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LauraS

Have a Minute To Help Us Out? We're Redesigning Our Ship Review Page!

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I looked at your review of the Celebrity Millenium and decided that it was very complete with all the information I would need to make a decision about booking a cruise on that ship. It is a much more comprehensive review than others I've read on Cruise Critic; although, I must say that all of the reviews, past and present here are very well written with engaging comments in each category of the review. This one, in particular, is very well done and makes the Celebrity Millenium sound very appealing. Beyond that, I cannot pick out any single category to comment further. I hope this information is helpful in some way.

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I'm not sure if I'm clicking on the right link or not, but if I am...

 

1. The first thing I see is the expedia ads and links to cruise critic member reviews. The first thing I'd like to see are about 3-4 of the ships best (large) pics. That is always what grabs my attention on cruise critics home page that gets me interested in a particular ship.

 

2. The next thing I am looking for is the name of the ship and the regions it sails to to be quite apparent, in rather bold or larger letters.

 

3. It appears that the write up on the ship is not broken down into "chunks." There is information that I'm not interested in learning about. If I'm looking at a dozen ships I don't want to read a lengthy page on each of those ships. I'd like a write up on the ships with bold, titled categories like entertainment, dining, family friendliness, etc. so I can pick and choose what is important to me to read. For instance, people that never go to the spa, specialty restaurants or don't have children won't care to read about those sections.

 

4. After interest is gathered in a particular ship, I think it would be great to have the links for reviews and more photo galleriesto be at the bottom of the page, so as not to clutter the top.

 

Thanks!

Laura, thanks for asking. I have to agree with the above and that IMO the layout is in need of help. The eye needs to flow and not bounce from one topic or aspect to another and the ads should not interfere with the main focal points of the review, perhaps the ads could all be the same size and located together on one side of the page listed vertically. White space in a page is just as important as printed word in helping the reader direct their attention to what is being displayed.

Every cruise line has a target that they market to, some are elegant, some more family oriented etc. I think it would help if the page reflected the target for that line. In this case a more sophisticated and elegant experience. I realize that it would require several page concepts for the various lines, but it would help the prospective cruiser to choose what is right for them.

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First let me say I LOVE this site. Laura, you and your staff have done a wonderful job making Cruise Critic a great place to hang out, get and give information, and keep the cruising spark alive between trips. I'm so glad I found CC!

 

As far as my input on the sample Millennium page...here goes:

Perhaps each section could have a different background color? Nothing too garish...soft pastel tones.

 

*Under Why Go, there are arrows pointing to key features, but only the first one is an active link. I'd love to see all of them jump to more info on that point.

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*Would be nice if this top section (or the next section) included some tidbits like date launched, last refurb, godmother, etc. I don't really care about length and weight, although many do.

 

*The Find Millennium Cruises" link could have "(external site)" or "(exit this page)", so that folks know it is not just a jump down the page. I would also change the "Read Celebrity Millennium Review" to jump to the bottom of the page where the review begins, not another page.

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*Under More Photos - I'd love to see pics of each type of stateroom with a caption below so folks could jump directly to an interesting one ...especially since a "new" one is mentioned above. Actually, if it is possible, put a scrolling thumbnail photo album with left/right arrows and captions. Even those with low speed access should not be slowed too much by this. (Can you tell I'm a retired programmer) :D

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*Love the Overall vs Member rating ribbons. Actually used those when trying to decide on our last cruise.

 

*Member Reviews should be a hot link to the actual reviews page, same as "381 Reviews of Celebrity Millennium Cruises"

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*For Itineraries and Ports of Call - if the ship has "seasons", specify them pls. (i.e. Mediterranean Winters, Caribbean Summers...or something)

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* Ok, I know it's picky, but I'm not a Fellow. Can't we find a gender-neutral or maybe something like "Typical Passenger" or "Demographic Profile"?

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As for content of the CC review, I agree with several notations already made by other posters.

-Laundry: both self-serve and staff-done, including are the clothes hung, pressed, etc.

-Concierge services: at what cabin level do they kick in...are there different levels/perks or is it all-or-nothing access.

-Perhaps a "secrets" paragraph...best place for sail-away, quiet moonlight stroll, out of the way free amenities (like spa showers), etc.

 

I know you can't be too specific because things change.

 

Thanks for the opportunity to provide input, and double thanks for a great site!

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I like it! It is well organized, and has all the facts, albiet a little wordy for my lazy mind.

 

A couple of things I'd change:

  • Reorganize "Ship Stats" put number of pax at the top, then crew, then age, size, decks, registry.
  • Put dining venue names in bold (or underline), to set them off from the rest of the text. Especially useful if the restaurant descriptions span multiple paragraphs.

Perhaps a list of cabin types with a range of sizes may be handy.

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Assuming the purpose of this page is to read ship reviews, it's not the best layout. At a common browser resolution of 1024x768, I cannot see anything related to a review when I arrive at the page. I have to scroll to the reviews. They should be front and center when I arrive on the page. I shouldn't have to look for them.

 

I would move the Ratings section up to where the Why Go section is, then followed by the cruise critic review and finally member reviews. Having a Find Celebrity Cruises link before the review seems odd. Seems like it should be afterward.

 

The yellow bars with the Sponsored listings text tell me to ignore everything between those bars. In doing that, I miss the deck plans and photos section completely.

 

The "More Photos" section is rather useless. Very small photos and navigation from one to the other requires hunting down the next number to click on it. And that link moves around the window depending on the size of the photo. A simple Next/Prev that stays in place would be much more usable.

 

The red sideways triangles look like "twisties" to me. I keep thinking I should be able to click on them to Expand something.

 

Oh, and dates of the reviews would be fantastic or even just a "New this week" icon. I like looking every few weeks for new reviews of whichever ship I have booked next. The visited link color is overridden, so I can't easily tell which ones I've read. Fixing that would be great!

 

I guess that's enough for now. :-)

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Here is my input. When I first opened the page what popped out were the ads. Very distracting and annoying. After reading a review, I would think the ads would be better placed at the bottom or in between review sections.

 

There is lots of good information, but the format is confusing and doesn't flow well. If I want information on a ship the first info I like to see are the stats. Year built/refurbished, dimensions, tonnagee, pax load, etc. (If any of that was there I couldn't find it.)

 

It would be nice to see a date of when the review was written. Everyone knows how quickly ships make changes, so infomation does get dated.

 

It's nice that you are asking for out input. Thanks CC.

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I'm in the minority, I don't really read the CC cruise ship reviews. I read member reviews because member reviews generally are more current and give the pluses and minuses of the ship from a passenger's perspective. This is more meaningful to me.

 

Recommend past passenger reviews be featured more.

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Laura, thank you for asking.

I don't often use the info provided because I pretty much know what I need to know about the various lines I cruise on. The few times I've used it, it was to find out how well the ship is maintained, especially if it's an older ship. People doing a review tend to mention if there are problems.

That said, I don't have a problem with the way the page is set up. I think each section gives a good idea of what to expect.

The advertising doesn't bother me either. I understand that helps to allow us to have free access to the best cruise board.

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When I read any CC review or thread I find I pay more attentiion to people writing in the first person rather than the third.ie. Guests will find as they enter the stairway, some rather unique art work on the landings. or: My wife and decided to take the stairs down to dinner and immediately on the first landing on deck 11 we stopped to gaze at the most over whelming picture I had ever seen outside of a musium. It turns out that every landing is differant pictue and evert staircase a different theme. For our family is how much fun it became to see every picture through the eyes of my very energetic 5 year old grand son.

 

Maybe as a man I look for more purpose in tech info made available. Why is 24 knots important enough to mention? Or outside elevators? Faster boats can go to farther port opening up more options. The elevators are certainly a bold design statement that has become a uniquie trademark for Celeberty.

 

I guess as I read this review it seems to be written in a vacuum, with no one else around except for the alludded to crew. I enjoy having a picture painted even if a little sketchy and let me fill in the gaps. I remember our cruise on Solstice in June. We headed for the central elevators and heard this piano music floated up,grabbing us, then followed by an edgy voice that you don't expect to hear on a ship. We were hooked and immediatly disappointed that we had missed this artist all week.

 

I would then proceed to share where you can find unexpected treasures of entertainment throughout the ship.

 

I realize that there is a balance between a review and a thread, bu I have read many reviews on CC that work very well.

 

Last but not least, when I read a review about Celebrity why are there nothing but Princess ads on the page? If it's a random thingI get that, if not?????

 

Thanks Bill Spencer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

;

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Laura,

Like many others I enjoy Cruise Critic and appreciate the chance to "review" the Millenium review. Overall I think it is very thorough, but it is too much information for someone who is just debating between two ships. Once it is decided, more information may be appreciated. It would be good to strike a balance between the two.

 

I think the beginning clunks along. This is where you want to grab someone's attention. I would be interested in the class of ship, age, ratings, and what is unique or special for a passenger that would make me choose this ship over another.

 

The information about the type of propulsion is not a topic I want in the very beginning. Some people are curious about attempts to offset the impact on the environment...but later.

 

I think it would help to have pictures placed in each section, for example the Metropolitan dining room, the average cabin, a balcony.

 

I loved the section about the dining room, and Celebrity dining is a very strong selling point. Pictures of some of the venues would help.

 

So many questions come up about dress code. I would expand this section. What is "traditional?" I agree with the comment that passengers need to know how many formal nights per the number of nights of the cruise. They also need to know more about what to wear on "dressy" or smart casual nights. Again pictures would help.

 

Do most people really still bring formal gowns? With strict weight requirements I thought that might have changed. I do enjoy seeing the beautiful gowns on other people, but it is hard to manage more than one suitcase and one carryon when you fly or when you travel overseas for two weeks or more.

 

Also for men do most men wear tuxes, or are suits also appropriate? There are two schools of thought about this, but you may lose some potential passengers with an emphasis on formality.

 

Just going through once I missed things others noticed. Possibly the links were awkward. To tweak it I would try setting it up as a Powerpoint and then simplifying it to make it flow smoothly.

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I have to agree the more detailed the pictures, the easier decision for me. I also read carefully the cruisers descriptions. :cool:

More details, on everything.:p

An aerial shot perhaps that shows the deck beter, or a virtual tour????:D

LP:cool:

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I only have two comments.

 

I don't know who the FDA / CDC are, perhaps this should be explained.

 

I am keen on member reviews and I think there should be an easy link straight to this feature.

 

Thanks for your pro-active thinking.

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Hi Laura. Thanks for asking us to give input. Here are some thoughts:

 

1. I agree with others that the number and placement of ads on the review pages is distracting and kind of annoying. I know you have to have ad revenue so that we can continue to have this wonderful site at no charge, but taking it out of the review pages, or at least limiting it to only the cruise line involved, would be great.

 

2. My biggest "I don't like it" is the same one I've always had and have never mentioned because, well, it didn't occur to me that we could. I really dislike the "layered" ship reviews. By that I mean, I go to a ship's review page, but what I get first is an overview with the "Read complete X ship review" link. I'd love it if you did away with the snapshot review and incorporated everything into one review page. Generally, when I'm going to look at a review, I'm looking for specifics.

 

3. I do like that you've added the deck plans, photos, and other detailed information. That should be in the full review. Larger photos would be great. Put the link to member reviews right up front and easy to find. I like the idea (don't remember who mentioned it) of having the professional review scores and the averaged member review scores, both overview and for each section, next to each other in different colors.

 

4. How often is it feasible to update overall ship condition and time to next drydock? I don't expect constant updates on detailed things because that would be far too time consuming and not a reasonable request, but dated "the ship is in great condition and is due for drydock in 12 months" would be nice.

 

5. The colors are fine. Nothing special and nothing that really catches my eye, but certainly not offputting. Maybe a tad boring, but that's much, much better than falling into the trap of having 12 fonts in 10 sizes with 14 or more colors on the page. When I see pages like that on other websites, I cringe because they are so distracting and obviously not professionally designed. I'd like to have the ship name and photo larger

 

6. Is it possible to list the space ratios?

 

Overall, I've never had any major complaints about any of the information presented and am glad to have such a great resource available. Keep up the good work.

 

beachchick

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Laura, On serveral pages you have a link for the Meet & Mingle. I was under the impression that for RCL ships it was called Royal Caribbean Meet and Mingle and on Celebrity ships the party is called the Celebrity Connections Party. Am I correct or am I miss informed?

 

Thanks for asking for our opinions.

 

 

 

Nice job and thanks for asking.

  • Better Pics
  • Where is the place for updates and corrections ?
  • More technical info
  • Sushi / Foodie info

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Overall I like the format.

 

When we click on Deck Plan, it would be nice to have a legend that explained what cabin category each color code was. Also, when on deck plan page, then clicking on cabin category, it would be nice to have a floor plan of the rooms under cabin review. I find the pictures don't show a good representation of all the features or layout of the cabin.

 

In the cruise information section of the reviews , I would like it to include the length of the cruise (e.g. member name, cruise date, length of cruise -7 days, etc.)

 

The font that is used is clear and easy to read.

 

I agree that there could be many more photos under the ship photos section. I get a much clearer idea of the atmosphere of the ship from pictures as opposed to the written word (a picture is worth a thousand words!).

 

Thank you for allowing our input. It lets us know that you are interested in providing a product that is valuable to those of us who use this resource. :)

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Many of the ships have partial cover, or no cover balconies. I would like to see a review of each decks balcony cabins, as to the size of the balcony and does it have full, partial, on cover.

 

I would also like to see a single page list of all the ships stats, I currently have to go to the vacatioons to go website to get what I'm looking for. It would be nice if I didn't have to leave the CC website to get all my info.

 

Other then those two items, you have a great website, I tell everyone about it.

 

Zippy

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My husband and I have been on 8 cruises. Norwegian SUCKS big time. (Average age 95 years old!!) Carnival was OK but Princess has been THE BEST!!!!!! They take care of everything from point A to Z. I will NEVER cruise with anyone but Princess.

 

 

That's great you have an opinion, but it has nothing to do with this thread.

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A couple of things I would modify on the web page:

Pictures, pictures, pictures! I would populate the web page with lots of pictures, or links to them. In particular, more of the pool area needs to be shown. Since that area tends to be a focal point of most ships, I would "highlight" that area.

You should numerically label the decks, not just state there names.

And finally, it really doesn't matter to most people weather a ship is 90,000 or 190,000 tons. I certainly have no reference to a ships of those sizes. It means nothing to me! Why waste page space with info like that?

 

On a poisitve note, it's good to have links on the page side back to the cruise company.

 

Seaducer

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I think the reviews are very informative. It would be helpful if they were dated with when they were done and then have a notation of how often the reviews are updated. That has always been my primary question left unanswered when I read them. Would I cruise on the Millenium after reading the review? I don't base that just on the review so, maybe, depending on the cost, ports, etc.

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When going on a ship we haven't been on before we read the review to get excited about the trip. We have found the reviews to be a fair reflection of what the ship is actually like. We would never base our choice of going or not going on a cruise based on the reviews. We usually base that on (1) the itinerary -- want to go someplace preferably where we haven't been before; (2) time -- have to pick a time that is not going to interfere with real life; and cost -- want to get the best bang for our buck.

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I don't have any comments on the graphic nature of the page, but as for information, it works. I must say that most cruise lines provide much more information about their ships, decks, cabins, restaurants, spas, fitness centers, etc. than this page.

Consider focusing more on what the cruise line doesn't show on its website.

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I'd suggest that you uncluttered the "Main Review Page" by placing a prominent link to a separate "Ship Facts" page. The facts page should prominently feature the year that the ship was built AND last refurbished, as well as photo's, deck plans, and perhaps a sailing schedule.

 

I would also suggest, since everybody is so interested in the "current status" of each ships facilities, that there be a "picture of the month" contest for each ship. Such photo's could be an incredible resource, as well as a source of discussion on the boards.

 

The winning photo (along with a brief description) could be a prominent feature of the "Ship Facts" page.

 

Best of luck with the revised pages!

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