I totally agree with you. I have read many reviews, and with some of the negative ones, I'm not sure what some of these people do for a living, but they certainly have very, very, high standards.
What I would suggest is that before you embark on a cruise, do some research yourself. Don't leave things up to your travel agent. Travel agents, too, have biases, as they may favour one cruise line over another. Get the cruise brochures, go to the library and take out some books, if you have access to a computer, check out various cruise review sites and read all the reviews you can, both good and bad, remembering that everyone has different expectations. Go to the www.mytravel.com
and check out the great 360 views of the ship. Call the cruise line, if need be, and get more specific information. Talk to people you know who may have gone on a cruise to get the real scoop on things. In other words, be informed before you go.
For our up-coming cruise in March with our family, we had looked at over 20 cruises (from 4 different lines). We looked over the various ships (because we all have different interests), and checked out the ports. We voted for the top 5 cruises and then narrowed them down from there. Yes, we all have paid a lot of money for our cruise and want to have a good time, but with our family, we'll have a good time even if things go wrong and laugh about it.
On the last cruise as we were debarking, my daughter became violently ill. Now, this is no laughing matter, but with the help of the cruise line, they whisked us through the line of a 1,000+ people to the customs area. They were even going to bring a wheelchair over, but we said no. Now, on our next family cruise, the kids laugh about this, and say "Well, I hope that you get sick again, so we don't have to stand in that long line-up!"
All of us know that things happen. Flight delays, rough seas, missed ports, sickness, etc. These are facts of life. All of us understand that sometimes if seas are rough, you may miss a port -- it's a disappointment, but did you pick that ship and itinerary for just that port -- perhaps you should think again.
My advice is to have no expectations at all and you will have a wonderful time. If you have high expectations, especially of the food, service, etc., you may be disappointed. Be optimistic and roll with the punches. If you've been reading that lines are long, strike up a conversation with someone else in line -- you never know, you might make a new friend, or pack a deck of cards, or bring a magazine. Laugh a little and you'll have other people around you feeling a bit better, too. Think of each vacation as a travel experience where anything can happen (although we hope for only good things).
Anyway, that's my advice to everyone. Be positive, and have a good time!