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Carolyn Spencer Brown’s World Worsts

Carolyn Spencer Brown

Name Carolyn Spencer Brown
Who? Editor-in-Chief of CruiseCritic.com. Before that, she covered the cruise industry as a staff writer for the travel section of The Washington Post.

Age 47
Countries Visited 93

Titanic Nominations
1. Worst Cruise Holland America is usually one of my favorite lines and Westerdam, one of its newest ships, is actually quite a beautiful vessel. But our Caribbean cruise, which happened to take place during spring break, attracted families with some 500 rambunctious, out of control kids to a ship that’s not really set-up to accommodate so many. It was torturous for us, fellow passengers and crew members, who were unusually surly. My husband spent the whole trip sequestered on the balcony.
2. Worst Cruise Food Costa, the Italian-themed cruise line, once served up a special lobster cream pasta with bell peppers — a combination that was so curdling I haven’t been able to stand peppers since.
3. Worst Onboard Entertainment I hate it when cruise lines try to make theatrical shows too complicated and this is a common complaint that crosses numerous lines. I was on Independence of the Seas earlier this year and a guy was singing the Beatles’ “Hey Jude”. It’s a haunting, gorgeous tune and he had a good voice, and you really don’t need to dress it up. But he was overpowered by a troupe of dancers, twirling and leaping, and an overly dramatic light show. Have to say though – I was in the minority; the crowd seemed pretty enthusiastic.
4. Worst Port of Call A stop at Yemen’s Aden — a seriously downtrodden city with the worst hygienic practices I’ve ever seen – was a worst, for its appalling poverty, the stench of death all around (especially at the fish market) and the lack of anything significant to see (save for an 1850s cistern, the lone historic attraction, built by the British but no longer in use). But it was also one of the most memorable; the gentle spirit of the people we met was so moving. They were just thrilled to see cruise tourists (and you don’t get that attitude on too many Caribbean isles these days).
5. Worst Onboard Service On Deilmann’s Princess de Provence I had a Jekyll & Hyde waiter who was great fun all week until the last night when I bought a round of drinks for tablemates. He served us and disappeared. The bill never came. The next morning at breakfast he is shouting at me, in front of entire ship, for walking out on the check that I never got. I’m sitting there mortified – and even worse, crying – and ship staffers did nothing.  Crazy thing, this is right before I’m supposed to tip him for the week? That’s just dumb.

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  1. Abdul
    July 9th, 2009 at 22:29 | #1

    Thank you for sharing with us your sorrowful tale of stepping off a cruise ship into Yemen’s “appalling poverty” and “lack of anything significant to see.” It is terrible how you suffered.

    Oh, but those unhygienic yet gentle people were thrilled to see cruise tourists! How delightful! I hope you gave them all a nice pat on the head before you returned to your luxury liner.

    Travel can be so mind-opening.

  2. Al Vega
    July 11th, 2009 at 15:02 | #2

    See? There are always people who will pick certain things out of a writing and pounch on it. The world isn’t perfect, and I appreciate a travel writer who, clearly and concisely, expressed what she saw, felt and experienced on her trip to Yeman. Sorry YOU don’t like what she wrote, and everyone who has been to Yeman can either agree or disagree. I just appreciate everyone’s point of view — will seek out as many as I can — and come to my own conclusions.

    Everyone’s so snarky nowadays.

  3. Paul
    September 23rd, 2011 at 21:41 | #3

    CARNIVAL-this is not a cruise line. New ships but the worst possible experience. Endangering the passengers is fine if the cost is manageble.
    Lying cheating and stealing don’t waste you money on this shoddy third rate outfit.
    No service on board or off..the passengers are treated appaulingly, as are the staff and crew…and it shows…the reviews are all true…nasty nasty company and nasty nasty staff and CEO.

  4. Tuscany
    January 21st, 2012 at 05:16 | #4

    Seriously? You compare those issues to the deaths of over 1500 people on the RMS TItanic? Those who died screaming in icy water with or without their spouses and children…screams and wails to be heard in the air and in the minds of survivors for the rest of their lives? You should be ashamed.

    Every other decade or so, there surfaces the heartless breach of decorum and taste that trounces the pain and penalties of the then “recent” past. The first post-WWII Hitler joke, Charles Whitman’s assault on innocent people in 1966 and the classless “tower with a rifle” tripe, Manson jokes. How has 100 years changed the death of people who could have changed the world you now travel? How is bad table service comparable to those screams. How do you write knowing this?

    Shame on you. Grow up. Take an ice cold bath and write your next review. And during it, drink a gallon of salt water. Then smirk. Or, rename this dreck “award” and stop offending those souls and their families.

  5. Travel critic critical
    January 25th, 2012 at 23:33 | #5

    She is the worst excuse ever for a writer let alone critic. Never have I seen someone so inept. What a funny industry to make your livelihood off of as well. Pathetic woman, pathetic reviews.

  6. June 24th, 2013 at 01:26 | #6

    Amazing work. I honestly liked Carolyn Spencer Brown

  7. January 15th, 2014 at 20:50 | #7

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  8. January 18th, 2014 at 19:30 | #8

    Not what I was expecting then again good anyway! Nice one!

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