Things are suppose to slow down in the summer, but there are no signs of that yet.
Royal Caribbean recenty tried to muzzle a Miami lawyer who issued a press release about a cruise line case scheduled for trial in November. Gagging lawyers from talking to the pubic requires introducing substantial evidence establishing that the parties will not receive a fair trial. The risk of trying to quiet a critic runs the risk of looking like a bully. Not a smart move. The attack on the lawyer and his disabled client just focused the public’s attention on the cruise line’s strong arm tactics.
Whenever I see Royal Caribbean try and muzzle the press, I think back to 2005 and 2006 when this cruise line embarked on a media campaign following the disappearance of George Smith during his honeymoon cruise. We represented Mr. Smith’s wife, Jennifer Hagel. Royal Caribbean sent its CEO Richard Fain (photo left) and high profile media lawyer Lanny Davis (photo below right) onto the cable news shows to influence public opinion.
Why should any local Miami lawyer be muzzled when this cruise line sends its CEO and high profile lawyers from Washington D.C. onto TV programs to discuss legal controversies?
Speaking of RCCL, the Oasis of the Seas intercepted 7 Cuban rafters, who are back in Cuba after the cruise line turned them over to the U.S. Coast Guard. Very strange that a company incorporated in Liberia which flies the flag of the Bahamas is acting like a branch of the U.S. Coast Guard responsible for sending rafters back to Cuba. This is the fourth time a Royal Caribbean cruise ship "rescued" Cubans fleeing to the U.S. in the last 6 months.
You can read about the cases here, here, here and here.
Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess has been in the news, too. There have been reports of norovirus on the cruise ship during the last four cruises. The cruise line has again blamed the passengers for bringing the virus aboard and then spreading it around. The Centers for Disease control state that the most likely cause of norovirus in most cases is contaminated food or water, but cruise lines like Princess always blame the passengers. Those dirty passengers, if they would only wash their hands. Since when did cruise PR representatives rather than epidemiologists determine the cause of viral outbreaks?
Speaking of dirty, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 failed a surprise sanitation inspection conducted by the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC found the luxury liner to have "extremely dirty" water and tile in a pool, human hair in an ice machine, and chemicals stored near napkins, paper cups and utensils. The CDC report used the word "filthy" five times. Oh, that filthy Mary!
The Carnival Glory, meanwhile today scored her second perfect sanitation score – a 100. This time it was issued by Canadian authorities; the week before it was by the CDC.
Cruise ships are getting bad press in Venice. An Italian preservation society has announced that Venice faces an “irreversible environmental catastrophe" unless visitor numbers are capped and cruise ships are restricted. The Telegraph newspaper in London published a provocative article entitled "Venice Risks Losing its Soul Due to Mass Tourism.’ In May, we discussed the effect of the cruise industry on Venice in our article Are Cruise Ships Ruining Venice Or Just Memories From My Youth?
Our blog Cruise Law News is number 16 in the top law blogs per the AVVO / Alexa ranking system. Not bad, but a disappointment to slip out of the top ten.
Today the Gleaner newspaper in Jamaica, where we advertise, interviewed us about the services we provide for crewmembers who are injured on cruise ships. Cruise Law News was cited in an interesting article in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper yesterday entitled "Thawing Arctic Opens Up New Shipping Routes on the Roof of the World." The article discussed our coverage of the Clipper Adventurer striking an uncharted "underwater cliff" off the waters of Nunavut in northern Canada.
Do you have a cruise line issue you are interested in discussing? Leave us a comment or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.