Studying UK cruise ship reviews is a smart precaution for any passenger contemplating sailing from a British port.
Why Reviews are Important
While it is wise to read cruise reviews before any voyage, it is especially important before sailing from a foreign port. Passengers should be especially interested in detailed reviews that discuss not only the ship in question, but also the overall cruise vacation experience, including information about the departure port. Even passengers who are familiar with a specific cruise line that sails from the United Kingdom may find that ships based in the UK have a distinctly different ambiance than their United States counterparts; crew members often rotate positions or may change ships when a vessel relocates, giving what was once a familiar ship a completely new atmosphere. Reading reviews can help passengers prepare for the ship's individual quirks, letting them adjust more easily and enjoy their vacation from start to finish without a lengthy acclimation period.
Several cruise lines offer itineraries that include the British Isles, often departing from ports around London such as Southampton, Harwich, and Dover. Other ships may offer British ports of call as part of more complex European itineraries or world cruises. Lines that frequently visit the UK include:
- Royal Caribbean Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Cunard Cruise Line
- Celebrity Cruises
- Holland America Cruise Line
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Seabourn Cruises
- Crystal Cruises
- Silversea Cruises
- Norwegian Cruise Line
In addition to foreign-based ships having a different ambiance than their American sister vessels, each cruise line also offers a unique traveling experience, and reading UK cruise ship reviews can help passengers decide which specific line and individual ship is right for their ocean-going getaway.
How to Read a Review
A review is more than just a story of a cruise vacation; it is an overall rating of a vacation experience. Passengers who read reviews, however, need to be aware of different factors before accepting the review's critique. For example, a professionally written review will naturally have a different tone and focus than a review from a novice passenger. Furthermore, a passenger who has frequently sailed with the same cruise line may have different expectations than someone who has never sailed with the company before. This bias can make reviews confusing, but knowing how it can affect the review will help passengers use the critique to judge their own cruise travel expectations.
Other points to note in cruise ship reviews include:
- Itinerary: Even from the same ship, reviews of voyages visiting different destinations can vary widely. For the most relevant reviews, choose critiques of the same or similar itineraries.
- Age: If a review is more than a year or two old, the ship in question may have undergone renovations and upgrades that can substantially change its character. Recent reviews will be more helpful.
- Ratings: If scaled ratings are available with the review (stars, thumbs up, etc.), they can provide a way to judge the accuracy of the written words. A beautifully written, positive review that is accompanied by only two of five stars may be questionable.
Understanding Review Bias
Understanding review bias is an important part of evaluating the accuracy of UK, and virtually any, cruise ship reviews. While passengers' circumstances often dictate much of their bias - honeymooners will have vastly different expectations than spring break cruise passengers, for example - nationality can also be a factor. European and British passengers have significantly different standards of quality and expectations for service and sophistication than many American passengers. If possible, read reviews from passengers of different nationalities to discover where this unintentional bias may lie, and compare different reviews to acquire an overall sense of the ship's character and quality.
Where to Find UK Cruise Ship Reviews
There are many websites that feature reviews of ships based in the United Kingdom as well as reviews by passengers of all nationalities. General review sites with UK content include:
The most popular UK cruise ships are also some of the most famous vessels in the world: the Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) and the Queen Mary II (QM2). Passengers considering a voyage on either of these iconic vessels may find ship-specific reviews helpful as well.
Queen Mary II Reviews:
UK cruise ship reviews are a powerful tool for passengers considering sailing from British ports. By knowing how to read reviews and what types of bias may affect the critique, interested travelers can discover which ships are best for their vacation plans in British waters.