cruisemates newsletter

John Heald - Carnival's most popular cruise director
5.25.2007

Introducing Wikitravel.org
Wikitravel just won the award as Best Travel Website of 2007 by The Webby Awards, a leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet.

CruiseMates has a lot of great cruise information, much of it contributed by our readers in the form of cruise reviews, and to our message boards and photo gallery. But when it comes to specific destination oriented content, like the multitude of ports that cruise ships are calling at these days, I want to introduce to you Wikitravel.org, one of our sister-sites in the travel group of our parent company.

The premise of Wikitravel.org, similar to the infamous Wikipedia, is that all of the content is contributed by readers who have first-hand knowledge of the subject, which in this case is travel destinations. All the contributed content is then edited by a team of hard working fact checkers who watch out for all kinds of errors, whether they are intentional or not. The vast majority of the contributions are on the up & up, but everything gets double-checked.

Winning the Webby Award for best travel site is quite an honor for the founders and it underscores the idealism and care they have put into the project. Hailed as the "Oscars of the Internet" by the New York Times, the awards are judged by the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences, a global organization that includes Harvey Weinstein, Arianna Huffington, and "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening. This year's Webby Awards received a record 8,000 entries from all 50 states and more than 60 countries.

Wikitravel.org was started by Michele Ann Jenkins and her husband Evan Prodromou in 2003, but they acknowledge that it is truly a collaborative effort and credit their readers and contributors for much of their success. "We're really proud of the community and amazed at the effort that users put into Wikitravel guides every day. It's great that the project has gotten this sort of recognition," Michele told me.

I asked Michele how the site was started. "Wikitravel was started in 2003 after Evan and I settled down in Montreal after a year of round-the-world travel in Southeast Asia and Europe," says Michele. "We had been frustrated by the travel guides we had been using and wanted to find a new model for bringing together the traveler's desire to share information with the global reach of the internet and the convenient format of travel guides. Evan had been a long-time contributor to Wikipedia and we thought that the wiki model could also work great for collaborate travel guides."

Finally, I asked here where she would like to see the site go next year? "We'd like to continue to expand the number of guides we have-- the world is a very big place! We'd also like to work on more tools to make the site easier for the casual contributor and reader. Recently we launched a new part of the site called Wikitravel Extra where users can share travel stories, photos, and have discussions. We're looking forward to adding more features to this area too."

Click here to visit Wikitravel.org

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new feature articles

Costa Serena Debuts
Costa's newest flagship, the 114,000-ton Costa Serena, receives a worthy christening in Marseille, France. blue arrows

Air Service Hits All-time Low
The hassles of air travel have gotten worse in recent years; here's how to minimize them on the way to your next cruise. blue arrows

The Most Common Cruise Mistakes - Part 2
Part two: how to avoid scams, and honest errors that can turn into big problems. blue arrows

The Most Common Cruise Mistakes - Part 1
There are two reasons why cruisers make mistakes that ruin their vacations: The questions we never think to ask; and the things we neglect due to over-confidence. blue arrows

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Reader Contributed Cruise Reviews!
We have thousands of cruise reviews written by people like you. This week's review:
Freedom of the Seas "The first and only thing I had to sign for on board was a photograph we bought the last day"
- - We also wants articles by aspiring travel writers. Get More information.
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