Jim Walker Cruise Law NewsToday, the Cruise Law News Facebook page reached 200,000 "likes."

The majority of our Facebook fans are crew members who use Facebook on a regular basis to communicate with their family and friends. 

We receive a great deal of information from crew members regarding a wide range of issues, like cruise ship fires, engine failures, man-overboard situations and the tough working conditions which crew members face.

We also receive information from cruise passengers when things go wrong on the high seas. 

Thank you very much for reading our page and providing information to us!  Our Facebook page would not be possible without the support of crew members and passengers on cruise ships around the world!

The motto of our blog is "everything the cruise lines don’t want you to know."

No, we are not a travel site with glossy photos of happy crew members and smiling passengers enjoying a dream vacation cruise. The fact that millions of people are reading a critical blog by a lawyer (lawyers often write boring, stuffy articles) reflects that there are a lot of things that happen on cruises which the public wants to know and the cruise lines want to keep secret.

Thanks for reading us! And a special thanks to the many people who have sent us tips, photos and videos. 

Vote Cruise Law NewsThe Expert Institute has a law blog competition between 250 law blogs.  

The institute received more than 2,000 nominations for the "Best Legal Blog Contest." It then narrowed the field to 250 blogs which it is calling the "most exciting, entertaining, and informative legal blogs online today."

Cruise Law News was placed in the "Niche & Specialty" category. There are 35 blogs in that category. I was ranked second to last place as of yesterday. Yikes! I am currently in 8th place. 

There are money prizes for first ($1000), second ($500) and third place ($250) in the overall category. I plan on donating the money prize to charity if Cruise Law News is a winner.

Thanks for voting for me.  Just click on this link.  Then click on the voting box which is in the right upper corner just above the number.

Thanks!

People complain that I write only negative stories about the cruise lines. Crime, fires, overboard passengers, greedy cruise executives, mistreatment of crew members, blah, blah, blah, does it ever end they ask?

It’s a good question, I suppose. Lots of things go wrong during cruises. I have an endless source of materials for stories to fill this blog. But maybe that’s no reason to fixate on the bad part of cruising, is it? Maybe I should stop writing so many mean stories about unpleasant subjects. Perhaps I should write nice things about the cruise lines Jim walker Cruise Law Newsand its executives to make people happy.

But I have a question to ask you: why are you reading Cruise Law News right now?

Are you looking for an article comparing the food and service on the Oasis of the Seas to the Norwegian Epic? Or are you trying to find out whether Nassau or Roatan is a more enjoyable port to visit and take your kids? Of course not. Cruise Critic or Travel Weekly or most any other cruise or travel publication have that covered.

I suspect that you are visiting this blog because you’d like to find out the news that the cruise lines don’t want you to know. Yes, the bad news.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a short article about a passenger who fell to his death on the Carnival Magic. There was no mention of the incident anywhere. Not on television, not in newspapers, not anywhere throughout the internet. I wrote the article because a half-dozen cruise passenger contacted me asking if I knew what happened on the ship.

Over 50,000 people read the article on this blog and our Facebook page over the first couple of days it was published. Over 1,500 readers liked, shared, tweeted or re-tweeted the story. Another 500 people liked, shared or commented on the article on Facebook. That’s a lot of people interacting with the story (a popular Yahoo article may have only a dozen or two likes and a handful of comments). The victim’s family and friends read the article and left comments trying to find information about what happened to their loved one.

Cruise lines and FBI often erect walls of silence and lack of cooperation when someone dies or disappears from a cruise ship. The public is hungry to find the truth of what happens at sea. Regular cruisers or travel agents want to inform their family or clients of what they learn on this blog. Families of those lost at sea want to know everything that they can why their loved one perished. The cruise line won’t tell them. There’s really no other reason people read our articles. 

Compare the public reaction to that tragic story to the reaction to another article I wrote about Carnival yesterday. The story was entirely complementary about its new CEO, Arnold Donald, whose rose from a modest beginning in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans to a highly successful businessman.

I admire the way that Mr. Donald earned great financial success through the hard work instilled in him by his family and educators. He never forgot his family or his humble beginnings. Every year, he and his wife award scholarships to students from his high school in New Orleans to his college and business school alma maters. He named the new wing of the high school building, which he funded, after his late mom and dad.

But no one cared about the story. It received zero likes, zero tweets and zero shares. I doubt 500 people read it.

People read Cruise Law News because they are looking for answers to the questions that the cruise industry won’t answer. Even cruise fans know that the cruise lines are less than transparent and will try and hide the bad news. So if you want a happy-go-lucky story about dream cruises and fun family vacations, you won’t find it here.   

Why do you read Cruise Law News? Join the discussion on our Facebook page.

In 2014, 1,718,131 people read 6,104,186 people pages of Cruise Law News.  

Our busiest day was April 7, 2014 when over 110,000 visitors read our article when we were the first to report on the murder of a NCL crew member in Roatan, Honduras near the port. 

Crime in ports of call was a hot topic for 2014.  Our article Top 10 Most Dangerous Cruise Destinations in the World was re-tweeted, liked or shared over 2,800 times.  We named Nassau, Bahamas as the most dangerous port in the world and said that Nassau was "one shot away" from losing the cruise industry, which placed us on television in the Bahamas and on the front cover of the Nassau Jim Walker Cruise Lawyer MiamiGuardian.

We broke a number of stories that the cruise industry would prefer that you didn’t know.  We published videos of MSC crew members dumping plastic garbage bags in a marine sanctuary in Brazil.  A number of news organizations in the U.K., Switzerland, and Australia & New Zealand republished them around the world. 

We appeared in over 100 newspapers articles and on CNN, ABC and other television and radio programs.  Our motto is "everything the cruise lines don’t want you to know," so don’t expect to see glossy photos of idyllic cruise vacations here.

The problem of passengers and crew members disappearing on the high seas continued throughout 2014. ABC News featured us in an investigation why the cruise lines are refusing to install man overboard systems in compliance with the Cruise Vessel Safety & Security Act. A few cruise lines, like Holland America Line (HAL), claim that they are testing man-overboard technology but just last week a crew member disappeared from the HAL Ryndam

The premiere legal blog in the world, Above the Law, included us as one of the "12 Awesome Law Blogs Of 2014." Lexblog picked us as the Blog of the Year and selected us as one of the top two lawyer "citizen journalists."

I was most pleased that Cruise Law News came in as number six (and the only blog written by a lawyer) out of the top twenty national cruise blogs selected by USA Today, in a national poll of cruise fans. 

Our Facebook page has over 135,000 followers, mostly crew members as well as cruise passengers and travel agents who wish to remain anonymous. We receive many thousand of comments a month. We routinely receive real-time insights into problems on cruise ships from passengers and the crew.

Thanks for reading us in 2014.  And many thanks to the passengers and crew members who sent us tips, info and videos from the high seas.

 

If you have a comment to share, please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Today we enjoyed a great day in St. Petersburg, Florida at my father-in-law’s house.

The weather was amazing and our extended families congregated and enjoyed our time together.

Our extended family ranges in age from 1 year old to 93 years old. There was lot’s of laughter, hugging and fellowship.

Thanks to all of our clients, friends, and foes.  A Happy Thanksgiving to all. 

 

 

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));

Cruise Law News just celebrated our five year anniversary. 

It’s difficult to remember a time when we did not have a blog to comment on the ins-and-outs of the cruise industry and the ports of call where the cruise ships unload their passengers. Since 2009, I’ve written over 2,100 articles and received over 8,000 comments from our readers.

In 2014, Cruise Law News has been mentioned in over one hundred newspapers, television programs, cable news program, and radio shows.  We have broken many stories that the cruise industry would have preferred that we not mention, such as MSC Cruises dumping garbage bag in the seas, Royal Cruise Law NewsCaribbean exploiting its crew members and Carnival cutting employment programs that existed for years while the cruise CEO’s racked in the cash.

Our motto remains writing about "everything the cruise lines don’t want you to know," and we believe that we have lived up to that goal. 

Our blog is ranked the fourth most popular law blog in the United States and the number one law blog authored by a law firm as opposed to a for-profit commercial website.  

A year ago at our fourth year anniversary, I wrote that "1,000,000 different people read over 3,500,000 pages of our blog in the last 12 months."  We have far exceeded those numbers in 2014. In just the first four days of this month alone, over 86,000 unique users have read over 239.000 pages of our website. We have a readership which substantially exceeds the paid circulation of the newspaper of the town where I was born.  

Our Facebook page has over 126,000 followers, mostly crew members as well as cruise passengers and travel agents who wish to remain anonymous. We receive many thousand of comments a month. We routinely receive real-time insights into problems on cruise ships from passengers and the crew.

You either love us or hate us.

I receive more than my fair share of hate e-mail. However, many people write to us and thank us for bringing attention to issues such as crew members working 12 hour a day for just $550 a month or sexual assaults of children on the "fun ships," the cruise industry’s dirtiest secret. We warn passengers about crime in the tropical ports of call where the cruise lines collect millions of dollars of tax-free money.

We have followed our clients to testify before Congress to advocate in support of legislation to protect cruise passengers and write about the experiences as they occur.

There’s always the other side of the cruise story. We try to be the first to tell it. 

Thanks for reading Cruise Law News!

Last month, 247,433 people read 843,370 pages of Cruise Law News (per Google Analytics). That’s a record month for us.

If our readership continues to grow, as it has done over the years, we are on track to having 3,000,000 people reading over 10,000,000 pages of our blog a year.

Our blog is currently the number three most popular law blog in the U.S. (via Alexa) and the number one Royal Caribbean Cruise Norovirusmost popular law blog in the U.S. written by a practicing lawyer (again via Alexa).

The motto of our blog is "everything the cruise lines don’t want you to know."  If you want idyllic images of perfect cruise ship vacations to tropical paradises, stick to the travel publications and cruise fan blogs. We offer a glimpse into the world of cruising that the cruise executives prefer you not know.

In the last year, we broke stories involving MSC Cruises dumping garbage bags at sea, Silvesea Cruises hiding carts of food from U.S. health inspectors, and Carnival scrapping its crew retirement program.  We provide an inside look at norovirus outbreaks that the cruise lines always blame on the passengers. This past week, our blog was featured in newspapers and on television in the Bahamas regarding the issue of crime against cruise passengers.

Thank you for reading our blog. Take a moment and subscribe by clicking on the RSS feed or sending us your e-mail address in the box to the lower left.

You can also follow the latest developments in the intersecting worlds of cruise ships and the practice of law on our Facebook page.

Thanks!

100000 Facebook LikesThis week, our social media presence reached a milestone. 

The Cruise Law News Facebook page reached 100,000 "likes."

The majority of our Facebook fans are from outside of the U.S. We have tens of thousands of crew members who have "liked" us. We receive a great deal of information from crew members regarding a wide range of issues, like cruise ship fires, engine failures, man-overboard situations and the tough working conditions which crew members face.

Thank you very much for reading our page and providing information to us!  Our success would not be possible without the support of crew members on cruise ships around the world!

We have over 11,900 people following us on Twitter and many thousands of people who subscribe to our daily blog, Cruise Law News, via e-mail & RSS subscriptions.

Over 6,250,000 pages of Cruise Law News are projected to be read this year.

We are the 3rd most popular law blog (per AVVO rankings) in the U.S. and the 2nd most popular cruise blog which discusses cruise ship issues (again, per AVVO rankings).  

Cruise Law NewsThe motto of our  blog is "everything the cruise lines don’t want you to know."  

No, we are not a travel site with glossy photos of happy crew members and smiling passengers enjoying a dream vacation cruise. The fact that millions of people are reading a critical blog by a lawyer (lawyers often write boring, stuffy articles) reflects that there are a lot of things that happen on cruises which the public wants to know and the cruise lines want to keep secret. 

Thanks for reading us!  And thanks to the many passengers and crew members who have sent us tips, photos and videos of things like hiding food from the USPH inspectors or dumping garbage at sea which no one would otherwise know about . . .   

What are the top law blogs? I suppose it depends on who you ask. Everyone has an opinion, at least lawyers who have blogs do.

I’m listing the supposedly most popular law blogs based on supposedly objective criteria, using the Alexa ranking system which ranks blogs and websites based primarily on popularity. How many people actually click on the site, view a number of pages and actually stay for a while?

Alexa ranks over 30,000,000 sites. Alexa assigns a numerical ranking to each website. The most popular sites have the lowest numbers.

Google is ranked number 1, Facebook is number 2, and so forth. The highest ranked stand-alone law blog is ranked around 28,000. The lowest ranked blog is ranked over 20,000,000. If you’re a law blogger and ranked under Top Law Blogs - Blah, Blah, Blah200,000, your blog is popular.

If your ranking is over 1,000,000, sorry to tell you. No one is reading your blog. If you are in the 2,000,000 to 4,000,000 category, I suggest giving up.

If you are interested in seeing your site’s ranking, go to the Alexa website and click on the “Toolbar” link at the top to download.

The top 10 blogs which I listed below are mostly ranked 100,000 or lower. They are popular and widely read. I listed their rankings as of the date of this publication. I have also mentioned whether they are advertising (desperate) or soliciting money (truly desperate). I have tried to identify the primary editor or writer.

10. SCOTUS (107,715) (advertising – Bloomberg Law) Two dozen people smarter than me writing minutia about Supreme Court decisions. Super popular when the Supremes are publishing cases.

9.  Patently O (105,835) (advertising) Law professors writing about patents. I remember why I hated law school.

8.  China Law Blog (100,256) The blog of Seattle lawyer, Dan Harris, of the Harris Moure law firm. Why isn’t it also written in Chinese?

7.  Volokh Conspiracy (92,779) (advertising) A butt-ugly site written by two dozen brainiac professors who need to get laid.  I’m not sure who reads this erudite stuff.  It recently moved to the Washington Post.

6.  Althouse (78,079) (advertising) (solicits money) I don’t get this site.  A law professor, Ann Althouse, Top Law Blogswrites and posts photos and videos.  She shares a photo of the side of her head. Random. Quirky.

5.  Lawyerist (65,914) (heavy advertising) A nice site, mostly it seems written by Sam Glover about law practice technology, management, and marketing, also offering services to build web sites, since 2007.

4.  Food Safety News (60,812) This is one of the truly amazing law blogs by Seattle lawyer Bill Mahler who handles food poisoning cases. He is a great guy and a super lawyer. He surrounds himself with a very talented team to publish this really good stuff.

3. Cruise Law News (59,871) My blog Cruise Law News.  “Everything the Cruise Lines Don’t Want You to Know” is our motto. “Why do I want to know that?” most people may be thinking.

2.  Legal Insurrection (45,434) (incredibly heavy advertising)(solicits money)(multiple writers) A law professor at Cornell oversees this gaudy conservative blog. Annoying, bizarre banner ads, like this lady-in-the-tight-dress Google ad which links to a rant against President Obama. Go figure.

1.  Above the Law (28,096) (advertising) (multiple editors and writers) This number one law blog caters to big firm news, in-house counsel at major corporations, law school rankings and issues of largely no relevance to most lawyers’ practices. Typical topics involve new partners at top 10 national firms, salaries in New York, and who’ll be the next Supreme Court clerks. I suppose first year associates at Skadden Arps gossip about these important issues over their 15 minute lunches at their desks?

A bizarre group of blogs no doubt.

Did I leave anyone out?

 

Photo Credit Top:   lawyerfacts.biz

Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerWhen I started this blog, I included a section where I award cruise lines and cruise executives the title "worst cruise line in the world" for the company or person in the cruise industry engaged in the most outlandish conduct.

Some months it has been hard to award just one cruise line or person because there have been so many outlandish things happening lately in the cruise industry.  When the Costa Concordia disaster struck, I discontinued the practice because there were not enough award trophies to pass out. 

But today I decided to return to the "worst in the world" award after reading a news account involving a woman arrested after cruising with her family because of $85 in court costs which she didn’t pay twenty-two years ago.  

The story involves a forty-one year old woman from Connecticut who sailed on the Disney Dream cruise Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship Passengership with her husband and two kids. When the cruise ship returned to Port Canaveral today, the Brevard County Sheriff’s office was waiting to handcuff her and haul her off to jail.  

It turns out that the woman, whose name I will not mention because she has been humiliated enough, owed the state of Florida $85 in court costs for an misdemeanor arrest for the theft of a pack of cigarettes in 1991 when she was 18 years old.  

Over the last two decades, she became married, paid for college, received a degree in architecture, had two kids, and is gainfully employed designing jet engines for a major aircraft manufacturer.

A cruise for 4 aboard a Disney cruise ship is a pricey ticket. And I bet she is a good mom who planned to take her kids to Disney World as well.  Certainly the economy of Florida benefits from her paying for the cruise out of a local port, flying into a local airport, renting a car or taking a taxi, paying tolls, buying food and staying in hotels.     

But instead we’ll let the taxpayers pay for her to sit in jail in the Brevard County jailhouse which will not let her post bail because the court costs were levied in Orange County and she has to be transferred from Brevard County before she can be bonded out. It looks like she may spend as long as 4 or 5 days in jail before she is transferred to Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerOrlando and released. 

Arresting a mother of two for non-payment of $85 in court costs is ludicrous. Why not arrest grandmothers for library books returned late? Yes, personal accountability is important but an arrest for $85 in court costs after 22 years given the significant amount of violent crimes on cruise ships today?

Ridiculous!  

I thought about giving the "worst in the world" award to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office because it does such a poor job arresting child predators and rapists on cruise ships. The port police and sheriff’s department in Brevard seem to look the other way when foreign crew members steal jewelry and iPhones and computers from passengers on the high seas.

But I thought that the award should go to the news station, WESH-2 in Orlando, which ran the preposterous story. In addition to its article on line which you can read here, the news station aired a sensational piece showing the woman’s mug shot, video of the woman in hand-cuffs, images of her being placed in the jail cell, photos of barb wire and high fences of the jail house, and the woman sobbing in contrition.

Arrest of Disney Cruise Ship PassengerIn a cruise industry with an alarmingly bad record for drunken shipboard violence and un-prosecuted sex crimes against women and children, we have the action team at WESH-2 grilling a mother over $85 dating back to when she was a teenager.    

The news station included video of the news reporter, Dan Billow (resembling Will Ferrell in his role as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman), chastising the poor woman in jail with these comments:

So, you know, isn’t that just tough luck? This is your, er’, problem. Uhm, I mean, you’re the one who did this . . .     

Billow ends the nasty little segment with a friendly reminder to his viewing audience:

So it’s worth remembering, before taking a cruise, pay any unpaid traffic tickets or any other outstanding legal matters, or a dream vacation might wind up like ****’s.

Thanks Dan, asshole! 

WESH-2 OrlandoCruise Ship Arrest 

Leave a comment below or discuss the case on our Facebook page.  

News story & images: WESH-2 Orlando