Happy Thanksgiving from Cruise Law News

Today we enjoyed a great day in St. Petersburg, Florida at my father-in-law's house.

The weather was amazing and our extended families congregated and enjoyed our time together.

Our extended family ranges in age from 1 year old to 93 years old. There was lot's of laughter, hugging and fellowship.

Thanks to all of our clients, friends, and foes.  A Happy Thanksgiving to all. 

 

 

Cruise Law News Celebrates Five Year Anniversary

Cruise Law News just celebrated our five year anniversary. 

It's difficult to remember a time when we did not have a blog to comment on the ins-and-outs of the cruise industry and the ports of call where the cruise ships unload their passengers. Since 2009, I've written over 2,100 articles and received over 8,000 comments from our readers.

In 2014, Cruise Law News has been mentioned in over one hundred newspapers, television programs, cable news program, and radio shows.  We have broken many stories that the cruise industry would have preferred that we not mention, such as MSC Cruises dumping garbage bag in the seas, Royal Cruise Law NewsCaribbean exploiting its crew members and Carnival cutting employment programs that existed for years while the cruise CEO's racked in the cash.

Our motto remains writing about "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know," and we believe that we have lived up to that goal. 

Our blog is ranked the fourth most popular law blog in the United States and the number one law blog authored by a law firm as opposed to a for-profit commercial website.  

A year ago at our fourth year anniversary, I wrote that "1,000,000 different people read over 3,500,000 pages of our blog in the last 12 months."  We have far exceeded those numbers in 2014. In just the first four days of this month alone, over 86,000 unique users have read over 239.000 pages of our website. We have a readership which substantially exceeds the paid circulation of the newspaper of the town where I was born.  

Our Facebook page has over 126,000 followers, mostly crew members as well as cruise passengers and travel agents who wish to remain anonymous. We receive many thousand of comments a month. We routinely receive real-time insights into problems on cruise ships from passengers and the crew.

You either love us or hate us.

I receive more than my fair share of hate e-mail. However, many people write to us and thank us for bringing attention to issues such as crew members working 12 hour a day for just $550 a month or sexual assaults of children on the "fun ships," the cruise industry's dirtiest secret. We warn passengers about crime in the tropical ports of call where the cruise lines collect millions of dollars of tax-free money.

We have followed our clients to testify before Congress to advocate in support of legislation to protect cruise passengers and write about the experiences as they occur.

There's always the other side of the cruise story. We try to be the first to tell it. 

Thanks for reading Cruise Law News!

Cruise Law News Enjoys Record Month in April

Last month, 247,433 people read 843,370 pages of Cruise Law News (per Google Analytics). That's a record month for us.

If our readership continues to grow, as it has done over the years, we are on track to having 3,000,000 people reading over 10,000,000 pages of our blog a year.

Our blog is currently the number three most popular law blog in the U.S. (via Alexa) and the number one Royal Caribbean Cruise Norovirusmost popular law blog in the U.S. written by a practicing lawyer (again via Alexa).

The motto of our blog is "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know."  If you want idyllic images of perfect cruise ship vacations to tropical paradises, stick to the travel publications and cruise fan blogs. We offer a glimpse into the world of cruising that the cruise executives prefer you not know.

In the last year, we broke stories involving MSC Cruises dumping garbage bags at sea, Silvesea Cruises hiding carts of food from U.S. health inspectors, and Carnival scrapping its crew retirement program.  We provide an inside look at norovirus outbreaks that the cruise lines always blame on the passengers. This past week, our blog was featured in newspapers and on television in the Bahamas regarding the issue of crime against cruise passengers.

Thank you for reading our blog. Take a moment and subscribe by clicking on the RSS feed or sending us your e-mail address in the box to the lower left.

You can also follow the latest developments in the intersecting worlds of cruise ships and the practice of law on our Facebook page.

Thanks!

Cruise Law News Facebook Page Reaches 100,000 "Likes"

100000 Facebook LikesThis week, our social media presence reached a milestone. 

The Cruise Law News Facebook page reached 100,000 "likes."

The majority of our Facebook fans are from outside of the U.S. We have tens of thousands of crew members who have "liked" us. We receive a great deal of information from crew members regarding a wide range of issues, like cruise ship fires, engine failures, man-overboard situations and the tough working conditions which crew members face.

Thank you very much for reading our page and providing information to us!  Our success would not be possible without the support of crew members on cruise ships around the world!

We have over 11,900 people following us on Twitter and many thousands of people who subscribe to our daily blog, Cruise Law News, via e-mail & RSS subscriptions.

Over 6,250,000 pages of Cruise Law News are projected to be read this year.

We are the 3rd most popular law blog (per AVVO rankings) in the U.S. and the 2nd most popular cruise blog which discusses cruise ship issues (again, per AVVO rankings).  

Cruise Law NewsThe motto of our  blog is "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know."  

No, we are not a travel site with glossy photos of happy crew members and smiling passengers enjoying a dream vacation cruise. The fact that millions of people are reading a critical blog by a lawyer (lawyers often write boring, stuffy articles) reflects that there are a lot of things that happen on cruises which the public wants to know and the cruise lines want to keep secret. 

Thanks for reading us!  And thanks to the many passengers and crew members who have sent us tips, photos and videos of things like hiding food from the USPH inspectors or dumping garbage at sea which no one would otherwise know about . . .   

An Irreverent Look at the Top 10 Most Popular Law Blogs

What are the top law blogs? I suppose it depends on who you ask. Everyone has an opinion, at least lawyers who have blogs do.  

I'm listing the supposedly most popular law blogs based on supposedly objective criteria, using the Alexa ranking system which ranks blogs and websites based primarily on popularity. How many people actually click on the site, view a number of pages and actually stay for a while? 

Alexa ranks over 30,000,000 sites. Alexa assigns a numerical ranking to each website. The most popular sites have the lowest numbers. 

Google is ranked number 1, Facebook is number 2, and so forth. The highest ranked stand-alone law blog is ranked around 28,000. The lowest ranked blog is ranked over 20,000,000. If you're a law blogger and ranked under Top Law Blogs - Blah, Blah, Blah200,000, your blog is popular. 

If your ranking is over 1,000,000, sorry to tell you. No one is reading your blog. If you are in the 2,000,000 to 4,000,000 category, I suggest giving up.

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.

The top 10 blogs which I listed below are mostly ranked 100,000 or lower. They are popular and widely read. I listed their rankings as of the date of this publication. I have also mentioned whether they are advertising (desperate) or soliciting money (truly desperate). I have tried to identify the primary editor or writer.

10. SCOTUS (107,715) (advertising - Bloomberg Law) Two dozen people smarter than me writing minutia about Supreme Court decisions. Super popular when the Supremes are publishing cases.

9.  Patently O (105,835) (advertising) Law professors writing about patents. I remember why I hated law school. 

8.  China Law Blog (100,256) The blog of Seattle lawyer, Dan Harris, of the Harris Moure law firm. Why isn't it also written in Chinese?

7.  Volokh Conspiracy (92,779) (advertising) A butt-ugly site written by two dozen brainiac professors who need to get laid.  I'm not sure who reads this erudite stuff.  It recently moved to the Washington Post. 

6.  Althouse (78,079) (advertising) (solicits money) I don't get this site.  A law professor, Ann Althouse, Top Law Blogswrites and posts photos and videos.  She shares a photo of the side of her head. Random. Quirky. 

5.  Lawyerist (65,914) (heavy advertising) A nice site, mostly it seems written by Sam Glover about law practice technology, management, and marketing, also offering services to build web sites, since 2007.

4.  Food Safety News (60,812) This is one of the truly amazing law blogs by Seattle lawyer Bill Mahler who handles food poisoning cases. He is a great guy and a super lawyer. He surrounds himself with a very talented team to publish this really good stuff.

3. Cruise Law News (59,871) My blog Cruise Law News.  "Everything the Cruise Lines Don't Want You to Know" is our motto. "Why do I want to know that?" most people may be thinking.

2.  Legal Insurrection (45,434) (incredibly heavy advertising)(solicits money)(multiple writers) A law professor at Cornell oversees this gaudy conservative blog. Annoying, bizarre banner ads, like this lady-in-the-tight-dress Google ad which links to a rant against President Obama. Go figure. 

1.  Above the Law (28,096) (advertising) (multiple editors and writers) This number one law blog caters to big firm news, in-house counsel at major corporations, law school rankings and issues of largely no relevance to most lawyers' practices. Typical topics involve new partners at top 10 national firms, salaries in New York, and who'll be the next Supreme Court clerks. I suppose first year associates at Skadden Arps gossip about these important issues over their 15 minute lunches at their desks? 

A bizarre group of blogs no doubt.

Did I leave anyone out? 

 

Photo Credit Top:   lawyerfacts.biz

WESH-2: Worst News Station in the World Broadcasts Arrest of Mother of Two Children, Returning From Disney Cruise, Over $85

Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerWhen I started this blog, I included a section where I award cruise lines and cruise executives the title "worst cruise line in the world" for the company or person in the cruise industry engaged in the most outlandish conduct.

Some months it has been hard to award just one cruise line or person because there have been so many outlandish things happening lately in the cruise industry.  When the Costa Concordia disaster struck, I discontinued the practice because there were not enough award trophies to pass out. 

But today I decided to return to the "worst in the world" award after reading a news account involving a woman arrested after cruising with her family because of $85 in court costs which she didn't pay twenty-two years ago.  

The story involves a forty-one year old woman from Connecticut who sailed on the Disney Dream cruise Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship Passengership with her husband and two kids. When the cruise ship returned to Port Canaveral today, the Brevard County Sheriff's office was waiting to handcuff her and haul her off to jail.  

It turns out that the woman, whose name I will not mention because she has been humiliated enough, owed the state of Florida $85 in court costs for an misdemeanor arrest for the theft of a pack of cigarettes in 1991 when she was 18 years old.  

Over the last two decades, she became married, paid for college, received a degree in architecture, had two kids, and is gainfully employed designing jet engines for a major aircraft manufacturer.

A cruise for 4 aboard a Disney cruise ship is a pricey ticket. And I bet she is a good mom who planned to take her kids to Disney World as well.  Certainly the economy of Florida benefits from her paying for the cruise out of a local port, flying into a local airport, renting a car or taking a taxi, paying tolls, buying food and staying in hotels.     

But instead we'll let the taxpayers pay for her to sit in jail in the Brevard County jailhouse which will not let her post bail because the court costs were levied in Orange County and she has to be transferred from Brevard County before she can be bonded out. It looks like she may spend as long as 4 or 5 days in jail before she is transferred to Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerOrlando and released. 

Arresting a mother of two for non-payment of $85 in court costs is ludicrous. Why not arrest grandmothers for library books returned late? Yes, personal accountability is important but an arrest for $85 in court costs after 22 years given the significant amount of violent crimes on cruise ships today?

Ridiculous!  

I thought about giving the "worst in the world" award to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office because it does such a poor job arresting child predators and rapists on cruise ships. The port police and sheriff's department in Brevard seem to look the other way when foreign crew members steal jewelry and iPhones and computers from passengers on the high seas.

But I thought that the award should go to the news station, WESH-2 in Orlando, which ran the preposterous story. In addition to its article on line which you can read here, the news station aired a sensational piece showing the woman's mug shot, video of the woman in hand-cuffs, images of her being placed in the jail cell, photos of barb wire and high fences of the jail house, and the woman sobbing in contrition.

Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerIn a cruise industry with an alarmingly bad record for drunken shipboard violence and un-prosecuted sex crimes against women and children, we have the action team at WESH-2 grilling a mother over $85 dating back to when she was a teenager.    

The news station included video of the news reporter, Dan Billow (resembling Will Ferrell in his role as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman), chastising the poor woman in jail with these comments:

So, you know, isn't that just tough luck? This is your, er', problem. Uhm, I mean, you're the one who did this . . .     

Billow ends the nasty little segment with a friendly reminder to his viewing audience:

So it's worth remembering, before taking a cruise, pay any unpaid traffic tickets or any other outstanding legal matters, or a dream vacation might wind up like ****'s.

Thanks Dan, asshole! 

WESH-2 OrlandoCruise Ship Arrest 

Leave a comment below or discuss the case on our Facebook page.  

News story & images: WESH-2 Orlando

Cruise Law News Facebook Page Reaches 25,000 "Likes"

A few minutes ago, Cruise Law News hit a milestone with the 25,000th person "liking" our page on facebook.

For the longest time, our involvement with social media involved mostly this blog and our feed on Twitter, CruiseLaw.  

What I have observed this year is that our Twitter feed (with over 10,000 followers) is largely followed by cruise passengers, travel agents and cruise line employees. Most of the people on Twitter who follow us reside in the U.S. In contrast, our facebook page is mostly "liked" by many thousands of crew members from around the world. We have made friends with lots of crew members from India, Cruise Law News - Cruise Ship Crew MembersRomania, Croatia, Serbia and Jamaica on facebook.   

The other thing that I have noticed is that crew members and other friends from outside the U.S. are far more likely to interact with us on facebook.  They leave comments on facebook. The people who read our articles and interact with us on facebook far outreach the number of people who socialize with us on twitter or contact us after subscribing to this blog.

For example, after a number of crew members went overboard from Royal Caribbean cruise ships a few months ago, I posted a couple of comments asking whether Royal Caribbean was working its crew members too hard.  One of the posts was read by over 350,000 people on facebook.  Another posting about the working conditions on Celebrity cruise ships was read by over 100,000 people. We also had many hundreds of comments to these articles, mostly by crew members who have first hand knowledge of what "ship life" is really like.

Crew members are the backbone of our law practice.  Yes we have assisted many hundreds of cruise passengers over the years. But the majority of our clients are crew members (like the crew member above from Trinidad).

Whether they are crew members or not, the biggest supporters of this blog reside outside of the U.S.  The last four people to "like" our page were "Raja" from India, "Natalija" from Croatia, "Novi" from Bosnia & Herzegovina, with "J.J." from South Africa being the 25,000th person to like our page. I have learned that the international community has a different perspective about things than Americans do. People outside the U.S. are far more sympathetic to the hard times many crew members face.  Most Americans, on the other hand, just want a nice cruise vacation. Long hours and low pay are not their concerns.   

Crew members often leave us messages on facebook, asking us for help or informal advice about their rights on cruise ships. Often crew members from places like India, Indonesia or the Caribbean islands have no one to turn to for information while working long contracts on the high seas far away from home. Problems with supervisors, long hours, bad medical care, prejudice & sexual harassment put crew members in a stressful situation. We are pleased to respond without any obligation. We hope that we can help you.

Our blog is read over a million times each year. Thanks for helping us spread the word on facebook. If you have information about working conditions on cruise ships and things that need fixing in the cruise industry, send us tips. We promise to maintain your confidentiality.  

If you are a cruise ship employee, thanks for "liking" us on facebook and reading this blog. If it is helpful to you, recommend us to a friend. Share our articles with your past or present crew member friends. Help us get the word out about "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know."  

Cruise Law News Celebrates Three Year Anniversary!

This month marks the three year anniversary of my blog, Cruise Law News ("CLN").

I started this blog in September 2009 with the goal of writing about "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know." There has been a lot to write about.

Shipboard rapes. Molestation of children. Mistreatment of foreign crew members. Overboard passengers and crew. Cruise line cover-ups. You can read it all here.

Three years later, CLN has now published over 1,100 articles and received over 3,200 comments from our readers. The CLN Twitter feed has over 10,000 followers, plus those who subscribe to the blog via email, RSS feed, or Google reader.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about CLN lately is the explosion of our readership on our Facebook page. Over 18,500 people have "liked" CLN's Facebook and are spreading the word.

All of the drama following the Costa Concordia disaster has driven our readership up considerably. So far this year, 724,328 people have read 2,575,675 pages of Cruise Law News.

Being popular is nice, but being influential in shaping cruise news is where the real satisfaction comes Cruise Law News - Cruise Ship Crimefrom. The national and international press have carried our message to the public  You can read about the over 35 major newspapers, television and documentaries which have mentioned our firm and/or cited our blog this year, below.

Just this this week Fort Lauderdale's Sun Sentinel quoted CLN in an article about the latest passenger overboard from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. While Royal Caribbean was boasting that it "immediately" notified the Coast Guard, we pointed out that in truth the cruise line waited over 2 hours to do so.  A few days later we were the first in the U.S. to report on a crew member who disappeared from another Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Serenade of the Seas

The Concordia fallout led to two Congressional hearings this year which we attended and blogged from Washington D.C. about the cruise industry's strategy to bamboozle the public about the safety of cruising. (Photo above right, with members of the International Cruise Victims' organization).     

Chris Owens, a popular cruise blogger who writes for Gadling, characterized our blog as follows:

"Jim Walker’s Cruise Law News adds a sobering tone to what can be an industry that sometimes gets a bit wrapped up in itself, asking and answering tough questions about current maritime matters. First on the doorstep of cruise lines when things go wrong, Walker also does not hesitate to jump into the conversation when passengers have unreasonable demands."

This year we have been very vocal about the sad state of affairs of the cruise industry post Costa Concordia, as well as the plight of families of missing loved ones on cruise ships.  Below is a video from Australia's Dateline regarding the disturbing disappearance of Disney youth counselor Rebecca Coriam from the Bahamian-flagged Disney Wonder.  This is a case where, in my opinion, the Bahamian police and the Disney corporation have stonewalled the grieving family at every turn.  

A heartfelt thanks to the readers of this blog. Many thanks to those I don't know but who send me anonymous tips about things that the cruise lines are trying to cover up.  

Finally, thanks to everyone who helps me write about "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know."    

 

 

In this year (2012) alone, CLN and our clients have been featured on CNN's Wolf Blitzer & Erin Burnett, Wall street Journal's "Cruise Safety, a Century After Titanic," Australian Sun Herald's "Boozy Cruises a Recipe For Disaster Expert Warns," Travel Agent Central's "Lawsuits Target Carnival in the U.S. But Will They Succeed?," Examiner's "Costa Favolosa Dancer From South Africa Lost At Sea," USA TODAY's  "Stats Don't Fully Account For All Cruise-Ship Crime," ABC News' "Vacation Danger: Is Cruise Ship Liable for Perils on Shore Excursions?," Virgin Islands Daily News' "Court Rules Lawsuit Over Slain Teen Tourist Should Be Heard," Washington Post's "Dumped in the Caribbean," Newsweek's "The Hidden Horrors of Cruise Ships," CNN's "Cruise Victims Get Minimum Compensation," CNN's "Cruise to Disaster," Daily Business Review's "Lawyer Wins $1.25 Million in Arbitration For Employee Injured Aboard Cruise Ship," South Florida Business Journal's Is Salon Article A Smoking Gun On Cruise Line Crime Stats?, Greenwich Magazine's "Who Killed George Smith?," PBS / NOVA Cruise Special: "Why Ships Sink," Houston Chronicle's "Court Leaves Galveston Cruise Ship Departure Uncertain Until Last Minute," Date Line's "Lost at Sea," Herald Sun's "Cruise Ships Perfect Ground for Predators," 20/20 "Costa Concordia Crash," CNBC's "Travel: Do You Need Medical Evacuation Insurance?," CTV / Canadian Television's "Crime, Fires Compromise Cruise Ship Safety: Experts," International Herald Tribune / New York Times' "Disaster Cripples Cruiser, Not Cruising," Washington Post's "Costa Concordia Sinking Leaves Other Cruise Ship Passengers Alarmed — And Out Of Luck," Cleveland Plain Dealer's "Cruise Ship Accident Prompts Questions About Industry Safety," Examiner"s Passengers Blame Carnival Corporation for Costa Concordia Wreck," Washington Post's "The Ship Sailed, But They Didn't;" and Barbados Free Press' Cruise Ship Horror Stories Good for Island Tourism?

Have You Liked Us On Facebook Yet?

Cruise Law News has been on line since September 2009.  We have several thousand people who subscribed via e-mail, RSS or Google Reader.  A little over !0,000 people have followed us on Twitter over the last three years. Most of the subscribers and Twitter followers are from the U.S. with many travel agents, cruise planners, and regular cruisers reading the blog. 

But our readership has changed dramatically over the last several months. In June, I started posting information regularly on Cruise Law News' facebook page. I've added lots of stories and photos which are not in my blog.

Since June, over 13,000 people have liked us on facebook. The majority of the new readers are from Europe, South America and India. From Europe, we have seen an unprecedented number of people from Romania, Serbia and Croatia liking us. Many are crew members or former crew members.   We receive more comments to our face book page than on my blog.

If you haven't done so, consider going to our facebook page and clicking the like button.  Leave us a comment and give us your thoughts about our page.

Thanks for reading . . . 

 

Costa Concordia - Cruise Ship

I'll Take a Compliment Wherever I Can Get One

When I created Cruise Law News back in September 2009, my goal was to raise awareness of safety issues on cruise ships.  I wanted my articles to be interesting and, perhaps, provocative in order to spark debate about the cruise industry with the goal of making cruising safer for both passengers and crew. 

Back then I really didn't care (and still don't today) whether readers agree or disagree with me.  I care only that you have an opinion about issues like cruise ship crimes, people who vanish at sea, and exploitation of foreign crewmembers.  These are dramatic issues and deserve an energetic debate.

My thought process about cruise issues has changed over the years.  Some of my opinions have hardened, while other opinions have softened.  I especially value the dialogue that I has developed with the "enemy" - those readers of my blog "in the industry" - cruise fans, cruise employees and travel agents. Not many cruise fans agree with me, but that's not my goal. 

One thing I do like tracking is the number of people who write hate mail.  I know that's a weird thing to do.  The most hate mail comes after I write or appear on TV about crimes on cruise ships or in ports of call. It's the one subject that freaks travel agents out.      

It's easy to spot the cruise line shills because they leave their IP address when they comment. I can't tell who reads my blogs but if you leave a comment here's a secret - I can see the IP address of your server.  Its funny when an "anonymous" reader from Carnival or Royal Caribbean flames me (yes it happens).  I know that I am on target.  

Negative emails to me outnumber positive ones by a 3 to 1 ratio.  Few people write just to say "good job, have a nice day."  I find that many people in life are primarily motivated by anger when their interests are being challenged. If someone is going to take the time to write me, they are usually angry about something I wrote or said about their cruise line or their business of selling cruises.  They are going to let me know about it.    

But today I read a nice article about my blog from the cruise blog "Ship Detective - Cruise Travel News & Commentary."  I don't know the people at this blog. But they seem to understand the point of Cruise Law News better than anyone else: 

"I don’t always agree with Mr. Walker’s views but of course that’s not the point. Cruise Law News highlights passenger safety and reminds us of the realities of cruising."

Thanks Ship Detective.  You have precisely articulated the purpose of my little blog. For that I am appreciative.

 

Here's the article: 

"As much as I avoid listening to attorneys who advertise or promote themselves publicly, I did subscribe to the Cruise Law News feed, published by Jim Walker, a maritime attorney based in Miami. I didn’t want to like this guy, Jim Walker, and in my mind labeled him an opportunist lawyer in-search-of business.

Now I’m feeling a bit of shame for not giving Mr. Walker the benefit of the doubt, instead slapping a negative label on him as a guy who wanted to dramatize every maritime incident just to stir the pot. After a few months of reading his posts, I found Mr. Walker to be level-headed, even-tempered and he encourages cruise ship passengers to question authority. The commentary is informative, sometimes dramatic, and applicable to the culture of cruising - something we highlight considerably on our website. I don’t always agree with Mr. Walker’s views but of course that’s not the point. Cruise Law News highlights passenger safety and reminds us of the realities of cruising.

Thank you Mr. Walker for your valuable insight. Your posts keep track of all the legal goings-on in the cruise industry and helps me tremendously with my daily search for cruise news.

So readers, stay informed and check-out the Cruise Law News blog. Knowledge is power!

Happy Cruising!"

Who's Reading Cruise Law News?

One of the interesting things about having a website or blog is that it is easy to see how many people are clicking on your site and reading your stuff.

Google Analytics is an easy (and free) program that lets me see how many people visit Cruise Law News, how long they stay and how many pages they look at.  It interesting to see where the readers are based and what page they look at.  

The analytics program has been around for years. 

For the first four months of this year, 392,335 unique visitors have made 470,053 visits and looked at 1,385,586 pages.  The Costa Concordia disaster brought in a number of new readers. 

Costa Concordia Cruise DisasterAll types of statistics are available.  One of the more interesting statistics is how many people are reading Cruise Law News blog on a regular basis as opposed to randomly appearing from search engine results and quickly leaving.

22,904 people have read the blog 9 or more times in the last four months.  So I have a small town of people who are reading it over 2 times a month.  

The most interesting statistic is that 2,296 people have each read Cruise Law News over 200 times since the beginning of the year.  That's more than once a day for the past four month. Many leave comments or call or email me with tips for stories. 

I'd like to think that Cruise Law News is providing information and a perspective that you can't anywhere else.  Maybe, maybe not.  Our motto is "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know . . . " 

If you are a daily reader, take a moment and leave a comment about what you like (and dislike) about the blog. Are there topics about the cruise industry which I am overlooking?  Are there regular readers who would like to write a guest blog? 

Be sure to subscribe by entering your email address in the box at the left, or sign up for our RSS feed. Like our facebook page too.

Thanks for reading! 

Cruise Law News: A Look Back at 2011

As this year comes to a close, it's time to look back at some of events of 2011.

Jewel of the Seas Crew Member InjuryLast year started out with a bang.  Our firm represented a seriously injured crewmember in a case against Royal Caribbean.  Our client sustained a debilitating back injury, underwent an unsuccessful surgery, and needed a second surgery which the cruise line refused to provide.  In January, a three member arbitration panel found that Royal Caribbean's refusal to provide the surgery "lacked any reasonable defense" and awarded the crewmember $1,250,000.  You can read  the decision here.

The award was featured in Miami's Daily Business Review, which you can read here.  It is the highest reported arbitration award for an injured crewmember to date.     

In ten days, we will begin a trial against Royal Caribbean on behalf of another crewmember who suffered a severe back injury, underwent an unsuccessful surgery and needs a second operation which the cruise line refuses to authorize.  Sound familiar?   Check back in a couple of weeks for the results of our first trial in 2012.   

Shortly after the Royal Caribbean award, we received bad news when a federal judge in Miami summarily ended one of our cases against Royal Caribbean where a young woman was severely injured while receiving private lessons on a FlowRider and underwent four surgeries.  The cruise line Royal Caribbean FlowRidertried to end the case based on a "liability waiver" which passengers are required to sign before participating in FlowRider activities as well as rock climbing, skating and other activities.  Liability waivers are illegal in maritime cases.  To our surprise the court granted the cruise line's motion, notwithstanding a federal statute clearly stating that liability waivers on the high seas are unenforceable.

The decision sent a shock wave through the Miami maritime legal community because liability waivers in maritime matters have been unenforceable for decades.  The defense lawyers for the cruise lines were giddy.  They spoke openly of requiring cruise passengers to sign liability waivers for everything from playing shuffleboard to exercising in the gym to swimming in the cruise ship's pool.  We appealed.  The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's ruling and held that cruise line liability waivers are illegal and unenforceable, even if they involve ultra-hazardous or inherently dangerous activities.  The decision is a great result that will protect cruise passengers for years to come.

The past year included the usual number of stories of cruise ship drug smuggling, sexual assaults, shipboard malpractice, serious injuries and passengers and crew disappearing under suspicious circumstances - everything the cruise lines don't want you to know about.

Jonathan Aronson - Lisa O'Neill - Jim Walker2011 was the first full year where our co-counsel Jonathan Aronson worked with us on cases.  Mr. Aronson was one of the best maritime attorneys in Florida who used to defend cases for Royal Caribbean until he switched sides to representing passengers and crewmembers.  The cruise line spent a small fortune trying to disqualify him and our firm from representing clients against it.  It lost.  We won. And most importantly, our clients benefited from having an excellent and highly experienced maritime attorney join our team.     

Our blog, Cruise Law News (CLN), enjoyed another popular year, ending up the number 11 most popular law blog per the Avvo/Alexa rankings.  This month over 53,000 people read over 156,000 pages of CLN. Here are some of the cruise highlights and lowlifes CLN covered:  

Mickey Mouse games by Disney Cruise Lines:  The Disappearance of Youth Counselor Rebecca Coriam  Things are not as they seem in the Magical Kingdom's fleet of cruise ships. 

The most reckless cruise passenger "rescue" I have ever seen:  Cruise Passenger Dropped into Freezing Waters During Botched Rescue  The crew should have been arrested.  And speaking of being arrested:  

Best articles in the spirit of "Occupy Wallstreet:"  Royal Caribbean Executives Get Richer While Crew Members Get Poorer and Royal Caribbean Stock Fraud Lawsuits - What Did the Cruise Line Executives Know and When Did They Know It? 

Royal Caribbean Executives - Richard Fain - Adam GoldsteinThe saddest article and the most facebook "likes" for a single article:  Tragedy on HAL's Half Moon Cay: A Mother's Perspective (366 likes)

The most likes for drugs on the world's largest gay cruise:  Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas (299 likes)

Weirdest story:  Woman Alleges False Imprisonment on Scientology Cruise Ship "Freewinds"

Second weirdest story:  Life In Jail For Cruise Passenger Who Threw Wife Overboard

Third weirdest story:  Accused Royal Caribbean Cruises Rapist Sues Bahamas for Spending Four Nights in Jail After Acquittal

Best April Fools story:  Breaking News: Carnival Cruise Lines Incorporates in the U.S. and Subjects Itself to U.S. Labor, Wage, Safety and Environmental Regulations  

Cruise Ship DisasterMost negative reaction to an article:  Gun Fight in Cabo San Lucas: Is it Safe to Cruise to Mexico?

Best series of articles:  Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later

Best article written by a guest blogger:  Top 10 Shocking Clauses In Your Cruise Contract

Best videos:  Top Five Worst Cruise Ship Disaster Videos

My favorite personal articles:  Are Cruise Ships Ruining Venice Or Just Memories From My Youth? and A View From A Fifth Grader - Gaddafi Finally Falls 42 Years Later 

Thanks to our readers, friends, and supporters for making CLN a success.  Don't forget to follow us on Twitter and our Cruise Law News facebook page.

Do you have a question about cruise law?   Don't hesitate to email me - jwalker@cruiselaw.com.

Jim Walker

Cruise Law News Roundup - November 27, 2011

Its been another exciting week in the world of cruising.

Over 50,000 cruise passengers arrived or departed aboard eight ships at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, setting a new world record for most people entering/leaving a port according to the Sun Sentinel.  The newspaper reports that the Oasis of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Carnival Miracle, Grand Princess, Crown Princess, Eurodam and MSC Poesia were in port.

The Oasis of the Seas also made the news with a report that 54 passengers and 10 employees reported being sick with an undisclosed illness.   The cruise line said that the cruise ship will undergo a "thorough cleaning" as a precaution before it's next sailing, whatever that means.

Speaking of undisclosed cruise ship illnesses, one passenger is dead and 80 sick on the HAL Veendam when it reached Brazil.  HAL immediately said the death has nothing to do with the shipboard illnesses.  HAL' s PR department must be some kind of experts in epidemiology Fort Lauderdale Cruise Ships - Port Canaveraland forensic medicine to make such a finding without even conducting an autopsy.

The LA Times reports that the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 77 year old passenger showing signs of a stroke.  She was evacuated from the Carnival Spirit cruise ship by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter dispatched from San Diego 230 miles southwest of San Diego on Saturday.  You can watch the amazing video of the rescue here.

Celebrity got hit with a $1,000,000 jury verdict after trying to save money by sending a 31 year old chef to the Dominican Republic where doctors improperly inserted a pacemaker which the young man did not need in the first place.  

A cruise passenger on a "banana boat" ride was seriously injured when struck in St. Kitts by another cruise passenger on a jet ski.  This comes just two weeks after a Celebrity cruise passenger was killed and her daughter was seriously injured during a parasail mishap in St. Thomas.  

The usual number of cruise passengers were foolish enough to buy pot in the Caribbean where one island will sell you reefer and the next island will fine you several thousands of dollars which the U.S. tourists are happy to pay to avoid a year or two in jail.  You can read about the fun and games here and here.

Cruise fans are still debating whether its safe to travel to Mexico, but no one in the U.S. except Cruise Law News is reporting on stories like this where 6 armed rob a jewelry store in Puerto Vallarta across from the cruise terminal when HAL cruise passengers are walking around in the shopping square.  This comes  couple weeks after a shoot-out in Cabo San Lucas, another story the cruise lines and travel agents won't mention. 

Shhh, don't alarm the cruise tourists, its bad for business.  

Bermuda Flag of Convenience - Cunard Queen Elizabeth Cruise ShipTurning overseas to the U.K., many British citizens are still fuming that Cunard decided to end its relationship with Britain and elected to register its cruise ships in Bermuda.  Mail Online published an interesting photo today of the Queen Elizabeth no longer bearing the port of "Southampton" on its stern and about to be painted with "Hamilton," the capital of Bermuda. 

Cunard claims that it did this in order for its ship captains to marry passengers at sea.  Most people believe that Cunard choose a flag of convenience in order to avoid British and European wage and labor laws. 

The Seattle Post reports that starting December 1st cruise ships will be prohibited from discharging wastewater into a protected marine sanctuary off the outer coast of Washington state's Olympic Peninsula.  The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary covers 2,408 square nautical miles and provides a habitat to many species of fish, seabirds and marine mammals.  Our family spent time kayaking up there last summer.  Its great news that an environmental group is keeping the cruise ship pee and poop out of the sanctuary. 

November has been a record month for Cruise Law News ("CLN").  Over 70,000 people read over 200,000 pages.  Outside the U.S., the most readers of CLN are from (in order) Canada, the U.K., Australia, Mexico and India.

 

Photo credits:

Top:  Jim Walker

Bottom:  Mail Online

November 20, 2011 Cruise Law RoundUp

This past month has seen a number of incredible stories about the cruise industry.

TOXIC CRUISE WATER?  The Sunday Times in London published a blockbuster article about a British paint inspector, Brian Bradford, who was kicked off a NCL cruise ship after complaining about health risks which may be posed to cruise passengers and crew by a Hempel paint coating which was applied to potable water tanks on NCL and Royal Caribbean cruise ships.  Whistle blower Bradford was hit with a "super injunction" to gag him from talking about the by the paint or Tocix Cruise Water?discussing anything about his inspection of the cruise ships in question. 

Its really amazing how corporations can endanger the public and then use their lawyers to cover the danger up.   

The only ones to report on the story have been cruise expert Ross Klein in Canada and the British press.  We are the only one talking about it here in the U.S.  Most U.S. newspapers (the LA Times and NY Times being the exceptions) are in the hip pocket of the cruise lines.  They accept cruise advertising revenue and publish colorful travel sections in their newspapers about the joys of cruising, but they look the other way when the cruise lines screw up.  Our local newspaper, the Miami Herald, is absolutely the pits.  But this story is far from over.  It is only a matter of time before someone in the U.S. other than our small blog pays attention to it.   

DISNEY COVER-UP?  The other blockbuster article was by another British newspaper, the Guardian, which published a story about missing Disney Cruise youth counselor Rebecca Coriam.  The article was featured in the newspaper's weekend edition with a photo of the Wonder cruise ship (below) on the cover.  The article was written by U.K. journalist, documentary filmmaker, and best selling author Jon Ronson who sailed on the Wonder for a week to gather information.  Disney Cruise Cover Up? For a cruise line that supposedly caters to children and families, its disturbing to think that Disney is more concerned with its Magical Kingdom illusion than the distraught Coriam family.

ANOTHER CRUISE LINE HIDES BEHIND DOHSA:  The most read article this month was from a guest blogger, a mother who wrote about the death of her three year old daughter in HAL's Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.  Most cruise passengers do not understand that there is no recovery for pain, suffering, grief and bereavement when a cruise line's negligence kills a child.     

CRUISE FIRES, CRIME, DEATH AND ANOTHER OVERBOARD:  This month we have seen the usual type of calamities which you will never read on a cruise line or travel agents web site: a fire in the Red Sea which forced the evacuation of 1,200, another cruise fire which destroyed a Russian river cruise boat, an overboard passenger from a NCL cruise ship in Falmouth, Jamaica, the sentencing of a "serial rapist" to 10 years in jail after the rape of a 13 year old girl on a Carnival ship, life imprisonment for murder for a passenger who threw his wife overboard, and the death last week of a 60 year old woman and serious injury to her daughter on a Celebrity sponsored parasailing accident in St. Thomas.

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL CRUISE VICTIMS ("ICV"):  If these type of stories concern you, consider International Cruise Victims - Cruise Crime - Cruise Disappearancesjoining the ICV which is a grass roots victims' organization consisting of families of passengers and crewmembers who have been injured or lost at sea during cruises.  You can read about the ICV here.

GOOD NEWS FOR CRUISE LAW NEWS ("CLN"):  Our readership continues to grow.  So far this month, over 44,000 unique readers clicked on our blog and read over 127,000 pages.  If statistics mean anything, CLN ranks as the 12th most popular law blog according to AVVO/Alexa.  I'm convinced that people flock to our blog because there simply is no place else to read stories about cruising that the cruise lines don't want you know about. 

If you have a story you want us to cover, let us hear from you.    

Cruise Law News Celebrates Two Year Anniversary

This month marks the two year anniversary of the first publication of Cruise Law News ("CLN").

My first blog was back on September 7, 2009.  Since then I have written around 700 blogs about all types of disturbing and weird things that happen on cruise ships.

As I predicted two years ago, cruise lines and travel agents cringe daily at the articles.  But hopefully, you have learned about issues that the cruise industry PR machine and the happy-go-lucky cruise fanatics don’t want you to know.  And hopefully you are safer in the process. 

In the past two years, the public has read over 1,300,000 pages of CLN.  My little blog is currently ranked as the 13th most popular law blog per the AVVO / Alexa ranking system, for what that's worth.  1,630 people have taken the time to leave a comment, some negative and some pro. 

I hope that you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  Here are some of my favorite articles over the last two years:

Most read article: Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas  The public can't resist a story about a drug dealer busted on a gay cruise aboard the world's largest cruise ship, National Inquirer anyone?

Most popular article: The Splendor Cruise Ship Fire - Three Reasons Why You Will Lose If You Sue Carnival  The blog was picked up by the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, the ABA Journal, South Business Law Journal, Gadling, Slate, the U.K.'s Guardian and others.  Everyone loves it when a Sex Machine - Adam Goldsteinpersonal injury lawyer tells the public not to sue following a cruise disaster . . .    

Most ironic articles:  Former Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Captain Dies of Legionnaire's Disease After Sailing on Liberty of the Seas and Cruise Passengers Attacked & Robbed in Antigua While Cruise and Tourism Officials Meet

Best article with the word "sex" in the title: Marketing "Sex at Sea" on Cruise Ships (includes my favorite photo of a cruise line executive, in bed with booze surrounded by women with the Royal Caribbean logo across their bikini tops??)

Most comments to an article:  Crew Member Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas 

Second most comments to an article:  Another Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship? - Oasis of the Seas  

Most positive reaction to an article:  Royal Caribbean "Returns" to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® - While Haiti Suffers

Most negative reaction to an article:  Royal Caribbean "Returns" to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® - While Haiti Suffers

Splendor - carnival Cruise Fire Happiest article:  Three Happy Cruise Stories - Salvation, Generosity & Rebirth

Most inspiring article:  The Compelling Story of Jamie Barnett - Living Through the Loss

Saddest article:  More Caribbean Crime - Carnival Passenger Killed In St. Thomas

Most disturbing article: Neither Dead Nor Alive - The Faliva Family Remains In Limbo

Most bitter article: What Does BP, Al Qaeda and a Cruise Line Have In Common?  Unfortunately you have to lose a loved one before you can figure the answer out.

Scariest articles:  Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise ShipCarnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger and Most Wanted Rape Suspect Arrested On Carnival Cruise Ship - Worked As Manager Of Onboard Hair Salon

Best social media articles: The Cruise Industry's Reputation - A Sinking Image and Travel Writers and the Ethics of Reporting Cruise News

Best series of articles:  Top 10 Reasons Not To Cruise  

Clelia II - Video - StormBest article the cruise lines don't want you to read:  "Cruise Ship Sickness" - Is Norovirus In The Food and Water? 

Most terrifying cruise video (over 326,000 views and counting!): The Clelia II Skirts Disaster Again in Antarctica

Best sports article:  Oysters, Dixie Beer & My New Orleans Saints

Best personal article:  Switching Sides And Finding Your Soul

Best article not read by the cruise industry: Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything? 

Thanks to my readers, friends, supporters, detractors and enemies for making Cruise Law News a success.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and my Cruise Law News facebook page

 

Bottom photo credit: Clelia II   Fiona Stewart/Garett McIntosh (via jonbowermaster.com)

Cruise Law News RoundUp - July 18, 2011

The big news this week is the sad story of the sinking of the Bulgaria cruise ship on the Volga river.  The 1955 era ship was considered a rust bucket.  On the day in question, it sailed with a malfunctioning engine, listing to one side, and overloaded with passengers.  When a storm turned the ship sideways, the captain could not right the vessel and it rolled and sank.  Over 100 people Bulgaria Cruise Ship Disasterperished, mostly women and children.  The international press is calling the tragedy the Russian Titanic.

Last week marked the six year anniversary of the suspicious death of George Smith.  We ran a series of articles Disappearance of George Smith IV - Six Years Later.

Royal Caribbean is placing pressure on the city of Key West to dredge and fill a path through the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in order to widen the shipping lane into the harbor to accommodate its Genesis class of cruise ships, according to the Key Noter newspaper.   If the channel is not widened, the cruise line threatens to bypass Key West and head straight to Mexico.  However, dredging will destroy coral and sea fan resources.  Currently, some 800,000 cruise passengers unload into Key West every year.  Some residents expressed concern that adding even more cruise tourists from mega ships like the Allure and the Oasis will degrade the overall experience of visiting Key West and turn it into an "amusement park like atmosphere," transforming Duval Street into "redneck Disney World meets Myrtle Beach."

Robert McGill - Murder - Carnival ElationCarnival cruise passenger Robert McGill, aged 57, admitted killing his wife of five years, Shirley McGill, after an argument during a five-night cruise aboard the Elation to Cabo San Lucas in July 2009.  I blogged about this bizarre case last year -Prosecutors May Seek Death Penalty In Carnival Cruise Murder Case.

Regarding firm news, Cruise Radio interviewed me regarding a legal case.  Cruise Law News is the number 15th most popular law blog per the Alexa / Avvo rankings.  AOL Travel / Gadling published an article - "Death by Cruise Ship? It Can Come in Several Ways" which mentioned our firm.   The article cited our series on the disappearance of George Smith and featured a video of me on the Scarborough show.  Wow, did I lose a lot of hair in the past six years.

Princess Cruises showed how not to handle customer complaints by abandoning a honeymoon couple in St. Thomas (the crime capital in the Caribbean) and then dumping a passenger who Captain Stubing - Love Boatneeded a blood transfusion in Montego Bay, allegedly causing her to suffer brain injuries.  

Where is Captain Stubing and the Love Boat Doc when you need them? 

I ended the week with an article on the long hours and low pay which cruise ship cleaners receive: Long Hours, Repetitive Injuries & Bad Medical Care Plague Royal Caribbean Crewmembers.   Imagine working 330 hours a month for around $550. Turns out to be $1.67 hour or so. 

But don't worry.  When you sustain a serious repetitive hand injury, the cruise lines will send you back to Jamaica for surgery. 

Oh, I forgot, there are no hand surgeons in Jamaica.

Cruise Law News Goes Mobile

Yesterday I bought a Blackberry PlayBook.  Small and compact and new to the market, the PlayBook is supposed to compete with the iPad 2.  Its screen is only 3 and 1/2 by 6 inches.  It has everything on it.  I can blog, prepare legal pleadings, and email outside of the office.  The PlayBook also has a camera which takes crystal clear photos and video. 

This is the first blog I have written away from my office or home office.

I will be traveling on vacation with my family for the next three weeks and I wanted to be sure to have a notebook that was tethered to my Blackberry handheld and the office computers.  The PlayBook seems to be the right choice.  I tried the iPad 2 but it would not support my blogging platform.  The PlayBook works great.  I can use the touchscreen keypad or a larger wireless keypad. 

Even though I will be on the road for the next three weeks, there will be no interruption of Cruise Law News articles.  So please stay in touch.  If you know about an interesting issue involving the cruise industry, please contact me.  Let me turn your tip into a story that a hundred thousand people will read.

Cruise Law News - Blackberry PlayBook

Cruise Law News Wins Shorty Award in Law

It's official.  Cruise Law is the top vote receiver in the Shorty Awards contest in crowd-sourced field of law for 2011. 

For those of you who follow this blog or interact with me on Twitter, you know that I am a lawyer who believes in the power of communicating via the social media of blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

Last year I tied for first place in the law category.  I then did the chivalrous thing of voting for my Shorty Award - Lawopponent, a lawyer in England, to break the tie.  Yes I believe in Karma.  What goes around comes  around.  This year I won in a landslide. 

So what is the significance of the Shorty Awards in law?  The Shorty Awards people say that the award recognizes the "best people and organizations on Twitter and social media."  

Our blog is just 18 months old but has been a top 10 most popular blog for going on a year now.

If you are looking for an insight into what is happening in the off-shore, multi-national, tax avoiding, and non-sustainable cruise industry - you will find it here first.  

Cruise Law News: State of the Union January 2011

Year 2011 began with a bang at Cruise Law News ("CLN").

CLN was the first publication in the U.S. to cover some of the most newsworthy stories about the cruise industry this year. 

We started the year by pointing out that the new president (Christine Duffy) of the the cruise industry's trade organization, the Cruise Line International Association ("CLIA"), has carried on CLIA's Pinocchio-like tradition of tall tales by telling her first lie.  And it was only the third day of the new year!    

Royal Caribbean's reputation of having the most passengers overboards and the least transparent PR department is alive and well n 2011.  Two weeks ago, we reported that  a 21 year old passenger fell from Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas as it approached Belize.  The local press Jim Waker Cruise Law News Blogin Belize speculated wildly (seemingly to RCCL's approval)  that the passenger may have committed suicide (the cruise lines' favorite excuse).  The U.S. newspapers (especially the worthless Miami Herald) ignored the story.  

CLN was the the first U.S. publication to explain what really happened.  In our artice - "Another Passenger Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship" - many passengers including the missing young man's family posted comments about the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.  We caught someone criticizing the family on our blog's comment section using a computer connection which we traced back to the Royal Caribbean headquarters.  Sick!

Talking about sick cruise lines, we covered the first case of "cruise ship sickness" (CLIA hates that expression) which occurred on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas.  Sixty-five passengers left comments about the experience.  Yuck.  The cruise line went to its PR playbook, diverted attention away from its own food and water, and blamed the passengers, as usual, for not washing their hands.   

The month so far has seen CLN report on a crew member child porno addict (allegedly mind you) who worked as an audio visual manager and provided onboard guest-entertainment services on the Constellation cruise ship operated by Royal Caribbean's sister line Celebrity Cruises.  

This month CLN covered the bizarre cruise story of a child predator / defrocked catholic priest who was accused of molesting 33 little girls.  Yet, a local cruise company (Voyages of Discovery) was more than pleased to let him buy a cruise ticket.   We also blogged about yet another drug smuggling ring on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, this time the Explorer of the Seas.    

Our readership is exploding.   

Yesterday, we had well over 5,000 people read our blog.  Weekends are usually slower than weekdays, so 5,000 readers a day is a lot of people clicking on CLN.  So far this month, over 70,000 pages of CLN have been read.  We are on track for over a million people reading CLN a year.  We had more readers in one day yesterday than in our first month when the blog started in September 2009! 

CLN remains the number 10 top law blog in the world based on the Alexa / AVVO popularity rankings, and a top 25 influencer in the world of social media involving the cruise industry.

Last week, CLN was featured on Cruise Radio, the most popular cruise related radio show in the world, about how to stay safe on cruise ships.  As the host mentioned, we "gave some brutal but honest facts.  It's a great reminder" about cruise ship safety. Take a listen here.

CLN is also in first place in the Shorty Awards in law.  It's admittedly a faux award, but its purpose is to recognize the "best people and organizations on Twitter and social media."  

The state of the union for Cruise Law News - is strong!  We are having a lot of fun too!

Merry Christmas from Cruise Law News - Its a Wonderful Life!

Its that time of the year to be thankful for your family and friends as we celebrate Christmas.

Many, many thanks to my friends, clients and extended family.  

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Cruise Law News!  And don't forget, Its a Wonderful Life -   

 

Cruise Law RoundUp - Cruise Fire, Ambulance Chasers, and More Caribbean Crime

This has been an exciting week in the crazy world of cruising. 

The Allure of the Seas Arrives in South Florida, But No One Noticed:  Last Thursday Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas, the world's biggest cruise ship, arrived in its home port of Port Everglades after sailing across the Atlantic from the shipyard.  The Allure joins its sister ship in the Genesis class, the Oasis of the Seas, in Fort Lauderdale. Unlike the great fanfare surrounding the Oasis' arrival last December, the Allure's debut in South Florida was largely a non-event.  The little publicity Allure of the Seassurrounding the mega cruise ship's arrival was overshadowed by the spectacle taking place on the west coast of the U.S., as tugs towed the disabled Splendor to San Diego following an engine room fire which left the Carnival cruise ship dead in the water off of the coast of Mexico.  

Bigger But Not Better:  The arrival of the Allure juxtaposed with the wounded Splendor re-ignited the debate whether this new breed of big ships, which many call floating malls - and which the cruise lines market as supposedly incorporating the cruise industry's newest technologies - is really a big step backwards.  The LA Times interviewed me and members of the International Cruise Victims in "Stranded Cruise Ship Offers Lesson in Huge Vessels' Vulnerabilities."

How could a super sized new ship like the Splendor be rendered a powerless tub by a single fire to only one of its six diesel engines?   What about the redundant safety systems which have existed in cruise ships for fifty years?   And aren't these beasts of a cruise ship the embodiment of everything non-sustainable about the cruise industry?   The Huffington Post addressed the surreal nature of the cruise industry and its huge ships in an "age of dwindling energy reserves and burgeoning population" in an excellent article "Cruising for a Bruising."   

Carnival Splendor Cruise FireTo Sue or Not to Sue?  The issue of cruise disasters and ambulance chasing lawyers reached an regional, national and international audience following the fire aboard the Splendorr.  On Monday, I wrote an article criticizing lawyers who are trolling for passengers to sue Carnival for the ship fire.  I pointed out three reasons why a lawsuit against the cruise line is ill advised.  

My article reached a regional audience when Kevin Gale at the South Florida Business Journal touched on the subject in an article "Carnival Splendor: To Sue or Not to Sue."  Gene Sloan of USA Today's Cruise Log took the issue to U.S.readers when he wrote "Sue Carnival over Splendor Incident? Don't Bother, Says Top Cruise Lawyer," Ashby Jones of the Wall Street Journal Law Blog chimed in with "Plaintiffs’ Lawyer to Splendor Passengers: Don’t Bother Suing," and Debra Cassens Weiss of the ABA Journal covered the issue with "Cruise Ship Lawyer: Smelly Toilets and Cold Showers Won’t Support a Lawsuit."   John Honeywell (@CaptainGreyBeard) of the U.K.'s Mirror took the story overseas with "Splendor Passengers Back Carnival." 

Carnival v. Wartsila?  Although I expect few passengers to file suit against Carnival, there is no question that Carnival will make a claim against the diesel engine manufacturer, Wartsila.  The Splendor is only 2 years old.  Diesel engines are not suppose to crack a crankshaft, burn the engine room, and shut down a $700 million cruise ship like this.  The Splendor is expected to be out of service for two months.  By my calculations, that means Carnival will lose the fare and onboard purchases of 3,000 passengers for 8 weeks or so.  That sounds like a loss of tens of millions of dollars which Carnival will be expecting Wartsila to pay.

Celebrity Passengers Robbed in St. Kitts:  Four banditos robbed 17 cruise passengers from the Mercury cruise ship on a bus during a cruise excursion in St. Kitts.   As usual the local tourism board St. Kitts - Crimeproclaimed that such crime is rare.  But the truth is that robbery and murder of cruise passengers are regular occurrences in the Caribbean.  Its unheard of sailing from Vancouver to Alaska, but its business as usual in the Caribbean islands.  Its a function of poverty and drugs.  A couple of cruise lines are now skipping St. Kitts.  One line is now calling on Antigua where a young woman sailing on a Star Clippers cruise ship was murdered ashore in January.  You can't find a Caribbean island where cruise passengers have not been a victim of a violent crime.  Beautiful, but dangerous.  

Cruise Law News (CLN) Moves Up:  The popularity contest and my unabashed self promotion of CLN continue.  CLN is the no. 12 most popular law blog per the Avvo-Alexa rankings.  Expect a top 10 announcement by Thanksgiving.  Many thanks to our readers and those of you who support our blog by leaving comments.  We appreciate your comments, pro or con.    

 

Credits:  Bottom photo: "Destination360 St. Kitts and Nevis"

Cruise Law's First Podcast - Thanks LexBlog!

I just had my first podcast which is featured on Kevin O'Keefe's Real Lawyers Have Blogs

The podcast was an interview of me by LexBlog's Colin O'Keefe entitled: Talk of the LexBlog Network : Jim Walker of Cruise Law News  Go to the link and then click on the play button if you want to hear me ramble on about blogging and cruise ship issues (Colin O"Keefe had to turn on the music to stop me talking . . . )

Here is the intro to the podcast by LexBlog:

"Plain and simple, Jim Walker's Cruise Law News is one of the best law blogs out there, along with being one of my favorites on the LexBlog Network.  Not only does Jim produce content at an incredible rate—356 posts in the 365 days after launching—but it's content that doesn't tiptoe around sensitive subjects.  In Jim's words, he set out to "talk straight about issues which make the cruise industry uncomfortable."  And what has this done? Just place him amongst the most popular law blogs in the United States. 

On this podcast we discuss how he developed this unique approach, setting aside time to blog, finding topics to blog about and how the coverage found on his blog compares to what's put forth by the mainstream media."

You can listen to the podcast here

 

Thanks to the O'Keefes for my first podcast and helping me with my blog for the past year! 

   

 

Visit Cruise Law News' Facebook Page

Today I created a Facebook page for Cruise Law News.    

Cruise Law News Facebook PageInstead of posting links on my personal page on Facebook, I will be posting links to this blog and other cruise and maritime articles on the Facebook page for Cruise Law News.  Now, anyone who is a member of Facebook can leave comments, links to cruise articles and blogs, and also post photos too.

We are looking forward to reading your comments on our Facebook page.

Contact

Jim Walker 

Walker & O'Neill, P.A.
Plaza 57, Suite 430
7301 S.W. 57th Court
South Miami, Florida 33143

Phone: (305) 995-5300
Fax: (305) 995-5310

Toll Free: (855) 995-5300

Email:

Jim Walker:  jim@cruiselaw.com