Today is January 1st.  The first day of 2012!  This year over 14,000,000 people will sail on cruise ships.  Cruising continues to be one of the fasting growing travel industries, with a wide variety of cruise ships and destinations.  It is not a perfect industry and I consider myself one of its harshest critics.  But If you are considering taking a cruise this year, be safe and have a good time.  There are lots of good sources of information online.  I picked my favorite 12 blogs for 2012, from number 12 to number 1 (twitter name follows website/blog):   

12.  Mikey’s Cruise Blog  by @mikeycruiseblog. This is a blog which I started following this Mikey's Cruise Blogyear.  The founder is Mikey Faust who, although just 15 years old, is the head blogger of this increasingly popular blog.  Mikey’s Cruise Blog contains interesting articles written by Mikey and two other bloggers.  He just awarded the 2011 "Cruisey Awards" for best cruise line, best cruise director, best new ship, and so forth.  Somehow I won best cruise blog.  That automatically makes his cruise blog a top dozen blog in my book.  Keep an eye on Mikey’s Cruise Blog this year.      

11.  CruiseMates – the "Complete Online Guide Cruise Guide and Community."  An online cruise community and message board somewhat like Cruise Critic (see below) but on a smaller scale.  I have bumped heads over the years with its chief author, Paul Motter, regarding the issue of cruise ship crimes and unexplained disappearances of cruise passengers.  But CruiseMates nonetheless contains tons of information and has knowledgeable and pleasant bloggers.  If you want cruise friendly editorials, this is the one channel for you.  It needs to become active on Twitter to become a top 10 player in the cruise world of social media. 

10.  The Ocean Escape, by @CruiseMan3000 This high energy cruise blog is authored by Shon The Ocean Escape "Cruise Man 3000" Ford, who is an unabashed cruise fan and NCL fan in particular.  His blog contains a "cruisetacular" (trademark pending) collection of Shon’s personal cruising experiences, cruise ship reviews, and cruise line ratings.  Feeling blue?  Read Shon’s exuberant & joyful articles.  If his blog were a church, I would join just for the fellowship.

9.  (Tie) Cruise Line Fans by @CruiseLineFans, a friendly cruise community with cruise reviews and a cruise forum / message board, and Cruise-Addicts by @CruiseAddicts, another popular cruise community.  Its website has a good cruise news section, a forum, cruise tracking application and gallery.  I don’t know the principals behind either site but enjoy the interesting articles.   

8.  Cruise Maven by @CruiseMaven.  This is another cruise blog that I just started reading this year.  Authored by Sherry Laskin, a  freelance travel writer, blogger and photographer, Cruise Cruise MavenMaven’s blog is bright and airy and contains well written articles and sharp photos.  She occasionally blogs on her first hand observations about potentially embarrassments to the cruise lines, such as when a cruise ship recently flunked a CDC inspection.  A real pro, Sherry’s articles have appeared in many travel industry publications such as Travel Trade, Travel Weekly, Travel and Leisure News, and Senior Scene Magazine, as well as online media such as Travel Market Report, and   

7.  Chris Cruises by @OrlandoChris.  Chris Owen is the editor of his blog which has a reputation Chris Cruises - Chris Owenfor straight forward and insightful information about cruising.  I like Chris’ blog because it strikes the right balance between cheerleading for the cruise industry and frank discussions about parts of the cruise industry which need improving.  For example, he has written articles about the need for parents to supervise kids on cruises which are right on the mark.  Chris is from Orlando and writes for Examiner and Gadling in addition to his website, LifeIsCruising.   

6.  Cruise Critic by @CruiseCritic This cruise community is a real juggernaut.  It has by far the most members and the most hard core cruise fans.  Its members will often report on an outbreak of a virus or an overboard passenger – often before the cruise ends and before the mainstream media publishes anything.  On the down-side, its community seems like the least diversified place on the planet.  Its message boards often turn vicious with flame wars, and a dissenting opinion is often ridiculed.  Threads critical of the cruise lines are sometimes pulled.  The usual comment from a CruiseCritic fan left on my blog is something like "feed the lawyers to the sharks!" or something equally enlightened.  Cruise Critic has not overcome the stigma of  being exposed for being a paid cruise line cheerleader and shilling for Royal Caribbean on its reviews and message boards.  Whenever the cruise industry needs some good Captain GreyBread - John Honeywellnews, Cruise Critic will interview a couple of PR people at CLIA and deliver a puff piece for their cruise line friends.

5.  Captain Greybeard by @CaptGreyBeard.  Perhaps its the British accent or the fact that my parents lived in London, but John Honeywell is one of my favorite cruise bloggers.  He writes for the U.K.’s Mirror about cruises.  Insightful.  Witty.  Good stuff.  He is also the only person I know who can type while holding a martini.   

4.  Cruise Radio by @CruiseRadio.  Doug Parker and his sidekick Matt Baisford are the geniuses Cruise Radio - Doug Parker behind this ridiculously popular blog and radio show which contains a continuous stream of interviews with travel agents, cruise executives, crew employees and tourism representatives.  Doug is the founder and friendly face of Cruise Radio.  He exploded onto the scene in 2009 and has risen to the top of the world of cruise social media.  He seems to be the one person in the world of cruising who is perpetually on a cruise ship having a good time.  Why do I think he has a beer koozie in one hand and a microphone in the other when he conducts his witty interviews?  A great, fun show with some good info to boot.   

3.  Cruise Junkie by Professor Ross Klein (no twitter).  While the U.S. media refused to take a Ross Klein Cruise Junkiecritical look at the shortcomings of the North American cruise lines over the past five years, Canadian sociology professor Ross Klein has been a diligent watchdog of the cruise industry.  He has testified before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives about the problem of crime and sexual assaults on cruise ships.  In an industry known for secrecy where what happens at a sea stays at sea, Professor Klein is the only credible independent source accurately tracking issues such as cruise overboards and noro-virus outbreaks.      

2.  Expert Cruiser by @ExpertCruiser.  Anita Dunham-Potter is a rare find – a travel enthusiast who Anita Dunham-Potteris as principled as she is intelligent.  She is experienced about the cruise industry and her articles reflect that.  She recently  joined the USA Today cruise team along with Gene Sloan.  It really not fair to the other cruise bloggers.  Its like teaming up Dwayne Wade and LeBron James.   

1.  CruiseLog by CruiseLog.  Gene Sloan is the perfect host for the perfect blog about cruising.  The blog is light on editorial opinion and encourages discussion and debate on all sides of the issue.  The marketing people at USA Today were ahead of the curve when they launched their "capture the national conversation" mission many years ago, and it worked particularly well with its travel section around cruises with Gene Sloan as Gene Sloan - USA Today CruiseBlog the host.  You can read about the success of the CruiseLog community in the best selling book  "The Hyper-Social Organization."  Gene will pen a short article about some newsworthy cruise topic.  He has nothing to sell and no ax to grind.  The USA Today readers will leave their comments pro and con, including some really thoughtful ideas.  A lively debate mostly by intelligent travelers.  A far cry from the lynch mob mentality at Cruise Critic.   

OK.  That’s the top 12 (actually 13) to watch for 2012.  I feel guilty leaving out @Cruise Buzz, @Cruise Guy and @StarshineCruise so be sure to click on these friends and follow them on twitter.

Did I leave your favorite out?  Leave a comment below . . .

  • Suzanne

    Thanks for this Jim. I had NO idea there were so many cruise blogs. I like Avid Cruiser also.

  • Thanks Suzanne – you were the first comment for 2012, and the 2012th comment for my blog since 2009.

    Yes, Avid Cruiser is excellent.

    Regards Jim Walker

  • Hi Jim,
    Thanks for the great review of We really strive to be a great consumer resource for the cruise traveler.


  • Thanks so much for including us on your top cruise news websites! And thanks for the insight and experience you share on maritime matters. You are truly a trusted source.

  • Thanks Jim – this is one list I am happy to be at the bottom of (sorry for the dangle). I still hate Twitter and find it to be a horrible waste of time. I can’t explain anything in 150 characters so why bother? Otherwise it is just a bunch of industry people posting links to their own articles to other people who already work in the industry anyway. This is preaching to the choir and I still don’t understand why anyone thinks this is useful.

    Had you done this two years ago NCL_Andy (Andy Stuart) would have been at the top of the list, but it appears the one cruise line once most dedicated to Twitter to the point where NCL_Andy spent 30-minutes or more each day tweeting now tweets possibly three times per month.

    Twitterites – enjoy preaching to the choir, but don’t expect me to believe anybody else (aka target audience consumers) is watching. I just don’t.

  • Paul, several thousand people in the cruise and travel industry follow me and I follow them – cruise speciaists, travel agents, cruise PR people, and so forth. People I never knew and met through twitter and I dare say that many I consider my friends although I have never met them in person. They are reading my tweets and blog and I am reading their tweets and cruise info. I look at the industry differently based on what I learned and I think that some of the cruise fans have learned new info about their industry. That’s what twitter is about, a means of communicating whether in agreement or debate. It is like a huge cocktail party where you can talk or listen at your own pace.

    Andy at NCL didn’t understand twitter. He was instructed to do something that did not come natural to him and he obviously did not like to do. He would just post something positive promoting NCL but run for the hills whenever something controversial appeared.

    If you don’t like it you should get someone at CruiseMates to do the tweeting and link to your editorials. Your readership will increase and your messages in your editorial will expand . . .

    Just my two cents . . .

    Jim Walker

  • Shon Ford (@CruiseMan3000)

    Thanks so much for including me on this list! It’s a true honor coming from such a credible and reliable industry source! I’ll be looking for you on the front row Sunday! 🙂

  • I’m not going to kiss your ass like everyone else but thanks for putting me on the list– now the cruise lines will have a bounty on my head too.

  • All your selections are top notch. But I’d like to throw my hat in the ring so to speak. My wife and I are avid cruisers, having sailed sixty three times. In late December of 2011, I began writing a blog named in honor of wife. Cruisin Susan, a cruise & travel blog, has been well received. It is now being syndicated, and a few days ago’s travel section published an article I wrote and posted on my blog.

    I would love to get your take on my efforts. Check the site out at the url above.

    Andy K.

  • Emrys

    You forgot about a new site at it’s getting there but nice looking.

  • Henry

    I have been on a lot of different cruises and i personally think it is one of the best holidays available. You get to relax while still visiting loads of destinations around the world. Although sometimes you are rushed to in and out of port personally the cruise is the best way to enjoy a relaxing but fun holiday. I have found brilliant prices here on
    Maybe you guys could check it out and enjoy the cruises at excellent prices.

  • Thank for posting this. Expert cruise counselors are a great help in making the most out of the cruise experience.

  • Hi Jim,
    Thanks very much for the great review of Expert I really strive to be a great consumer resource for the cruise traveler.
    Best Regards,

  • We’d love to have you check out our blog at

    Thanks so much!