Plymouth has defended itself from charges it has little to offer tourists.
Tourists say there are not enough sights like Smeaton's Tower
The city has recently attracted cruise ships to visit Plymouth Sound, but some of those on board have criticised the city on the BBC Devon message boards.
"Characterless, tacky, depressing and disappointing" are just some of the criticisms levelled at the city.
South West Tourism said the criticism was disappointing and the city was not getting the message across properly.
Two passengers, Ida and Art from Oregon, said in their posting: "You badly need to appreciate that your famous 'old' city is seriously oversold and completely lacking in anything a foreign even American tourist might reasonably expect."
Malcolm Bell from South West Tourism said: "It's always very disappointing to hear negative comments but I think that message boards are valuable in terms of actually seeing what people don't like.
"What they don't tell you is what proportion they are so you've got to take it on board but you've got to take it with the proverbial pinch of salt.
Ramsden, from Boston Massachusetts, said: "We still have an image of a quaint seafaring town with lots of history and character. What we get is none of that. Instead a moderately impressive natural harbour and not much else.
"To say it's a scam is putting it too high. A huge let down, certainly."
Destination Southwest was set up to attract cruise ships to the region.
Colin Greenwell, port manager at Millbay and Teignmouth, said: "Most of the people we get feedback from and the cruise companies themselves are quite positive.
"What we have highlighted is areas of the city which we understand are up for redevelopment.
"With the Mackie plan Plymouth will be a very different place in the years to come."
Mr Bell added: "Other cities in Europe would kill for our waterfront."