Two years ago, I published my personal choice of what I considered to be the top cruise blogs. It was mostly a subjective choice.
This year, I started assembling the top blogs again. But I decided to rank the "top" blogs with some type of objective criteria. I chose to use the Alexa ranking system which ranks blogs and websites primarily based on popularity. No matter how attractive the website may appear or how interesting or nice the publisher may be, are people really clicking on the blog, reading a number of pages and staying on the site for a while?
Alexa assigns a numerical ranking to websites. The most popular sites have the lowest numbers. Google is ranked number 1, Facebook is number 2 and so forth. If you are a blogger or own a cruise website and you are ranked under 250,000, you are doing a heck of a good job. There are literally tens of millions of blogs and websites out there.
If you are interested in seeing your site's ranking, go to the Alexa website and click on the "Toolbar" link at the top to download.
In making my top 10 list, I focused on blogs which write primarily about cruising. I excluded cruise blogs which use a sub-domain of a website such as a large newspaper. This eliminated CruiseLog, because it is published under the USA Today domain, and eliminated Captain GreyBeard because his blog is published under the domain of the newspaper giant Mirror in the U.K.
My top blog list doesn't include the websites of the cruise lines themselves. Cruise articles which are published under general travel sites or maritime publications such as the popular Fodors, Travel Pulse, Maritime Executive or gCaptain were excluded, although I would include them all if I were listing top travel and maritime web pages.
So with that is mind, here are the top 10 most popular cruise blogs, in reverse order. I've included the Alexa ranking as of the time of this publication.
10. Maritime Matters: (510,733) If I had to pick one cruise blog to read, it would be Martin Cox's Maritime Matters. It covers the range of cruising from the christening of the ship to major casualties. It contains a historical perspective of the cruise industry. It has fantastic photographs of ships old and new, interesting stories, and fantastic articles from Peter Knego. I reviewed it before. I said that it has "the perfect balance of current cruise news coupled with fascinating historical chronicles of the cruise industry." The best websites are not always the most popular, so I'm glad that this class act made the top 10.
9. RCL Blog: (398,359) The Royal Caribbean Blog describes itself as "an unofficial fan blog written for other fans of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line." It's a fan site so it is never critical of this cruise line which I criticize often. But it is full of articles and photographs which cruise fans will love. It covers the "deliver the wow" cruise line like a hawk. It is accepted by Google News as an official news site so you will find articles by this site about Royal Caribbean easily on internet searches.
8. Cruise Addicts: (308,946) I don't know a lot about the people who operate this popular site, but it has the number 8 ranking for cruise website and blogs. Its a smaller version of Cruise Critic and Cruise Mates and has the potential to become much more popular if it starts writing its own stories and begins to better utilize cruise ship photographs. I voted Cruise Addicts number 9 for my favorite cruise websites 2 years ago.
7. Cruise Fever: (295,827) Two and one-half years old, Cruise Fever provides cruise news, tips, photos, web cams, and reviews to help makes cruisers make the most of their cruise vacation. Of course it also advertises cruise deals. It is active on Twitter and has a popular Facebook page. Its popularity has risen steadily over the last couple of years.
6. Cruise Industry News: (213,488) This is a popular website with a ton of stories about the cruise industry. Never gossipy or controversial, its strictly the facts. Its motto is "number 1 in industry reporting." It has more of a focus on shipbuilding, business stories, industry news and less about the lighter side of cruising. It has added photos of ships and ports of call. It publishes a slick magazine called Cruise Industry News with a European feel to it. It has the worse Twitter logo possible.
5. CLIA's "Cruising. It's All about You:" (208,733) This is the official site of the Cruise Line International Association ("CLIA") and contains the blog of CLIA's CEO Chrsitine Duffy. I have called it the cruise lines' "Pravda" after the official newspaper of communist Russia. It's articles are carefully written by the cruise industry's public relations people to present a positive and completely unrealistic image of the cruise industry. Its filled with half-truths and propaganda that even Stalin would be proud of.
4. Cruise Currents: (157,757) This is the latest blog from cruise fan and cruise website prodigy Mike Faust. Two years ago when he was 15, I selected his cruise website as one of the top cruise sites and told everyone to watch out for this fellow. Still in high school, Mike changed the name of his blog from "Mikey's Cruise Blog" to the very slick sounding and appearing "Cruise Currents." He is not even old enough to cruise by himself but he has taken the cruise community over by storm. Next year, he will pass Cruise Mates and me as the most popular cruise site behind Cruise Critic.
3. Cruise Mates: (118,481) A very popular and long term cruise travel guide, community and message board somewhat like Cruise Critic but on a smaller scale. CruiseMates contains tons of information and has knowledgeable and pleasant bloggers. Paul Motter is the face of the community.
2. Cruise Law News: (79,104) I know, its tacky to include yourself in a top 10 list. But I have an excuse. I'm a lawyer and we're suppose to have out-of-control egos aren't we? I remember when I started this blog in September 2009. I was excited to have less than 5,000 people a month read my articles. This year over 1,000,000 different people have already read well over 3,500,000 pages of our blog. Our motto is "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know." You either love us or hate us.
1. Cruise Critic: (9,052) As I said 2 years ago, this cruise community is a real juggernaut. It has by far the most members and the most hard core cruise fans. A great place to read the messages on the boards from passengers still on the cruise ship and first learn of what will eventually be covered by the major newspapers. On the down-side, it seems like the least diversified place on the planet. Its message boards often erupt into flame wars, and a dissenting opinion is often ridiculed. The usual comment from a Cruise Critic fan left on my blog is something like "cruise ship ambulance chaser!" or "feed the lawyers to the sharks!" I love the attention (for the record sharks don't eat us out of professional courtesy). Behind Google and Facebook, Cruise Critic directs the most people to my blog on a daily basis.
Okay, that's the top 10 numerical list. Have I left out a higher ranked cruise blog or site? If so, please let me know.
Logo credits: The logos above are the Twitter avatars owned by the respective entities named above.