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  #1  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:12 AM
twentyknots twentyknots is offline
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Default How much are you influenced by reviews?

My wife and I and our son and his family are planning to book the Dream for next August, but after reading some recent reviews I am reluctant to book it. Many of the recent reviews are terrible and have made me have second thoughts. I realize these reviews can vary among passengers on the same cruise and it is not uncommon to have one review very negative and another very positive for the same week. It could be that the change in their itinerary caused by hurricane Ernesto affected some more than others. What is disturbing is that many of the negative comments were about food, over crowded pools, lack of enforcement of rules in the dining room and serenity area, and mediocre service. These negative comments cannot be attributed to weather. Do you take these reviews seriously or ignore them?
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  #2  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:19 AM
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I ignore them. I'm a big boy and can make my own mind up.
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  #3  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:21 AM
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DW and I look at the reviews as what they are, reviews. Now if a ship gets nothing but consistently bad reviews for the same thing, i.e.; food, rude staff, ship cleanliness, etc, then something must be up. Also remember that many items are very subjective and hard to gauge whether it could impact you.

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  #4  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:26 AM
cbMcruiser cbMcruiser is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twentyknots View Post
My wife and I and our son and his family are planning to book the Dream for next August, but after reading some recent reviews I am reluctant to book it. Many of the recent reviews are terrible and have made me have second thoughts. I realize these reviews can vary among passengers on the same cruise and it is not uncommon to have one review very negative and another very positive for the same week. It could be that the change in their itinerary caused by hurricane Ernesto affected some more than others. What is disturbing is that many of the negative comments were about food, over crowded pools, lack of enforcement of rules in the dining room and serenity area, and mediocre service. These negative comments cannot be attributed to weather. Do you take these reviews seriously or ignore them?
Every ship that Carol & I have cruised on has had negative reviews written about it. We cruise itinerary for the most part. We like ships that have no more than 3000 passengers and it is that reason why we probably would never cruise on the Dream. We have always found food to eat and enjoy, we don't use the pools, we are in our 60's and don't spend a lot of time in the sun. We don't care what anyone wears, or doesn't wear to the MDR. We have been blessed with great servers in the MDR for the times we have eaten there. We have always had a decent cabin crew. We are looking for another cruise out of Tampa for January 2013, hopefully on the Legend. Our last cruise, also on the Legend, was two hours late getting back because a thruster broke. We got no sleep the last night because of noise. However, it was a great cruise!
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  #5  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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I value the reviews I read but, I use them to learn from. As you know no two people are exactly alike thus there tastes and preferences will be different. One thing that you have to think about is "expectation". Someone that has never been on a cruise before will not have the same expectation as someone who has sailed many times. People will generally tell someone what they don't like quicker than telling you what they do like ( I guess that's the way our society is now days sadly). I have always told people that "I have never been on a bad one" when they ask how our cruise was. Because it beats being at work and dealing with the everyday life that seems to bog you down. So go..... relax..... and enjoy your vacation.
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  #6  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twentyknots View Post
My wife and I and our son and his family are planning to book the Dream for next August, but after reading some recent reviews I am reluctant to book it. Many of the recent reviews are terrible and have made me have second thoughts. I realize these reviews can vary among passengers on the same cruise and it is not uncommon to have one review very negative and another very positive for the same week. It could be that the change in their itinerary caused by hurricane Ernesto affected some more than others. What is disturbing is that many of the negative comments were about food, over crowded pools, lack of enforcement of rules in the dining room and serenity area, and mediocre service. These negative comments cannot be attributed to weather. Do you take these reviews seriously or ignore them?
The reviews are - just that "Reviews". Keep an open mind and enjoy your family cruise together.
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  #7  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twentyknots View Post
My wife and I and our son and his family are planning to book the Dream for next August, but after reading some recent reviews I am reluctant to book it. Many of the recent reviews are terrible and have made me have second thoughts. I realize these reviews can vary among passengers on the same cruise and it is not uncommon to have one review very negative and another very positive for the same week. It could be that the change in their itinerary caused by hurricane Ernesto affected some more than others. What is disturbing is that many of the negative comments were about food, over crowded pools, lack of enforcement of rules in the dining room and serenity area, and mediocre service. These negative comments cannot be attributed to weather. Do you take these reviews seriously or ignore them?
I have spent much of my career dealing with service questionaires and complaints (director of emergency departments for years -- ugh)
Anyway, people who are UNhappy are far, far more likely to write a review, or complete a survey, than those who are happy.

I read the reviews, maybe pay attention if there is a continuing trend, but generally take them with a grain of salt. I book based on dates, itinerary, price, and the size ship I want -- and then I make up my own mind.
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2011 Carnival Inspiration (Tampa): Cozumel
2012 Carnival Freedom (FLL): St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau
2013 Carnival Legend (Tampa): Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Grand Cayman





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  #8  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:30 AM
helen haywood helen haywood is offline
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If your question was just related to how influenced am I by negative reviews, I would have said I seldom am. For whatever reason people are more likely to post reviews when something went wrong....instead of the thousands of people who sailed and had a wonderful time and just didn't take the time to post. And I have never had a bad time on a cruise ever, period.

That being said, we sailed on Dream last September, after the kids were back in school, and I would not sail her again. I feel the design of the ship was just made to add more cabins and the public spaces were not enlarged as well. The Buffett was crowded whenever we went. All the public areas were crowded....and by that I mean not just standing in line but constantly having people jostle you as there was not enough personal space. I also was surprised by the condition of the carpet in the hallways.....more soiled than older Carnival ships I've sailed on. I guess the larger volume of people does contribute to that.

I'm sure you would have a fantastic cruise on Dream. But IMHO I would choose another ship. I'm about to sail Legend for the 4th time!
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  #9  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:34 AM
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I normally don't read reviews until after I've booked. At that point, I take them for what they're worth - primarily only reading so that I know what to expect. I know that once I get onboard, odds are that I don't experience any of the negative things reviewers warn you about!

I've never met a cruise or ship I didn't like!
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  #10  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:34 AM
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I totally ignore them as far as picking a cruise. Come on.. most Carnival cruises are cookie cutter sameness .. .. seems silly to me to think one ship is that much different in terms of food and service or that decorating means that much.

I read someone else's opinion on Magic yesterday telling a poster that the newness should be ignored, that he didnt really think Magic was that great. I loved Magic and think it is gorgeous and much more beautiful than the prior ships decorating.

People can be 180 degrees opposite on the same ship.. even on the same cruise.

I think you are putting too much into reviews.. and at most should throw out the highs and lows and keep the middle ones (such as any beginning course in stats will explain to you how to do).

I sometimes what to yell at people who post .. please help me pick out a cruise.. and think. This is something no one should do for you. No one knows your personal budget and so many factors.. who would leave such a decision to a message board of faceless people?
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  #11  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helen haywood View Post
If your question was just related to how influenced am I by negative reviews, I would have said I seldom am. For whatever reason people are more likely to post reviews when something went wrong....instead of the thousands of people who sailed and had a wonderful time and just didn't take the time to post. And I have never had a bad time on a cruise ever, period.

That being said, we sailed on Dream last September, after the kids were back in school, and I would not sail her again. I feel the design of the ship was just made to add more cabins and the public spaces were not enlarged as well. The Buffett was crowded whenever we went. All the public areas were crowded....and by that I mean not just standing in line but constantly having people jostle you as there was not enough personal space. I also was surprised by the condition of the carpet in the hallways.....more soiled than older Carnival ships I've sailed on. I guess the larger volume of people does contribute to that.

I'm sure you would have a fantastic cruise on Dream. But IMHO I would choose another ship. I'm about to sail Legend for the 4th time!
We like the smaller ships because, to us, they just don't feel as crowded.
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2007 Carnival Glory (Port Canaveral): St. Thomas, Nassau, Grand Turk, HMC
2011 Carnival Inspiration (Tampa): Cozumel
2012 Carnival Freedom (FLL): St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Nassau
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  #12  
Old August 30th, 2012, 10:41 AM
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We take them with a big grain of salt.

Very often we come from a cruise get to know a bunch of people and than read the reviews.

People whom we have spent a bunch of time with aand seemed to have a great time have been known to write reviews telling how they hated everything.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Lovefuninthesun View Post
We like the smaller ships because, to us, they just don't feel as crowded.
I wonder why
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Old August 30th, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helen haywood View Post
If your question was just related to how influenced am I by negative reviews, I would have said I seldom am. For whatever reason people are more likely to post reviews when something went wrong....instead of the thousands of people who sailed and had a wonderful time and just didn't take the time to post. And I have never had a bad time on a cruise ever, period.

That being said, we sailed on Dream last September, after the kids were back in school, and I would not sail her again. I feel the design of the ship was just made to add more cabins and the public spaces were not enlarged as well. The Buffett was crowded whenever we went. All the public areas were crowded....and by that I mean not just standing in line but constantly having people jostle you as there was not enough personal space. I also was surprised by the condition of the carpet in the hallways.....more soiled than older Carnival ships I've sailed on. I guess the larger volume of people does contribute to that.

I'm sure you would have a fantastic cruise on Dream. But IMHO I would choose another ship. I'm about to sail Legend for the 4th time!

I agree with Helen 100%. We personally don't like crowds. Having read reviews about the Dream before we sailed, everybody said it was so great. By the second night, we were tired of having to dodge 30 people just to get through a hallway. The same with steakhouses. 95% of the postings say how great they are. We didn't like it at all.

My advice, if the reviews pertain to something that you enjoy, pay closer attention to them. If you don't gamble and people say the casino is smoky, I wouldn't worry about it. If they say the buffet meals are horrible and you always eat in the MDR, I wouldn't worry about it. If they say a ship is overcrowded and you don't like crowds, I'd take their advice.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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We're in the same boat () as you are-we're going on the Dream next year and while I read the reviews, I don't take them to heart. Pretty much anything about food (good and bad) mean nothing to me. This will always be subjective and I don't go into it expecting gourmet. In fact, I don't particularly enjoy gourmet food-I'm having PB&J for lunch again today Having said that, we have cruised on the Magic, so we somewhat know what to expect as far as the ship goes. I will agree with a lot of the reviews that it will be crowded at times. That's probably my main complaint with Carnival in general since they don't really add much public space on their larger ships, just more cabins. I will whole-heartedly disagree that ALL larger ships are more crowded....that just isn't true in our experience. Yes, the Magic was WAY more crowded then our Oasis cruise simply because the passenger to space ratio is much better on the Oasis. Obviously it doesn't bother me enough considering we're going on the same class again!

Everybody's priorities, budgets, expectations, etc. vary for vacations. My main criterea is a larger ship w/ more activities, good music, and good company. This time we're going with our entire immediate family, so I KNOW we will have a good time. We would have fun sitting in my backyard...although I would much prefer a ship! Read the reviews simply for information. They do have some good tips in there if you get past all nit picking. I don't know if I've just gotten really lucky or what, but even our "worst" cruise was still a blast! You won't go hungry, you won't miss anything just because you stood in a line for awhile, and for heavens sake if somebody wears shorts to the MDR you WILL still be able to have a very enjoyable time
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Old August 30th, 2012, 10:54 AM
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I read them to just get general info and tips about the ship or ports of call. You can usually tell pretty quickly with most reviews if the reviewer is being fair and balanced or just bent on hurting the line, venting (usually because it is their own fault), etc. However, if I do see a consistent issue on the same ship, I adjust my expectations but I would never avoid booking a ship if the itinerary and price was right. As was stated previously by other posters, two people could be on the same ship and sailing date where one says it was their best cruise ever, the other says it was horrible and that they would never sail that cruise line or ship again. I’ve seen people let the tiniest thing ruin their day, sometimes their entire vacation. That is such a waste of a perfectly good, affordable and fun vacation IMO. Only you know your tolerance level for whatever issues you are reading about the Dream but I wouldn’t think twice about booking it.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 11:05 AM
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It's true, as others have already pointed out, that UNsatisfied customers are much more likely to post a review. It's always the unhappy customer who yells the loudest. So if you see a lot of negative reviews, don't assume that the ship is a lost cause.

Reviews certainly can help if you want a general feel for the ship, but only you can decide what is best for your family.

For someone who really doesn't even know how to begin to choose a cruise, just do what we did. We went on a short, inexpensive cruise from the port nearest our hometown. This was enough to give us a general taste for cruising and start to figure out what we liked and didn't like. From there, we could start to understand better what we wanted in a cruise.

As for reviews, I like ones with lots of pictures. That way I can see it for myself. If the reviewer has some complaints, I read them but also realize that it could have been just due to one staff member having an off day. Just because one cruiser had a bad experience doesn't mean it will be the same for me.

If I'm on vacation in some wonderful locale, it automatically is a good day!
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  #18  
Old August 30th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twentyknots View Post
My wife and I and our son and his family are planning to book the Dream for next August, but after reading some recent reviews I am reluctant to book it. Many of the recent reviews are terrible and have made me have second thoughts. I realize these reviews can vary among passengers on the same cruise and it is not uncommon to have one review very negative and another very positive for the same week. It could be that the change in their itinerary caused by hurricane Ernesto affected some more than others. What is disturbing is that many of the negative comments were about food, over crowded pools, lack of enforcement of rules in the dining room and serenity area, and mediocre service. These negative comments cannot be attributed to weather. Do you take these reviews seriously or ignore them?
We sailed the Dream on NYE this year and had a great time. I too was worried about the bad reviews, but most of the complaints are subjective..food, service..I guess some have higher expectations than others.

The ship was full and at times crowded, but no different than another ship at this time of year. You are planning in August when alot of families cruise. Most ships will be "crowded" at various times at this time of year. We eat at off times so the buffett, grills etc. aren't so busy. If you go to a restaurant at prime time, you have to wait, this is no different.

Really who cares if the carpet in the hallway is stained a little. Who do you think did it? Does it matter if someone wears shorts to dinner in the dining room? Is it going to ruin your vacation? I don't care if people remember my name that wait on me. As long as they are polite and provide good service, I don't care. I can't remember their names usually, but I always smile and say hello.

I would book whatever ship appeals to you. Just remember that most of the complaints are usually of a personal nature..food, service, entertainment etc.

We are booked on the Dream again for February 2013, so go and have a great time.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 11:33 AM
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I read reviews to get a general idea of what to expect, not to read other's complaints. I generally don't pay much attention to complaints about food or crew members. Whether or not you like the food depends on your own personal tastes and preferences, and whether or not you get a good waiter is just luck of the draw. Some are better than others. All the waiters I've had have been awesome!! And with as much turnover as they have, the odds of getting the same waiter that someone complained about on your cruise is astronomically low.

I always keep in mind that people who don't have the best time are the ones most likely to write reviews. So a lot of bad reviews doesn't mean that most passengers left dissatisfied.

I'm a firm believer that life is what you make it. Go into a cruise with a positive attitude and realistic expectations, and you'll have a good time.
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Old August 30th, 2012, 12:00 PM
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I enjoy reading the reviews of ships I'm going on or have been on. I take them as what they are, the reviewers point of view.
I neither ignore them, nor take them seriously. The only opinions that matter are mine and DH's.
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