How to Understand Cruise Ship Ratings
By Ann Richter
To many people cruise ship ratings are just numbers and symbols with little rhyme or reason. To understand what these ratings mean, it is necessary to take a look at how they are made. Only then can you reasonably use them to help you decide on a cruise ship to take.
What the Ratings Are
The most popular cruise ship ratings are done in the form of a five-star-ratings system. Cruise ships are graded with one to five stars, one being low and five being high. The ships are not graded with price or age of ship in mind. However, if the ship's décor and furnishings are shabby and worn, the ship is not likely to get a good rating. Some ratings systems are done with hands showing thumbs up instead. The rule of one to five is the same.
Ships will also be given a rating that is expressed in a number from time to time. This number can tell you a more accurate story of how good your experience will be on the ship. The numbers are based on a scoring system where each individual aspect of the trip is evaluated and you give points to each one. Then, the areas that are most important to passengers are emphasized in the average. The resulting number is between 0 and 100.
People will grade ships on whatever they find to be important to their vacation experience on the ship. Their cruise ship ratings will include how they feel about their cabins, the responsiveness of the staff, the quality of the food, and the entertainment value of the shows. The ratings are made up by past guests or cruise critics.
What the Ratings Mean to You
There are some ships that rate five stars plus. They tend to be the expensive ultra luxury cruise ships. They have gourmet chefs, the finest accommodations, and service staff who almost seem to know what you need before you ask for it.
Five star ships are still very good cruises, run by premium cruise lines. Everything is of very high quality, yet there may be a few things that are not quite perfect.
Four plus stars are good cruise ship ratings. There has to be something above the standard cruise for a ship to get this rating. They do something outstanding or have an exceptional feature.
A four star cruise is a perfectly adequate cruise ship for most vacationers. Families and vacationing couples who are not spoiled by expensive cruises are often quite happy with a cruise of this caliber. There may be plenty to do, with sports, kids' activities, spas, and discos.
If you get a three plus cruise ship vacation at a low cost, you might be wise to go in with lowered expectations. If you do, you can have a good time, even though the ship may not be new nor the service prompt.
Anything less than three stars, and you will probably not be happy with your cruise. Of course, you should not take the word of one rater alone. Instead, go for a variety of guest ratings and professional ratings. You will be glad you did.
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