By Youri Kemp
Caribbean News Now associate editor
NEW JERSEY, USA — Cruise Critic, an online cruise line industry review brand, boasting of having the largest cruise community in the world, has published its “Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards” list for 2018.
King’s Wharf in Bermuda tops the list of destinations in the Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda category, followed by St Maarten and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
For private island destinations, the only review category that is not a regional or sub-regional category, The Bahamas tops the list with Castaway Cay (formerly Gorda Cay near Great Abaco), as well as taking second and fourth spots out of the top five with Half Moon Cay on little San Salvador island and Princess Cays on the island of Eleuthera, respectively.
For the Panama Canal and Central America destinations, Puerto Quetzal in Antigua, Guatemala, took the top spot; for the Southern Caribbean destinations, Curacao took the top spot; and for the Western Caribbean and Riviera Maya destinations, Port Havana in Cuba took the top spot.
Cruise Line Private Island Destinations
Half Moon Cay
Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda Destinations
King’s Wharf, Bermuda
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands
St Thomas, USVI
Mexican Riviera Destinations
Cabo San Lucas
Panama Canal and Central America Destinations
Puerto Quetzal (Antigua), Guatemala
San Juan del Sur
Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)
Santo Tomas de Castilla
South America and Antarctica Destinations
Southern Caribbean Destinations
Western Caribbean & Riviera Maya Destinations
Cruise Critic also ranks other destinations around the world, including Alaska, the British Isles and the Mediterranean and South Pacific.
The rankings of best destinations are based on ratings by their members in published reviews; awards are based on port; and cruise reviews from June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018.
Cruise Critic stated that ports and cruise lines must have a minimum number of member reviews and ratings in a particular category in order to be included in that category’s winner list. For cruise line size, large ship cruise lines have an average of number of 1,200-plus passengers (double occupancy) and small ship cruise lines have an average of 1,199 or fewer passengers (double occupancy).
The drawback of Cruise Critic is that anyone can log on and fill a review, and it seems as if there is no mechanism to stop someone from writing multiple reviews to pad a certain cruise line or port’s numbers.
There is also apparently no verification mechanism that requires a review writer to submit proof that they did in fact go on the cruise they are reviewing, although documentation such as receipts, ticket purchases or proof-of-attendance is needed to submit a review. While there is an option to upload pictures, there is no way of verifying if the uploader’s pictures are genuinely theirs, even though the site asks uploaders and review writers to agree that their review is true and genuine.