See our Advertiser Disclosure and Editorial Note here.
Travel has certainly had its share of ups and downs over the past two years. Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve gone from being at home 24-7 to travel with no requirements and everything in between.
But now, more than ever, it’s so important to read recent travel reviews before you take that trip. And when I say recent, I mean very recent, like the last few weeks/days. Why?
Due to the waves of Covid, things are constantly changing. A review from a cruise or hotel in October or November might not represent the current state of service in January. The experience may be drastically different.
For example, cruising. I went on a cruise this past October. It was smooth sailing in every way. I knew there were restrictions on board, but passenger capacity was low and the number of crew members was high. I knew in advance we would only see two main theatre shows, and I was ok with that. My daughter was ok with the limited kids’ club hours, which we also knew about in advance. It was a lovely cruise.
However, just in the past few weeks, cruising has changed due to rising case numbers. Passenger capacity keeps rising. Crew members are sick and quarantined. Shows have been canceled, ports are turning away ships, gambling tables are closed, even alcohol is running out on board. This isn’t on every cruise ship, but it’s definitely happening on some.
While some hotels and cruise lines are being transparent about potential changes and shortcomings, others are not. I was pleased to see that Carnival Cruise Line sent a letter to upcoming passengers describing the situation and warning them about possible port changes and cancellations. On the other hand, Royal Caribbean communication hasn’t been as forthcoming, in my opinion. One poster on Cruise Critic joked that Royal Caribbean should tell people to “Bring a book, just in case.”
Sifting Through Reviews
I rely on Trip Advisor, social media groups and message boards for the latest reviews. Of course, people are more likely to say something when they have had a negative experience.
However, just as annoying are the brand cheerleaders who mock people’s negative reviews and find excuses for everything. These people are rampant on Cruise Critic and in social media groups. No, we shouldn’t consider ourselves lucky just to be traveling regardless of the level of service or the amount of money we put into the trip.
I strongly feel that we should all go into travel with eyes wide open, especially at this stage of the pandemic. Find out what amenities are unavailable and what changes are in store before giving away your valuable time and money on a trip.
Are you reading more recent reviews before traveling now? What are your favorite go-to sites for reviews?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.