How to Improve Cruise Critic Coverage of River Cruises: A Discussion

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#1
1,116 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Considering the growing interest in river cruising (political upheaval and river flooding notwithstanding) is there anything that CC consumers can do to improve coverage/support for river cruises?

Seems that content forums not always separated from Roll Calls, and the majority of Roll Calls (when population is under 200) are often failures, compared to cruise ships (populations usually 1,000 to 2,500) where the majority of roll calls are active and helpful?

Maybe Roll Calls should start with ship/itinerary across a year's dates? That is, just start with locating anyone who will have (or has had) the same itinerary/ship? Perhaps CC can monitor forums/roll calls to sort them out? Maybe Cruise Critic can manage river cruise coverage to be more readily identified in a general Google search? I am going to make a couple of more general forum postings this week to determine if we have an active participant community that could be better served with some format adjustments. What do you think?
DJ
#2
Riverview, FL
2,237 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
I would certainly like to see something like that. We will be on an Avalon cruise next summer and I am finding it quite difficult to find any information on the cruise or the itinerary!

I will say that the ship (the Artistry II) is a new ship (can I call it a boat since it's smaller than an ocean liner??) so that might impede my searches, but I'm also finding it a bit sketchy to find reviews as well!!

I know I'm of no help since I haven't been on my river cruise yet, but I will help any way I can!!
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#3
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
DJ ~ hurray for you!! The River Cruise pages are as hard to navagate as I'm sure some actual rivers are!!!! Last year I hardly posted anything and rarely read the headings - could find very, very little helpful and I was a complete newbie to River Cruising!!!

At least this year there are some "general" heading like "Christmas Markets 2013" - also a 2014 - or "Viking Rhine River" so that we can talk and learn from others who'll be on similar trips even if they're not on our ship. There is just SO much to learn from others who have taken same/similar trips!!!

I do agree with you about specific roll calls - just not enough over-all passengers to usually generate much of a response for each sailing. But a better overall organization would help!
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Peg
Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
Viking Neptune 10-21-12 Rhone River
Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
Celebrity Constellation 7-3-2010 Baltic
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 2-14-2010 Caribbean
Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda
#4
Auckland New Zealand
193 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
CaroleSS
We sailed on Artistry II Basel to Amsterdam, July 2013, our first river cruise, it was everything we expected plus more, could not fault Avalon or the ship in anyway, loved it so much we are booked to do Prague to Budapest with Avalon in July 2014.
What pieces of info are you wanting, we also found it hard to get info without spending many many hours reading CC
#5
New York
8,407 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
That sounds like a good idea for the River Cruise Roll Calls.

The other thing CC should do is fold "River Cruise Ports-Europe" into this main area. There are very few postings there, and most of them belong here anyway.
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I am not an employee of Cruise Critic and I don't speak for Cruise Critic. All opinions are mine alone. Also, I'm only a Host on the various River forums -- everywhere else I'm "just plain Jazz."

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#6
1,855 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
We enjoy both ocean and river cruises.

When we try to research an itinerary and the companies that cruise that itinerary we find it hard to find information on comparing cruise line "A" to cruise line "B".

So anything that could help in comparing cruise line "A" to cruise line "B" type of comparisons for both river and ocean cruise lines would be greatly appreciated.
#7
Long Island, NY
6,537 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by jazzbeau
That sounds like a good idea for the River Cruise Roll Calls.

The other thing CC should do is fold "River Cruise Ports-Europe" into this main area. There are very few postings there, and most of them belong here anyway.
That is the problem. On the ocean cruise boards, the moderators are very strict about where each post belongs. They move posts around if not on the proper board. Here, I have seen posts about specific itineraries or cities that should be on the European River port boards or on the Roll Call board on this "Main" board. Either do away with the Europe river board or move postings that belong specifically to that board over there. But with the popularity of China, Vietnam, and now Amazon cruises, where do people ask questions concerning those ports. Hopefully, other more exotic ports will open up too.

I did start a Paris/Normandy "all ships" roll call, and it worked very well. We were able to share information concerning the specific ship, and the area in general. It doesn't even have to be year specific, as long as the details of the itinerary doesn't change. Hints about various cities and markets are always welcomed.

I have found that if you use the Cruise Review section here on Cruise Critic, you can get a general feel about the experiences of past cruisers to compare various lines.
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Got2Cruise
Planning the cruise is half the fun.
#8
North Carolina
5,718 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Having a search feature that works would help. I searched for "2014" and "Christmas" using advance search, titles only (in various ways, for a couple weeks) - and STILL never pulled up the thread titled "All 2014 Christmas Market river cruises"

Thankfully someone bumped the thread....
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Azamara 10 night Thailand/Vietnam Nov 2016
Avalon Vista Christmas Market 12/2014
Pacific Princess 12 day Black Sea 9/4/11

HAL Westerdam 15 day Panama Canal 10/08
Pacific Princess Alaska 9/5/2007

HAL Maasdam Southern Caribbean 10/28/06
HAL Alaska 1986
#9
Vancouver Island, Canada
639 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by Hoyaheel
Having a search feature that works would help. I searched for "2014" and "Christmas" using advance search, titles only (in various ways, for a couple weeks) - and STILL never pulled up the thread titled "All 2014 Christmas Market river cruises"

Thankfully someone bumped the thread....
Maybe if you had put river cruise after 2014 Christmas you would have gotten the correct site. Try it anyway and see what happens.
#10
Brisbane, Australia
164 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Not sure if this is relevant but In 2010 I tried to post a review of the "Mekong Explorer" Heritage Line as there was nothing here - not sure if there are any reviews to date. CC rejected - not enough info re ports of call - not sure how you can describe a riverbank than "riverbank"; or dining options. Maybe the paremeters for river cruising have to be reset as they are different to ocean cruises. I have since been on 3 other Asian river cruises and would not even bother to try and do a review.
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Past cruises
2010 Mekong Explorer, Siem Reap - HCMC Cambodia Vietnam
2011 Orient Pandaw, Rajang River, Malaysian Borneo
2012 Victoria Anna, Yichang - Chongching, China
2013 Pandaw II, Irrawaddy River, Myanmar
2014 Crystal Serenity, Istanbul - Venice
2015 Ichobezi Houseboat - Chobe River, Namibia
2016 Azamara Quest - Norwegian Fjords
2016 Avalon Tranquility II - Christmas in Germany
2017 African Queen, Thames River, UK

Future Cruises

2017 Sun Princess, Australian Getaway, Brisbane - Sydney
2018 Angkor Pandaw, Halong Bay and Red River, Vietnam
2018 Song Xahn Sampan, Mekong River, Vietnam
#11
western New York State
312 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by In Retirement
Considering the growing interest in river cruising (political upheaval and river flooding notwithstanding) is there anything that CC consumers can do to improve coverage/support for river cruises?

Seems that content forums not always separated from Roll Calls, and the majority of Roll Calls (when population is under 200) are often failures, compared to cruise ships (populations usually 1,000 to 2,500) where the majority of roll calls are active and helpful?

Maybe Roll Calls should start with ship/itinerary across a year's dates? That is, just start with locating anyone who will have (or has had) the same itinerary/ship? Perhaps CC can monitor forums/roll calls to sort them out? Maybe Cruise Critic can manage river cruise coverage to be more readily identified in a general Google search? I am going to make a couple of more general forum postings this week to determine if we have an active participant community that could be better served with some format adjustments. What do you think?
DJ
We agree,,,perhaps the CC staff could begin dividing up the Main topics of River Cruises just like the Ocean Cruises...it is a bit difficult to find people with info that have done what you are about to. The Ocean Cruises are so wonderfully organized and with the new interest in River Cruises, perhaps they will set them up like Ocean Cruises. We can only ask. And perhaps, the River Cruise Posters could be a bit more careful to start a thread in the area provided instead of just posting a New topic. Combining these posts wont be an easy job for the CC Staff.
#13
North Carolina
5,718 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by travelfirst
Maybe if you had put river cruise after 2014 Christmas you would have gotten the correct site. Try it anyway and see what happens.
A proper keyword search on a message board should pull up EVERY thread with the word "Christmas" in the title if that is how you structure the search (that is what I did). What CC told me is that no such thread exist. In fact, there are MANY. I moderate a couple of message boards - I know how searches should work

(I'm not talking about a Google search- which often work better when an internal message board search feature is messed up. I am talking about the CC board search in the upper right corner, and using the Advance feature to search titles only)
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Azamara 10 night Thailand/Vietnam Nov 2016
Avalon Vista Christmas Market 12/2014
Pacific Princess 12 day Black Sea 9/4/11

HAL Westerdam 15 day Panama Canal 10/08
Pacific Princess Alaska 9/5/2007

HAL Maasdam Southern Caribbean 10/28/06
HAL Alaska 1986
#14
Conway, AR USA
1,816 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
[quote=FotoPeg;39945457]DJ ~ hurray for you!! The River Cruise pages are as hard to navagate as I'm sure some actual rivers are!!!! Last year I hardly posted anything and rarely read the headings - could find very, very little helpful and I was a complete newbie to River Cruising!!!

At least this year there are some "general" heading like "Christmas Markets 2013" - also a 2014 - or "Viking Rhine River" so that we can talk and learn from others who'll be on similar trips even if they're not on our ship. There is just SO much to learn from others who have taken same/similar trips!!!

I do agree with you about specific roll calls - just not enough over-all passengers to usually generate much of a response for each sailing. But a better overall organization would help![/QUOTE]

I second this! We have booked the Po in 2014 and the discussion that includes "all" Po River cruises has been extremely helpful. Specific dates just don't seem to work for river cruises. Thanks for bringing this conversation to the forefront.
Cole
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B. Cole
#15
Cleveland Hts., OH USA
1,680 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
We've been posting on a "Vantage all 2013-2014 cruises," which has been quite good for information about ships and itineraries.
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Pat
#16
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Cole ~ thanks for your comments!!!

Last year was our first RC and I began a specific thread fot it - no replies! Then I began to think - our RC ship held about 144 people. Our last ocean cruise (Celebrity Constellation) held 2000+ passengers and we were thrilled to have about 100 on our CC roll call - that was 5%! So, at the most, there should have been 7 people responding to my thread!!! Its impossible for individual sailings to have the amount of response as the larger ships.

I think its obvious that more "general" thread do spark interest from CC members and we all enjoy learning from and sharing with others!! So, regardless of how changes might be made, just keep the River Cruise forum alive!!!!
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Peg
Viking Forseti 10-4-2014 Bordeaux
Viking Rinda 12-7-2013 Christmas Markets
Viking Neptune 10-21-12 Rhone River
Celebrity Constellation 9-7-2011 Amsterdam-Istanbul
Celebrity Constellation 7-3-2010 Baltic
RCCL Voyager of the Seas 2-14-2010 Caribbean
Celebrity Summit 6-16-2008 Mediterranean
SS Rembrant 7-20-2000 St. Lawrence
M/V Atlantic 8-28-1988 Bermuda
#17
Virginia
1,511 Posts
Joined May 2011
I agree that individual sailings on the Roll Calls don't make much sense as there are so few passengers for each sailing. Last year there was a "Russia River Cruises 2012 All Lines" on the Roll Calls that covered all cruise lines traveling in Russia, all sailings. Let's face it, most of the cruise lines on a particular itinerary go to the same places, and folks have similar experiences and similar questions. Within that thread, to make it easier to find potential fellow travelers, someone kept a spreadsheet with the CC ids, ship, and travel dates, and posted this spreadsheet from time to time. A surprising number of fellow travelers found each other via this method. It worked so well that this year there's a similar single thread for all Russian cruises (2013), and I've noticed one for 2014. The only downside is that someone has to volunteer to keep and post the spreadsheet. This is where CC could help in my opinion, as keeping this "spreadsheet" is not easy as Excel or any other commercial spreadsheet does not easily "cut and paste" into a CC post. It would be great if CC could facilitate some kind of spreadsheet capability to make this easier.
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Prior Cruises:
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October 2013 - Imperial China and the Yangtze
April 2014 - Viking Chateaux & Wine and
Viking Southern France B2B
April 2015 - Viking Oceans Star 50-day Maiden
May 2016 - Viking Passage to Eastern Europe

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August 2017 - Ireland & Scotland
#18
Coastal NC
3,260 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by id4elizabeth
I agree that individual sailings on the Roll Calls don't make much sense as there are so few passengers for each sailing. Last year there was a "Russia River Cruises 2012 All Lines" on the Roll Calls that covered all cruise lines traveling in Russia, all sailings. Let's face it, most of the cruise lines on a particular itinerary go to the same places, and folks have similar experiences and similar questions. Within that thread, to make it easier to find potential fellow travelers, someone kept a spreadsheet with the CC ids, ship, and travel dates, and posted this spreadsheet from time to time. A surprising number of fellow travelers found each other via this method. It worked so well that this year there's a similar single thread for all Russian cruises (2013), and I've noticed one for 2014. The only downside is that someone has to volunteer to keep and post the spreadsheet. This is where CC could help in my opinion, as keeping this "spreadsheet" is not easy as Excel or any other commercial spreadsheet does not easily "cut and paste" into a CC post. It would be great if CC could facilitate some kind of spreadsheet capability to make this easier.
I have been the one maintaining the Christmas Markets 2013 spreadsheet and you are right, it does not cut and paste well. I have yet to figure out how to extend the margins to the right so that I can have all info for one listing on one line. If anyone has any suggestions on how to do this I would love to hear them .
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Sharon

Viking, Portraits of Southern France. 2006
Uniworld, Castles Along the Rhine, 2007
Gate 1, Thanksgiving Cruise, 2007
AMA Waterways, Portugal on the Douro, 2008
Grand Circle: Romance of the Rhine and Mosel, 2010
Viking Emerald, China's Cultural Delights. 3/28/2011
Grand Circle: Old World Prague and the Blue Danube. September 7, 2011.
Viking Spirit, Paris to Normandy. 12/11/11.
Grand Circle's [i]Essence of the Elbe: 5/27/12/ to 6/11/12
Grand Circle Russia Revealed with pretrip to Helsinki and Tallinn , 2012. .
Viking Sun, Treasures of the Rhine. Nov 11, 2012.
AMACerto, Istanbul to Budapest. May 30, 2013.
Uniworld River Queen, Classic Christmas Markets, Nuremberg to Frankfurt. Dec 5, 2013.
Vantage Travel, Croatian Odyssey & Venice with Lake Bled, Slovenia pretrip. M/Y Harmony G
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Grand Circle: Spain's Northern Coast & the Bay of Biscay. 4/30/2015 to 5/21/2015. Ship: Corinthian
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Grand Circle: Grand Baltic Sea Voyage. . 7/30/2016 to 8/15/2016. Ship: Corinthian
Viking: Castles & Legends. Munich to Budapest. 12/5/16 to 12/16/16. Viking Ve.
Viking Sky: Mediterranean Getaway, Rome to Barcelona, 2/25/17 to 3/4/17.

Grand Circle: Maritime Jewels of the British Isles. 7/23/17. Ship: Corinthian
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#19
Riverview, FL
2,237 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by peterdkiwi
CaroleSS
We sailed on Artistry II Basel to Amsterdam, July 2013, our first river cruise, it was everything we expected plus more, could not fault Avalon or the ship in anyway, loved it so much we are booked to do Prague to Budapest with Avalon in July 2014.
What pieces of info are you wanting, we also found it hard to get info without spending many many hours reading CC
Hey Peter!

We will be on the Artistry II next summer doing the Highlights of Germany tour. We will go from Munich (land tour) boarding the ship at Passau and end up in Basel. I see a lot of trips from Amsterdam to Basel and lots for Passua to wherever, but not a lot doing the Main River inbetween.

I am glad you were happy with Avalon and with the Artistry! I guess I'm looking for information like how we're the meals. I know this is quite subjective, we aren't picky, but we are looking forward to experiencing local foods. Did you find the wine/beer selections adequate? Again, we are looking to experience local flavors. I read somewhere that you can bring wine/beer purchases ashore onboard for consumption. Dd you se any of that? How big we we the excursion groups and how many optional excursions did you take? Dd you find them beneficial or would you have preferred to just venture out on your own?

Oh my, I have just asked tou to write a discertation haven't I? If you'd prefer to take this discussion off-line, you can email me at teddy_spaghetti at yahoo dot com.

Thank you soooo much for any information you can offer. If anyone else wishes to chime in, please feel free to do so!
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#20
1,116 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Hello Folks:

(1) Could use some assistance in locating name/email address of someone at Cruise Critic who would have an influence and would actually provide some serious consideration to improvements?

(2) Lack of structure is a big problem. I think that most people, given structure will at least post in the correct place and maybe also provide the most useful content if given some structure!

(3) Individual Roll Calls (specific vessel/specific dates) for vessels with less than 200 passengers makes little sense? The use of River Cruise Roll Calls to find like-minded people for private port tours makes little sense. Perhaps general discussions of vendor, vessel, advice. Perhaps Roll Calls structured by location/river; cruise company; specific date to locate a specific Roll Call?

(4) Researching a specific port usually just locates postings with the name of the town/city -- not a description of the positive/negative experiences in the town/city (obviously a problem). Some structure by geography/river/major ports and "other" category. Otherwise, just use TravelAdvisor?

(5) Differentiate between River Cruise Forum (all sorts of discussions) and River Port Forum (what's to do in location X, etc.).

I see that Viking is running an ad on CC and I enjoy the ads on PBS that are associated with some of my favorite programs, so at least river cruise companies that cooperate with TAs should be supportive. (Anyone have a good contact at Viking [name/email address]?) I would expect that Cruise Critic, if it decides to make the effort to improve this segment of their website knows the companies to contact to get their input?

Maybe if enough people make a posting CC will see that this is a reasonable area for improvement?
Thanks,
DJ