Two and a half days ago, a cruise passenger on the Carnival Magic emailed us and told us that: (1) the ship was delayed returning to Galveston by fog (2) a fire had apparently broken out on deck 11 causing smoke and ending up with the hallways drenched with water, and (3) a Coast Guard helicopter medevaced an ill passenger from the cruise ship.

The email from the Carnival passenger came to me early Sunday morning shortly after 7:30 AM as the ship waited for the flog to lift and I waited for my first cup of coffee. We emailed Carnival for confirming information, and then published our article around 1:00 P.M. We included Carnival’s comments that a fire allegedly didn’t break out and that the smoke was caused, as Carnival says, by an "overheated electrical component." Carnival also confirmed the Coast Guard helicopter medevac.

We have heard Carnival public relation tweets before that electrical fires causing smoke were not really fires

Cruise Critic - Cruise Industry ShillYou can read our article here: Fire, Fog & Medevac Mar Cruise Aboard Carnival Magic.

Today, two days after we published our article, Cruise Critic published an article entitled: Smoke Scare Onboard Carnival Cruise Ship. The Cruise Critic article discussed the smoke versus fire issue and mentioned that a cruise passenger was medevaced Saturday afternoon and fog caused a delay in the ship getting back to Galveston.

The Cruise Critic article relied on information we released (and spun the story in favor of Carnival) without any credit for the story to us. 

It is the norm in reporting and the world of social media to acknowledge sources of information. For example, when the Daily Mail in the U.K. (one of the most widely-read internet newspapers in the world) writes a cruise story which we break, it will cite us and link to us. You may think that the Daily Mail is sensational, but linking to sources is what reputable, professionals do. For example, read this Daily Mail article based on information in our blog which we broke after a cruise passenger emailed us. 

One thing that we take seriously here at Cruise Law News is being 100% accurate and transparent in crediting the right people and organizations responsible for breaking news stories. None of our stories ever go out without a credit. It does not matter if it’s our rival law firms. If someone had a big verdict against a Miami-based cruise line, we report it. We name the lawyer and include a photograph. No other law firm does that.

If Cruise Critic, USA Today’s CruiseLog, Cruise Currents, CruiseMates or who-know-who breaks a story, we will of course name them and provide a link to their site.

Cruise Critic is a site we have openly acknowledged is the number one blog covering the cruise industry. I have also published rankings showing Cruise Critic is the number one blog covering cruising. 

But it is also a dishonest organization, in my opinion.

Owned by the Expedia travel company, Cruise Critic is often seen as a cheerleader for the cruise lines. We have criticized it for deleting comments on its message boards and censoring members who write about events embarrassing to the cruise industry. It heavily moderates its message boards. It’s the first to write a puff piece for the cruise lines when they need some good news. It’s also known for being a shill for the cruise lines.

Many people criticize us for writing about negative cruise stories and having a vendetta against Carnival and Royal Caribbean. You may not like our opinions. Readers should take our articles with a grain of salt. After all, our motto here is "everything the cruise lines don’t want you to know."  We are often on television, cable news, radio and in newspapers sending our view of cruising out into the stratosphere. We know it is irritating to the hard core cruise fans.

You can disagree and criticize us for our opinions, but you cannot ever fault us for being anything other than honest in crediting the sources of our stories.

Cruise Critic, on the other hand, is not transparent. It takes credit for other’s information. It can be a shill all it wants. But it should not take credit when it is not due.

I suppose, from that perspective, it is the perfect publication to cover the far-from-transparent cruise industry. 

  • Cheryl insists that users not cut and paste pieces of articles but provide links to articles cited. And yet they won’t follow their own rules when writing an article based on another source? Tisk risk!

  • Eric Wright

    Mr. Walker,
    I am a long time Carnival cruiser as well as a Cruise Critic member and a reader of your website and Facebook page. Although I don’t always like what you have to say about Carnival, I have never found your writing to be dishonest or in error. In fact, your reporting has been enlightening as to the problems of Carnival in particular and the cruise industry in general. Thanks and please keep it up.

  • Trucker Mark

    My wife and I sailed on Carnival Miracle from LA to the Mexican Riviera on a 6-day cruise between January 12th and 18th. On that cruise she got extremely sick with what was later diagnosed as a lower GI infection, and as the cruise progressed at least 50 other passengers got really sick either from the same lower GI issue or from seasickness even though seas were quite calm the entire voyage.

    I am thinking that the diagnosed lower GI issue was really food poisoning. I suspected either the chicken or lettuce on the January 13th dinner service, after 28 hours at sea, or perhaps their house blue curacao cocktail mix, or even the ice that one or more of their bars was using to make frozen drinks.

    While Carnival refunded our planned Puerto Vallarta shore excursion they refused to refund even a portion of the all-you-can-drink alcohol pass that we purchased, even though my wife was too sick to even drink alcohol for half of the cruise. Carnival did not charge us for my wife’s two visits to the ship’s infirmary too, and on our 2nd visit my wife saw a computerized list of passengers on sick restrictions that was more than a single webpage in length.

    We also were forced to make an unscheduled stop on our way back to LA from Puerto Vallarta when an older male passenger had to be evacuated at Cabo. We don’t know whether he got really sick, whether he had a heart attack, or maybe suffered a fall, but one of the port tenders came out after we stopped and he was evacuated on it. That stop would have been on Thursday, January 16th, which was supposed to be a “fun day at sea”.

    Other than my wife being confined to our cabin for two days the Miracle is a decent ship and we very much enjoyed their Nick and Nora Steakhouse experience as well as their Beatles show and their comedy club, and we also enjoyed their adult only lounge out on the end of the Lido deck too.

    We were in Cabin #5273 if anyone wants to know, which is a balcony toward the rear of the ship, two decks above the dining room.

  • Warren

    I was on a Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas excursion to the French side of St Martin on Dec 18, 2013. I was bitten by at least one mosquito near Orient Beach and later had a soaking wet fever. 3 days later the bitten leg became swollen with a rash all over the lower bitten leg. I have 3 witnesses to verify this. Over the next week I had all the symptoms of the NASTY Chikungunya Fever virus and 2 and 1/2 months later I have joint problems (ankle stiffness, pain and instability at times in walking.

    The CDC issued a warning for St Martin on Dec 13, 2013, five days earlier when I was on my way to the cruise port. AT NO TIME did Royal Caribbean warn any of us of the CDC advisory for St. Martin. I got sick and continue to have mobility problems (I’m in my 60’s). There were eight huge cruise ships in port that day.

    I went on Cruise Critic and posted my experiences. I immediately came under vicious attack by the cruise industry shills – some of those attacks may be libelous. I was called a liar, accused of wanting to sue, etc. The harassment was outrageous when a thread was opened in my id calling me a liar by “GTaylor” – a member of the Cruise Critic “5,000” club (shills who have posted over 5,000 shill posts). My complaints of harassment to “Laura” the senior manager were ignored and the harassment became worse.

    On Friday, Feb 28, 2014, I posted the latest reports from the Pan American Health Organization that says that this epidemic has infected over 10,000 people in the Caribbean. The epicenter of this new virus in the Western Hemisphere is St Martin. I spoke with Royal Caribbean by phone in early January, warning them of the danger to the thousands of passengers they discharge into this virological Hot Zone. They continue to put people at risk.

    After posting the epidemic reports on Cruise Critic and TripAdvisor (different accounts), BOTH accounts were abruptly cancelled and I am refused further access to Cruise Critic. My posts regarding the exploding epidemic on St Martin were ALL deleted.

    Yesterday, I created the id “Leroy D” and returned to the same TripAdvisor discussion thread for St. Martin:

    I have documented the messages before they were all deleted with various excuses offered by TripAdvisor (all bogus reasons). Worse, one of the individuals engaging in harassment “Rufus100” not only continues to be allowed to post insulting personal attacks, but this person sent me “as Leroy D” a personal message:

    “Hey man. I work for a company in St. Martin that does promotional work for time shares. Try to chill out in the virus talk, we might get killed on people canceling their vacation haha. Thx dude”

    I have saved the PDF files of the messages before the postings and after.

    The PAHO epidemic report of 2-28-2014 is at:

    It now reports that CHIKV Fever has arrived in Merida, Mexico. Not far from the same Cozumel cruise port that the RCCL Oasis stops in. One question I posted on Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor asked if the cruise lines have themselves become “vectors” in spreading this disease to other ports. Message deleted.

    I also asked if the Oasis of the Seas onboard “jungle” needs to be quarantined on arrival in port at Fort Lauderdale. Message deleted.

    Fact is, of the more than tens of thousands of cruise line passengers being cycled through the St. Martin CHIKV Hot Zone, the question of spreading the disease to far away locations is not permitted.

    As one of the first (as far as I know) to be infected by cruise line exposure to CHIKV, Is it time to open a class-action lawsuit against Royal Caribbean and others for knowingly becoming a vector to the spread of CHIKV, a disease which can become dangerous to older people and those with heart disease, diabetes, arthritis or immune suppression?

    Additionally, on reviewing the TripAdvisor (TRIP NASDAQ) 10K SEC filing of Feb 11, 2014, can the evidence documenting fraudulent activity lead to actions against this bogus shill corporation?