruise line. I always just stated my honest opinion, for better or worse. I was told I was picked because the information I provided was helpful to others so I was always proud of the fact that I was chosen to be a part of such a small group of well respected CC members. I feel this entire matter is being blown way out of proportion. I'll continue to post my honest opinions of all the cruise lines as well as the cruise industry in general. If others choose to question what I write, I could care less. :)

Sky Sweet
March 16th, 2009, 12:08 AM
...... As the comedian on the tv says you just can't fix stupid.

Hi chief joe :)

Your comment reminds me of the title of one of Judge Judy's books:

"Beauty Fades, Dumb is Forever"....LOL :)

aqhacruiser
March 16th, 2009, 01:37 AM
I was actually surprised when I was chosen to be a Royal Champion back in 2007 since I had been very critical of certain aspects of the cruise line. I always just stated my honest opinion, for better or worse. I was told I was picked because the information I provided was helpful to others so I was always proud of the fact that I was chosen to be a part of such a small group of well respected CC members. I feel this entire matter is being blown way out of proportion. I'll continue to post my honest opinions of all the cruise lines as well as the cruise industry in general. If others choose to question what I write, I could care less. :)

I was surprised also to be selected in Sept. 2008 in the second group of Royal Champions. I was already Diamond Plus so it was obvious I enjoyed RCCL as I do sail it frequently but I am far from a cheerleader always posting exactly what I think long before the RC program was started. The details of the program I received by email from RCCL are crystal clear. We will be give the opportunity/invitation to RCCL events, we will have to pay all our own expenses associated with any events so the only thing RCCL is giving me is the invite itself to an event. It is up to me if I choose to pay to experience the event and to give my opinion:)

I have displayed the RC in my sig since I was selected in Sept. 2008, I do not know any RC that attempted to hide the fact they are RC's and the various articles that are floating around about the RC program have been very misleading and unfair to the RC's and I agree with you, it has been blown way out of proportion!

For those of you that have questions about the RC program this is from RCCL detailing the program
Here is a brief summary about the Royal Champions program.

Royal Champions are a small group of passionate travel enthusiasts and prolific individuals, who were identified by an independent third party on behalf of Royal Caribbean International, as frequently engaging in online discussions and sharing information about cruising on the internet. With the proliferation of online social networks, blogs and discussion boards on the internet – many of which serve as forums where vacationers visit consistently in search for travel information and advice – Royal Caribbean decided to engage these enthusiasts knowing that they would be a valuable source of information for our current and prospective customers. Thus in early 2007, in keeping with our legacy of innovation, we initiated a program in which the Royal Champions were invited to learn more about our brand, our ships and our amenities.

We have provided the Royal Champions with the opportunity to experience our product during inaugural sailings so that they can provide their opinions and informed reviews in the online spaces they are participating in. On a few occasions, they also have served as focus groups providing us with valuable feedback on a number of topics. Royal Champions have been invited - along with traditional media, top travel partners, and loyal Crown & Anchor Society members - to preview new ships and programs and share their opinions if, when and how they see fit. They are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses, which are not paid by Royal Caribbean. Royal Champions do not receive any compensation for their participation nor do we influence what they share or how they participate in their online discussions.

We are gratified by the enthusiasm these Royal Champions have for cruising and our goal is to continue to incorporate their insights to continually improve the Royal Caribbean vacation experience for all of our guests.

Brad1185
March 16th, 2009, 03:44 AM
Any post I see from an RCer will forever be tainted in my mind. When i read these posts now and scroll down and see the signature with an "RC" I immediately think what they are saying is not real that it's from the cruise line.

I know this is not always going to be true but in the back of my mind I'm going to pause

FinelyCruising
March 16th, 2009, 07:25 AM
I
[SIZE=2]Here is a brief summary about the Royal Champions program.

Royal Champions are a small group of passionate travel enthusiasts and prolific individuals, who were identified by an independent third party on behalf of Royal Caribbean International, as frequently engaging in online discussions and sharing information about cruising on the internet. With the proliferation of online social networks, blogs and discussion boards on the internet – many of which serve as forums where vacationers visit consistently in search for travel information and advice – Royal Caribbean decided to engage these enthusiasts knowing that they would be a valuable source of information for our current and prospective customers. Thus in early 2007, in keeping with our legacy of innovation, we initiated a program in which the Royal Champions were invited to learn more about our brand, our ships and our amenities.

We have provided the Royal Champions with the opportunity to experience our product during inaugural sailings so that they can provide their opinions and informed reviews in the online spaces they are participating in. On a few occasions, they also have served as focus groups providing us with valuable feedback on a number of topics. Royal Champions have been invited - along with traditional media, top travel partners, and loyal Crown & Anchor Society members - to preview new ships and programs and share their opinions if, when and how they see fit. They are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses, which are not paid by Royal Caribbean. Royal Champions do not receive any compensation for their participation nor do we influence what they share or how they participate in their online discussions.

We are gratified by the enthusiasm these Royal Champions have for cruising and our goal is to continue to incorporate their insights to continually improve the Royal Caribbean vacation experience for all of our guests.


Suzanne Thank You for posting this here. I can only suggest the journalists that have published recent articles highlighted on the Royal board seem to want to smear the intent that seems from this to be honorable and to uglify it further by linking the marketing firms comments.

Everyone was thrown under the bus. No one was left out.

woodofpine
March 16th, 2009, 08:12 AM
Suzanne Thank You for posting this here. I can only suggest the journalists that have published recent articles highlighted on the Royal board seem to want to smear the intent that seems from this to be honorable and to uglify it further by linking the marketing firms comments.

Everyone was thrown under the bus. No one was left out.

The only problem is that RCI's published communications to RCs is not 100% true and correct as to the objectives and intent of the Royal Champion program. The damning statements come from RCI's marketing managers (who undoubtedly didn't anticipate public distribution); the reporting accuracy of those statements haven't been contested by RCI. The 'smear' comes from the contents of those statements - not the reporting of them (that's like blaming the weatherman for the rain, or a thermometer for the fever). The reaction to them was totally foreseeable.

It is the intentional subterfuge of viral marketing that places decent people 'under the bus'; that originates solely with the cruiseline.

Coolcruise02
March 16th, 2009, 08:20 AM
Any post I see from an RCer will forever be tainted in my mind. When i read these posts now and scroll down and see the signature with an "RC" I immediately think what they are saying is not real that it's from the cruise line.

I know this is not always going to be true but in the back of my mind I'm going to pause

I agree! Sorry to say, but can't help it.

sandravb79
March 16th, 2009, 10:47 AM
I have read the first 7 pages of this thread, and now I have a headache.
Why are you people making it so complicated? Jeezes, it's about cruising here, not some topic that can cause a worldwide disaster or so.
I thought cruising was meant to be relaxing, and yet I see a few posters on this thread again and again always saying the same thing.
Relax, go to another thread, go on a cruise, whatever!

I am sincerely amazed that adults can get so worked up about something as trivial as this.
If you don't like one poster's opinion, don't read it. Go read another opinion, or even better, go form your own.

Sky Sweet
March 16th, 2009, 11:01 AM
The underlined words are what surprised me the most in the quote below. Royal Caribbean appears to think that they have an influence on the Royal Champions that the Royal Champions aren't aware of.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

"The key to success in viral marketing is to subtly influence the influencers without them overtly realizing they are being influenced," Royal Caribbean's manager for loyalty marketing, Rachel Hannock, told the audience."

woodofpine
March 16th, 2009, 11:40 AM
The underlined words are what surprised me the most in the quote below. Royal Caribbean appears to think that they have an influence on the Royal Champions that the Royal Champions aren't aware of.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

"The key to success in viral marketing is to subtly influence the influencers without them overtly realizing they are being influenced," Royal Caribbean's manager for loyalty marketing, Rachel Hannock, told the audience."


That's the dishonest and shabby aspect of it. The RCs are in the dark as to the true intent of the program. It's primary purpose isn't to solicite their INPUT, it's to cultivate their OUTPUT.

It would be interesting to be privy to the industrial psychology materials they used in selecting RCs and crafting the program.

The moles may be right; maybe it's time to move on. I'm sure that's what they want in Miami...

FinelyCruising
March 16th, 2009, 12:01 PM
The only problem is that RCI's published communications to RCs is not 100% true and correct as to the objectives and intent of the Royal Champion program. The damning statements come from RCI's marketing managers (who undoubtedly didn't anticipate public distribution); the reporting accuracy of those statements haven't been contested by RCI. The 'smear' comes from the contents of those statements - not the reporting of them (that's like blaming the weatherman for the rain, or a thermometer for the fever). The reaction to them was totally foreseeable.

It is the intentional subterfuge of viral marketing that places decent people 'under the bus'; that originates solely with the cruiseline.

Yup.

FinelyCruising
March 16th, 2009, 12:04 PM
I have read the first 7 pages of this thread, and now I have a headache.
Why are you people making it so complicated? Jeezes, it's about cruising here, not some topic that can cause a worldwide disaster or so.
I thought cruising was meant to be relaxing, and yet I see a few posters on this thread again and again always saying the same thing.
Relax, go to another thread, go on a cruise, whatever!

I am sincerely amazed that adults can get so worked up about something as trivial as this.
If you don't like one poster's opinion, don't read it. Go read another opinion, or even better, go form your own.

If there is a thread you prefer not to read, then please move on to those that are more enjoyable for you. I believe those are the recommendations of the hosts of cruise critic when there are topics that you do not find to your liking.

usha
March 16th, 2009, 12:23 PM
The underlined words are what surprised me the most in the quote below. Royal Caribbean appears to think that they have an influence on the Royal Champions that the Royal Champions aren't aware of.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

"The key to success in viral marketing is to subtly influence the influencers without them overtly realizing they are being influenced," Royal Caribbean's manager for loyalty marketing, Rachel Hannock, told the audience."
Yeah, this really sounds as though Royal Caribbean's intent was to use the Royal Champions as some sort of lab rats. :eek:

Sky Sweet
March 16th, 2009, 04:46 PM
That's the dishonest and shabby aspect of it. The RCs are in the dark as to the true intent of the program. It's primary purpose isn't to solicite their INPUT, it's to cultivate their OUTPUT.

It would be interesting to be privy to the industrial psychology materials they used in selecting RCs and crafting the program.

The moles may be right; maybe it's time to move on. I'm sure that's what they want in Miami...

Hi woodofpine :)

I had the exact same reaction when I read that quote.

Sky Sweet
March 16th, 2009, 05:23 PM
I have read the first 7 pages of this thread, and now I have a headache.
Why are you people making it so complicated? Jeezes, it's about cruising here, not some topic that can cause a worldwide disaster or so.
I thought cruising was meant to be relaxing, and yet I see a few posters on this thread again and again always saying the same thing.
Relax, go to another thread, go on a cruise, whatever!

I am sincerely amazed that adults can get so worked up about something as trivial as this.
If you don't like one poster's opinion, don't read it. Go read another opinion, or even better, go form your own.

I agree with you that the recent discovery that cruise critic is not free of undue influences is trivial compared to serious problems.

On the other hand, many people had previously thought that cruise critic was a place where people shared information about their experiences at sea and every word could be accepted at face value. That is why this situation is of interest to so many people.

Sky Sweet
March 17th, 2009, 10:24 AM
Yeah, this really sounds as though Royal Caribbean's intent was to use the Royal Champions as some sort of lab rats. :eek:


Hi usha - I agree with you :)

Your St Patrick's Day dog is adorable - Happy St Patrick's Day!

cruzendude
March 17th, 2009, 12:39 PM
I agree with you that the recent discovery that cruise critic is not free of undue influences is trivial compared to serious problems.

On the other hand, many people had previously thought that cruise critic was a place where people shared information about their experiences at sea and every word could be accepted at face value. That is why this situation is of interest to so many people.

Come on now, you have been on CC long enough to see the THOUSANDS of people who dig into reviews claiming things posted are lies, misunderstandings and the like. I don't think anyone but a newbie would think this board isn't tainted with cheerleaders, shills and others though the vast majority of reviews are good intentioned opinions from well traveled and knowledgeable cruisers but they are always just that, opinions tainted with peoples own personal biases, just as ANY review of anything is.

I agree with you that this entire matter is trivial, I have posted a dozen times on the RCCL board thread trying to reason with the conspiracy theorists but thie own personal agenda's against RCCL won't let all of this drama die down....

I also am a little depressed that nobody seems to want to be Vice President of my Celebrity Champions club! :( :eek: :D I am still seeking board members and regular members to join me as brain washed shills for X!!!! :p

FinelyCruising
March 17th, 2009, 01:11 PM
I suppose some do jest and consider this trivial. FWIW, I happen to think once someones integrity and reputation is impuned, as has certainly occured, that's a pretty serious event. :p

cruzendude
March 17th, 2009, 02:44 PM
Just how many are there, would you say? Do you have inside information, or are you just guessing?

There is no inside info, just a fact......MANY have identified themselves from time to time and obviously there are just as many , probably more that would never identify themselves as TA's......I have no clue as to actual numbers but in relation to the most active posters on any given board I would think a conservative "guess" would be 15%....just my own observations on this board over the last 5 years....

cruzendude
March 17th, 2009, 02:55 PM
I am certain that I don't know you, so you are definitely suspect to me on what your agenda might be with this discussion. I do know who I have sailed with and who I plan to sail with, so there is definitely an aspect of in fact knowing someone. To your question; Absurd? No. Not in the least.

I agree, there are many people here I personally know...I think I referred to that in my original post....I was referring to the 99% of people on here you don't know....BUT...if you were referring to the peoples reputation that you actually know being tarnished because of this board then you have even more issues than I originaly thought! :eek:

I have no agenda here, though you can't verify that...as I said, only those that actually know me can atest to that....but by the postings of MANY here and on the RC thread a lot of people showed their agenda's loud and clear!

Maybe I misspoke.....as I have thought about it maybe my agenda is to rebuke the half-truths, outright lies and the absurdness of this entire mess! YES...thats it..my agenda is now out in the open! :D

Again for my buddies Coxswains benefit....transparency..I have NEVER sailed RCCL, I prefer X but don't sail it exclusively, I have sailed HAL, Princess and NCL and an ungodly amount of miles and years for Uncle Sam! ;)

Denny01
March 17th, 2009, 04:52 PM
I’m sitting here in another mindless 2hr+ teleconference so I jumped over to cc for a quick fix. I’d followed this thread a bit, but never really cared about the subject much. Marveled at the edge the posts are taking as time goes by. After reading through numerous posts by the same people, I decided to count the number of posts by poster. There are over 70 posts by 4 people who seem very bothered by the Champions program. Wow. You’d think they’d got their point across in a few less posts. One has posted 25 times.
From my personal view, I haven’t seen a certain group attacking and ‘flaming’ negative posts. What I’ve experienced is some people are just bad-mannered, and their posts reflect such. Maybe it’s too close to ‘happy hour’. Personally, I don’t really care about dining critiques since that is so subjective; I’m not that interested in worn carpets. I do care about noisy room locations and what to do in various ports, and what neat drinks not to miss. And I love the lists of things to do and the polls - neat. This is an entertaining website, so maybe we should keep that in mind.
Many have been on the receiving end of cheap-shots and putdowns. I don’t post as much as I did at first. I use to have fun on this Board until getting harpooned – my own fault. I just watch what I say and what thread I join. And this post is probably a mistake also. But, I believe there was one shooter at Dallas, there are no aliens abducting people, and the ‘Champions’ aren’t a cabal out to flame anyone who doesn’t love RCI/Celebrity. I could be wrong about Bigfoot being a hoax.
Denny

FinelyCruising
March 17th, 2009, 05:15 PM
Mindless is right. If its me that has the count of 25...I just I just upped it to 26 with this question. :D Good that you don't concern yourself with this, many don't and want to not think about what is going on in corners of life but that does not change the existence of the good the bad and the ugly.

I think so much more is being known and found out about a business practice that we had no idea existed. The poster who started this thread here had a good question. Does X have the same practice as RCCL? When this thread started no one knew that answer and discussions evolved and judgements were made as facts came to light. And as the facts came to light some of those judgements changed and were adjusted based on the new information.

Today, after time has passed and information has been disseminated and executives have determined they ought to address this topic, it is reported that Celebrity, although a part of RCI, does not participate in the way that RCCL did, nor do several other lines. That's good information for those who now want to be aware of viral marketing tactics and are concerned about what operates in the background or on the periphery.

And at the end of this day and the past few days many have had the opportunity to learn about something they knew nothing about until know.

Knowledge is power and I happen to feel fortunate to have been able to learned what I have on this topic after spending so many years on these boards and enjoying cruising as I do. This has added a new layer of dimension to the cruise industry and internet message boards. If this stuff ever shows up on World News, then I will have learned it here first.

Sky Sweet
March 17th, 2009, 05:28 PM
To answer the original question on this thread - since Celebrity and Royal Caribbean are both owned by Royal Caribbean, I think it is a moot point.

While Carnival owns many different cruise lines, they all function independently from each other. For example, if I call Holland America to make a reservation or ask a question, I get Holland America.

On the other hand when I call Celebrity, I often get someone from Royal Caribbean who will either make my reservation for a Celebrity Cruise or resolve an issue pertaining to one for me.

Huddler
March 17th, 2009, 07:14 PM
With the growing influence of the internet, I would be surprised if more and more companies in a myriad of different industries didnt employ "cheerleaders" to boost the reputation and exposure of their products/services. Its a brilliant strategy really. For example, people come to CC to plan a cruise. They seek information and the 'cheerleaders" of the various companies give the postive spin for their particular line. They are like paid sales reps who are bringing in business. I dont see anything nefarious or dishonorable about it as long as they arent providing false information. And going forward I believe this tactic will become more and more pervasive across the internet. Just my 2 cents.

Admin
March 18th, 2009, 01:16 PM
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