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 Richard Fain - Royal Caribbean CEO  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 Cruise Line PR - Lanny Davis 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 jim@cruiselaw.com.  

For the past six months, I have been tracking the popularity of my blog Cruise Law News (CLN) on Avvo / Alexa Top Legal Blogs.  When I first started looking at the rankings, CLN was the 55th most popular law blog. Today, CLN cracked Avvo’s list of the top ten (10) most popular law blogs.

I started blogging in mid-September last year after joining the LexBlog family.  LexBlog’s CEO and blog guru Kevin O’Keefe counseled me not to be narcissist and get caught up in popularity contests like this.  Cruise Law - Law - Miami - LA - Seattle

Instead, O’Keefe told me that the mark of an effective blog is not rankings, but the influence the blog has on key players in your area of the law – like the media, top bloggers, and strategic decision makers.

In the last ten days, CLN has been cited in the national and international media, both old school media and hip bloggers, like the LA Times, the U.K’s MirrorWall Street Journal Blog, National Public Radio (NPR), USA Today, Gadling, FOX Business, Slate Magazine, the Courier Post, South Florida Business Journal, and the ABA Journal.

O’Keefe was right of course about the importance of being a connected influencer, but I can’t help being narcissist enough to enjoy being on someone’s top 10 list.

 

If you like this, read about Cruise Law News and LexBlog: CruiseLaw Meets LexBlog

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.

OK time to brag a bit.  Today my blog was added to Avvo’s "Top Legal Blogs."  Cruise Law News is currently the 55th most popular law blog in the United States.  The blog has been the highest climbing law blog this year.  

For bloggers like me, that’s exciting news.  Blogs are vehicles for education and ultimately social and political change.  The higher ranked a blog becomes, the greater the opportunity for it to be read.

Cruise Law News was launched just over 9 months ago.  So in the blog world, it’s still a baby.  My  readers and subscribers have increased every month.  It is by far the the highest ranked blog, or Cruise Law News - Maritime Law Blog website for that matter, which covers maritime law.  I expect it to become a top 25 law blog by the end of the year.

My blog has been instrumental in educating the public about what really happens during cruises.  We publish the type of information that the cruise lines don’t want you to know about. 

There are a number of blogs published by the cruise lines.  Royal Caribbean’s president, Adam Goldstein, has a pretty popular blog called Why Not?  But it is 90% marketing PR.  Not surprisingly, it’s also less popular than Cruise Law News.  Many more readers are coming to this blog to read articles about Royal Caribbean than to the cruise president’s own site.    

An integral part of the blog are comments from passengers and crew members who are on the cruise ships.  For example, read the incredible comments about novovirus on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, and a crew member lost overboard from the Oasis of the Seas.      

You won’t find this type of information on any of the official cruise line blogs or websites. 

If you want happy talk and gobbledygook, subscribe to the "Why Not" blog.  But if you’re interested in the inside word on what’s really happening in the cruise industry – keep reading Cruise Law News.

 

Don’t forget to subscribe by typing your email address in the box at the bottom left.  Or sign up for a RSS feed.  Thanks for your support!

Six months ago, I launched Cruise Law News. My goal was to be the go-to source for breaking "cruise law" news with articles filled with with my own unabashed opinion regarding the cruise industry. 

The first month I had 964 people stumble upon the blog.  I was ecstatic!  Thirty people a day actually looked at my blog and took the time to read a few pages!

Since then, I have written feverishly – averaging over a blog a day – for six months.  My subscriptions have exploded and the number of people reading the blog has increased exponentially. 

Cruise Law - Cruise Law News - Jim Walker BlogOver 51,000 readers visited Cruise Law News last month alone.  We have been contacted by reporters from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Canada, and the Caribbean islands – as well as local and national newspapers and television networks in the U.S. 

One of the most rewarding things about the blog is that cruise passengers are now contacting us before they cruise – to inquire about the safety and security of their family on cruises, which cruise lines are safe and which cruise ships to avoid – rather than after they have been victimized.  Our blog is helping get the word out there about the issue of cruise crimes which most Americans know nothing about.  

I would like to think that the success of this blog is due to my hard work, getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to write, as well as my keen insight and biting commentary.  But, no.  That would not be true at all.  Its the cruise industry’s incredible shenanigans which drive readers to Cruise Law News.

Just today, I commented on the unexpected and completely unjust end of an seven year ordeal involving the date-rape-drug-induced death of cruise passenger Dianne Brimble on a P & O cruise ship – juxtaposed against the revelation that Carnival teamed up with a corrupt brokerage firm which hired strippers for a swinger’s cruise.

It’s impossible to make this stuff up. 

So thanks to the cruise industry, with all of its shameless tax-avoiding executives, high paid lobbyists and deceptive PR firms, and its consistently ambiguous moral compass – for making my little blog a huge success.      

Stay tuned, the fun has just begun.  

 

 

Special thanks and credit:

Kevin O’Keefe and the pros at Lexblog – who created the blog and pointed me in the right direction.

Laurie Dishman – who fights the cruise industry every day with dignity, integrity, and relentless ferocity.  

Ken Carver – who started the fight for justice, led the way, and has never given up.