There are of course other options, like KDE, Xfce, LXD. Or simply using a distribution that still carries and supports Gnome 2 and will do so for years to come, such as CentOS 6 or Scientific Linux 6. I do this in such cases for now.
Personally, I'm currently testing Enlightenment e17 alpha release and I'm very pleasantly surprised.
I should mention that I reasonably like Gnome-shell too. But I strongly dislike the general attitude of the project towards user suggestions and the butchering of existing UI functionality. Their "improvements" of Nautilus file manager UI were what finally did it for me.
Then again, there would be no Cinnamon without this, no Nemo without them "working" on Nautilus. Competition is a good thing and all this is a showcase for open source approach to software.