WTSP in Tampa reports on the plight of the Carnival Legend cruise ship which left last Sunday from the Port of Tampa under full power but will return limping home tomorrow.

There’s a problem with one of the cruise ship’s two propulsion pods that is substantially reducing the Legend’s speed.

Carnival canceled the ship’s port stop at Grand Cayman.

Ironically, the Legend came to the aid of the fire-stricken Carnival Triumph last month. 

 

 

The major cruise lines have reduced prices for this winter and early 2013 sailings by around 3.5 percent since late September, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.  

Cruise line operators started this year hoping that they could start charging passengers higher prices after offering discounts following the 2007-2009 recession. But then two weeks into the year, disaster struck when the  Costa Concordia capsized and images of panicked cruise passengers dominated the news. 32 people died. The Concordia still lies in the little Italian port of Giglio like a dead whale.

Costa Concordia - Cruise ShipNot surprisingly, cruise bookings slumped even as the cruise lines lowered prices.

Carnival and Royal Caribbean said that they were optimistic about increased demand and higher prices when they reported third-quarter results in the fall. But some analysts consider the price reductions as a sign that the cruise industry is still struggling and will have to wait until the second half of next year to see real improvements. 

Peak cruise season starts next February and that will be key to see whether the cruise lines can get back on the financial track. But before that, the cruise industry has to endure the one-year anniversary of Costa Concordia in mid January. That will be a difficult time for the cruise lines. As the giant beached whale Concordia remains half submerged on her side in Giglio, the cruise line will have to convince you that cruising is a safe vacation for your family. 

 

Image credit: Giglio News Web Cam

A year ago, Carnival Cruise Line unexpectedly abandoned Mobile, Alabama as a cruise port. 

Carnival cited rising fuel costs and an inability to raise prices for its cruises out of the cruise terminal in Alabama.  The unexpected news shocked local officials in Mobile which had worked for a decade to lure the cruise line to the Alabama port.

Mobile over-extended itself financially to create the cruise terminal. With Carnival pulling its cruise ship, the city was faced with no cruise line customer and no revenue to pay the millions in debt remaining on the seven-year-old terminal.

But like a desperate suitor with no one left to court, Mobile is not giving up.  A local news station reports that rumors are that Mobile continues to talk with the cruise lines trying to lure a cruise ship back to town.

The news station compares cruise lines like Carnival to the popular, pretty girl in high school who can pick and choose her dates, while Mobile is "the nerd."  The problem seems to be that there are plenty of empty cruise terminals and not enough cruise ships to go around. Plus, Mobile has a lot of competition with other ports on the Gulf of Mexico like Houston, Galveston, New Orleans and Tampa, but its crossing its fingers for some good luck in 2014.

 

 

Cruise Ships - New OrleansLast month, two cruise ships from Miami-based cruise lines arrived in New Orleans. NCL’s Norwegian Star, with capacity for around 2,300 passengers, transitioned to the "Big Easy" and relieved the Norwegian Spirit which had been home-ported there.  

Royal Caribbean moved the Navigator of the Seas, a larger ship with a capacity of around 3,100 passengers, into the port of New Orleans where its Voyager of the Seas had been based.  

The cruise ships are based at the renovated Julia Street Terminal.  Both ships will be positioned in New Orleans for six months. 

The Port of New Orleans set a port record for cruise ship passengers for a two day period on November 17th to 18th when a total of almost 25,000 passengers arrived or departed on cruise ships. According to the Port of New Orleans, in 2011 736,908 passengers passed through the port. New Orleans is considered to be a "top 10" U.S. cruise port with 1,000,000 passengers expected by the end of this year. 

I lived in New Orleans from 1980 to 1987 before coming to Miami. I have warm memories of my time there at law school at Tulane and as a young lawyer.  During those years, the cruise industry was much smaller and there were no cruise ships based in New Orleans.  Now there are ships operated by NCL, Royal Caribbean and Carnival.  

One of the benefits of cruising out of New Orleans is the pre-cruise and post-cruise overnight stays in downtown New Orleans and the French Quarter. You can’t beat the great food, the bars and late night cafe’ au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde.

I think it’s time for Cruise Law to open up a maritime law office back in New Orleans!    

 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=vIiUe_a1J5k%3Frel%3D0

Photo Credit; AP / Andy Newman

A rather ordinary couple of weeks in the world of cruising: 1,000 passengers or so sick with diarrhea and vomiting caused by gastrointestinal outbreaks on five cruise ships, 16 brawling passengers kicked off a cruise, a crewmember (a child activities supervisor no less) arrested on charges of molesting a child, a cruise passenger acquitted of rape due to jurisdictional loopholes, two passengers sentenced to 6 years in prison for smuggling pot, 3 passengers arrested for smuggling 13 kilos of coke, 1 dead and 9 sickened with flu on a cruise in Brazil, and another dead cruise passenger found face down in the water in the Cayman Islands.

All of this is in addition to the continued bad press caused by the Costa Concordia disaster.  The latest bad news out of the Concordia mess is that cocaine was found on a hair sample of Captain Schettino. The news is confusing because the captain’s drug tests were reportedly negative.  The cocaine was allegedly found on the hair rather than in the hair – meaning that Schettino apparently did not ingest the drug.  These fine points will undoubtedly be lost on the public who now will associate the word "cocaine," along with "coward" and "womanizer," with the infamous captain.

Last week also saw the filing of an amended lawsuit against Costa and its parent company Carnival in the Miami-Dade courthouse in Miami.  You will recall that non-maritime lawyers from New York announced that they would be filing a "class action" lawsuit, which turned out to be be a dud. They finally filed suit on behalf of just 6 passengers, 2 from New York, Florida and Italy each.  The amended complaint adds an additional 33 passengers for a total of 39 plaintiffs.  The lawyers said that the media mis-characterized the lawsuit as a class action, even though their website advertised the case as a class action.

The lawyers filed suit in Miami, even though the passenger ticket requires the lawsuit to be filed in Genoa, Italy, because Carnival and its deep pockets are located here.  

The lawsuit now seeks $528,000,000, for just the 39 passengers.   

Good luck with that. 

Costa Concordia Cruise Ship  - Lawsuit 

Photo credit:  Reddit

Last month was an ugly, ugly month for the cruise industry.

January 2012 will long be remembered as the month that brought us the death and destruction surrounding the the Costa Concordia cruise ship, resulting in the media asking us- is it safe to cruise?

Lots of other really bad things have been happening in the world of cruising this new year before the Concordia disaster, seemingly non-stop, since January 1st.

The month started ominously when multiple rapes were reported on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas which returned to Fort Lauderdale on January 2nd.  Sexual crimes against women and Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rapechildren are the cruise industry’s nasty secret.  Cruise lines say that such crimes are "rare."  But that’s just PR spin.  Click on the categories "Rape," "Sexual Assault," and "Sexual Assault of Children" (to the left of my blog).  There are more stories than you can stand to read; you will never read them all.  And my blog is less than two and one-half years old.

On January 12th we reported on a Royal Caribbean crewmember raping a fourteen year old girl on the Adventure of the Seas cruise ship.  Yes shocking.  But not really if you have your pulse on the dark side of cruise industry.  There are numerous cases like this on Royal Caribbean and Carnival each year, that the cruise lines don’t want you to know about.     

In-house attorneys at the cruise lines joked about all of this being "job security." 

On January 21st we reported on the blockbuster story out of the U.K. about a Cunard crewmember who is suspected of sexually abusing children during cruises.  Cunard refuses to identify the job position of the the former crew member, "but he is known to have been a low-ranking employee who had regular, close contact with passengers on board" according to the press in England.   

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Rape Was the Cunard employee a youth counselor or a stateroom attendant, the two most likely job positions for crewmembers who prey on innocent children?  We have been contacted by former passengers who are frightened by the prospect that a child predator was working for Cunard while they vacationed with their children aboard the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth cruise ships.  But Cunard will provide no details regarding when and where the alleged predator worked.

Sexual molestation of kids on cruises is well known to the cruise insiders.  Some cruise lines hide the problem and stay out of the press better than others.   

But who is thinking of children and infants being sexually abused by cruise line perverts when the  world is preoccupied by the Costa Concordia disaster?

The cruise lines were quick to claim that such incidents, like rapes, overboard disappearances and anything else that may embarrass them, are "rare."  But in truth, cruise ship catastrophes are not rare at all; just over four years ago the Sea Diamond sank in Greek waters, with loss of life, after the cruise ship’s captain ran the ship into a charted reef.  Yes, a reef that had been there for like several hundred million years.

You can read about lots of other disasters, collisions, allisions, near-misses and fires, which the cruise lines don’t want you to know about, here.   

Admittedly, disasters with such soap-opera-drama like the Costa Concordia debacle are not a dCaptain Schettino Girlfriendaily occurrence.  Can you believe that at the time of the crash the captain was eating dinner and drinking wine with a 25 year old woman, formerly employed on the ship, who I have called the cruise "blonde bimbo?" 

Just today, this young woman, whose photographs in a bikini are plastered all over the internet, announced her "love" for the married captain to Italian prosecutors.  She also admitted that if women’s clothing were found in the captain’s quarters, they were probably hers.  Why do I think that when Captain Schettino goes to prison the blonde-in-the-bikini will have his baby?  

Sordid details, no doubt.  17 people are confirmed dead and over two dozen missing, probably trapped in the bowels of the capsized ship, and we have to listen to National Enquirer details of this nutcake captain and his bizarro lover? 

The point being that any notion that the public had left of mature, safety-minded professional mariners at the helm of cruise ships should have been thoroughly destroyed, assuming it was not already by the disgusting circumstances surrounding Captain Schettino’s abandonment of the ship as captured by the high spirited dialogue between the cowardly captain and Italian Coast Guard Commander Gregorio de Falco.

And what do you think subordinate women crewmembers face when they are sexually abused and harassed on cruise ships with the likes of cowardly Captain Schettino setting the moral compass?  

And speaking of cowards, Carnival CEO Micky Arison hides under the covers in his 200 foot luxury yacht.  He re-emerges only during a Miami Heat game while his cruise guests float and bloat in the sarcophagus of the sunken cruise ship.    

Captain Schettino - Coward of the Seas The hard core cruise fanatics and travel agents, who are flipped out by losing ticket sales posed by the ugly spectacle unfolding around them, are frantically trying to convince the public that cruising is the "safest method of mass transportation."  The talking points babbled by the cruise shills include the big lie that there have been only 16 dead in the last 100 million passengers on a cruise ship. 

Nonsense.

We have witnessed 33 dead or missing just the last month on the Concordia alone.  Our blog has reported on hundreds of dead passengers and crew (they are people too, right?) due to gross medical negligence, foul play, suicide, lifeboat accidents, slip and fall accidents, out-of-control drinking, violence, murder, excursion mishaps, fires,drownings, and so forth.    

Add to the numerous dead Costa passengers and crew this month, the dead Carnival passenger who fell from one deck to the atrium lobby below, and the dead Royal Caribbean passenger who slipped and fell on steps out side of a disco late at night and somehow died after an hour in the ship infirmary.  Don’t forget the over-board from the MSC Poesia

Apologists for the cruise lines will suggest that these incidents may have involved some or a lot of alcohol consumed by the dead.  It’s a matter of personal responsibility.  It’s their fault, they say.

ABC News’ 20/20 recent show contained lots of YouTube videos of wasted passengers on Costa Concordia Cruise Shipcruises.  Oh how the cruise fans were incensed by the 20/20 cruise ship special.  Say what you want, whether the ABC show was over-the-top or right-on-point, excessive alcohol consumption by many passengers is common and encouraged by the cruise lines.  There’s a direct correlation between lots of cruise booze and sexual crimes, overboards and death. 

After all, it was Captain Schettino, who was into the vino with his blonde former-crewmember-squeeze, enjoying dinner with dreams of the evening ahead when all hell broke loose.  Yes, it’s a matter of responsibility.  It’s the captain’s fault and his cruise line employer cronies who were running the floating cruise fraternity house, I say.   

Is cruising safe?   It depends who you ask.  Call one of the 16,000 CLIA travel agents. They will happily tell you (while they make their percentage on the sale) that cruising is perfectly safe!  Come aboard.  Leave your kids in the kid’s center.  Trust us.  Have fun!

Does anyone believe the cruise lines and travel agents anymore after last month?

This weekend the cruise port in Fort Lauderdale, Florida broke a new record with the most cruise passengers entering or leaving the port.  The Sun Sentinel reports that around 106,000 passengers will transit through Port Everglades on 24 cruise ships.  Each day from Friday through Sunday will see 8 cruise ships return and then leave the port full of passengers.   

The newspaper suggested an interesting visual perspective: If lined up bow to stern, the cruise ships sailing through Port Everglades this weekend are as tall as 22 Eiffel Towers, or as long as Port Everglades Cruise Port - Cruise Law72 football fields . . .

The heavy port activity is the result of New Year / Holiday cruise ships returning to South Florida.  

Unfortunately not all of the cruises turned out to be safe experiences. 

Multiple sexual assaults occurred on the world’s largest cruise ship, the Allure of the Seas, during a cruise over the New Year.  We discussed the alleged crimes in an article last Wednesday.  The alleged rapists were passengers from Brazil.  It is interesting to note that they were not arrested by the FBI but by the Broward Sheriff’s Office.  Florida is the only state where the local police or sheriff officers can arrest and the state can prosecute crimes on the high seas.  In all other states, only the federal government can assert such jurisdiction.   

The alleged crime was finally reported by the Miami Herald yesterday and the newspaper mentioned our previous article.  It is good to see the the Miami Herald reporting on cruise ship crimes.  The Herald historically ignores stories like this and does not seem to want to anger the local cruise lines here in Miami who are major advertisers with the newspaper.  The Herald also included coverage on its Spanish edition, el Neuvo Herald – "Arrestado Hombre Acusado de Violación En Un Crucero."

Our firm was also mentioned in an interesting article about cruise ship norovirus and whether cruise line are taking adequate steps to sanitize their ships.  E Turbo News (Global Travel Industry News) published an article "When Bugs Swim: Cruise Ships Provide Perfect Environment for Spread of Disease."  I talked about my experience interviewing cruise ship cleaners who believe that the EcoLab spray disinfectants cause injury to their lungs.  They admitted pouring the anti-bacterial solutions down the drain and replacing the solutions with water.  So when they wipe the wet rags over the cruise ship surfaces, they are probably just spreading the nasty viruses George Smith - Jennifer Hagel - Cruise Crimeeverywhere.  No wonder the cruise lines seem to have a problem with norovirus outbreaks.

The big news this weekend was the media hype surrounding DateLine NBC’s update on the disappearance of cruise passenger George Smith who went overboard in July 2005.  Unfortunately, there was nothing new presented in the hour long show.  You can read our last article about Mr. Smith’s situation here.  I have always thought the case involved foul play and the four men last seen with George Smith know more than they have admitted.  At least the DateLine program returned the public’s attention to this unsolved case.   

With the renewed interest in Mr. Smith’s case the popular Cruise Radio program aired a prior interview with me which you can listen to here

This blog started the new year out with our own record.  According to Google analytics, over 20,000 visitors read over 67,000 pages for the first 8 days of 2012.  

If you have a question about cruise ship law or want our perspective on a cruise related story, please contact me directly at jwalker@cruiselaw.com    

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

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

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.