A cruise critic is of course a critic of cruises – that is, one who writes reviews of cruises – but what exactly does this mean, and how do they differ from other types of critics, like film or book critics? And, on a related note, where can you find reviews of cruises? We’ll briefly look at what a cruise critic is, and then we’ll point you to helpful cruise reviews, like those found on Cruise Critic (cruisecritic.com) and Cruise Reviews (cruisereviews.com).
Just as film critics watch the movies they review and literary critics read the books they write about, cruise critics must experience a cruise before they can properly review it. One major difference is that books and movies are a form of entertainment and art, whereas cruises are more fundamentally oriented towards service. So, the cruise critic is really focusing on the experience that a cruise provides – the accommodations, the range of activities available, etc. – and in this regard they are rather like restaurant critics (because restaurant critics are writing reviews of one branch of the service industry, of which cruises are another). Again, though, the comparison is imperfect in that restaurant critics must only eat a meal for their reviews – a cruise critic must go on an entire cruise that could potentially take weeks.
Another characteristic that sets cruise critics apart is that they are overwhelmingly amateurs, by which we only mean that they do not make a living from their reviews. The New York Times, for example, employs numerous critics (not only for movies, books, and restaurants, but also for the fine arts, like opera and the theater, and a few other things as well), and several other major publications do the same, but these same organizations don’t employ cruise critics. This leaves this form of criticism to be practiced primarily by ordinary cruise travelers who are not employed by any media company (or, in any event, they aren’t employed by a media company for the sake of writing cruise reviews.)
In fact, you don’t need to meet any specific criteria to be a cruise critic, as some websites that provide reviews – probably the first place you’ll stumble across while searching for cruise reviews – invite users to write reviews for the cruises they have been on.
Of course, the fact that cruise critics are almost all unpaid amateurs is both good and bad. It’s good because readers are given an enormous number of reviews to read if they are so inclined, and they are primarily written by like-minded people with a serious interest in cruises. On the other hand, the quality of writing is often poor, and many aren’t very thorough (writing takes time, and if you aren’t being paid, the details might be scarce).
Two of the major, more professional websites on which to find cruise reviews (but certainly not the only ones) are http://www.cruisecritic.com/ and
http://www.cruisereviews.com/. The former has over 60,000 reviews organized in helpful categories. For example, there is a category that contains all reviews that are about particular cruise lines, like Carnival Cruise and Princess Cruise, and there is another category for reviews about cruise destinations, like the Caribbean or Alaska.
Cruise Reviews, which also has an enormous amount of reviews, is very much like Cruise Critic and offers a similar categorization scheme for its reviews.