How We Test Cruises

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At Cruises, our mission is to empower consumers with information that can help them make better and more informed buying decisions. Too often, cruise reviews are generated by inviting media on complimentary or substantially discounted press junkets that are designed to inspire favorable coverage. We believe that the best way to produce independent, fair, and accurate cruise reviews is to travel as our readers would. All of our reviews are produced by a staff of experts who pay the going rate and cruise anonymously. We follow a strict church and state separation policy between our advertising and editorial departments. We bar any contact between members of the editorial staff and the advertising staff. We also ban our editors from accepting any gifts or press junkets from the companies they cover. In addition to these ethics policies (which you can read in our ethics statement), we follow strict standardized testing methods, which are outlined below.

Testing Philosophy and the Scientific Method

We strive to follow the scientific method as closely as possible in our reviewing and testing procedures. This includes gathering measurable evidence using objective and unbiased procedures which are easily repeatable and reportable for every product. Our reviews combine a variety of test procedures, which are designed to comprehensively test every aspect of the performance of products. This comprehensive testing approach means that our reviews are among the most reliable, fair, and comprehensive available.

Objective Test Scores: The Cruises Labs

Our reviews are written by the editors of Cruises who are all experienced, accomplished writers who understand the latest developments in their fields, and understand what impact these developments can have on the products being reviewed. Up to 1,000 photos accompany each review, documenting the exact condition of the cabin we stayed in, every public area on the ship, the food we sample; all of these photos are by our editors (unless otherwise noted).

Subjective Test Scores: Precedent-Based Analysis

For those areas of a cruise that cannot be simply analyzed with a test, our expert reviewers and editors use a comparative method of analysis. Every section that is analyzed using human observation instead of scientific testing is done so by comparing that product to other products on the market. We review the entire product, not just aspects of it. This means that our testing regimen is comprehensive.

Fair and Equal Treatment of All Products

All of this testing is for one aim: to provide you with accurate, scientifically valid information about how well a product performs the tasks for which it is designed, regardless of the cost. We do consider the cost of a cruise in our final conclusions, but it doesn't enter into our testing process: A $500 budget cruise goes through the same set of analysis as a $5,000 luxury one.