USA TODAY / 10 BEST announced the winners today in the "10Best Readers’ Choice New Media Award for Best Cruise Blogger."

An initial list of 20 cruise bloggers was selected by a panel of experts.  The experts were USA TODAY Cruise Log blogger Gene Sloan, long-time Cruise Diva Linda Coffman, Doug Parker with Cruise Radio, and Stewart Chiron a/k/a The Cruise Guy. All of these expert bloggers could have been picked as top 5 cruise bloggers themselves.

 John Heald Carnival After the initial list of 20 was selected, the "top 10" cruise bloggers were determined by popular vote. John Heald (photo right), the witty Cruise Director for Carnival, seems to have won in a land-slide. 

Our blog came in 6th place, not a bad result considering that many people consider me the "anti-cruise" blogger.  I am surprised that Cruise Law News was voted that high.

Here is the top ten list:        

  1. John Heald – John Heald’s Blog
  2. Matt Hochberg – Royal Caribbean Blog
  3. Anita Dunham-Potter – Expert Cruiser
  4. Scott Sanders – Disney Cruise Line Blog
  5. Chris Gray Faust – Cruise Critic’s The Lido Deck
  6. Jim Walker – Cruise Law News
  7. Fran Golden – Porthole Cruise News
  8. Chris Owen – Chris Cruises
  9. Danielle Fear – Cruise Miss
  10. Sherry Laskin – Cruise Maven

The other ten nominees included Aaron Saunders (From the Deck Chair), Anne Campbell (Ship Critic Blog), Carrie Finley-Bajak (Cruise Buzz Blog), Jason Leppert (Popular Cruising), John Honeywell (Captain Greybeard), Linda Garrison (About.com Cruises), Mike Faust (Cruise Currents Blog), Paul Motter (CruiseMates Blog), Peter Knego (Peter Knego’s Sea Treks and Peter Knego’s Decked!), Ralph Grizzle (Avid Cruiser), and Steve Newman (Time Spent At Sea).

I voted for Peter Knego’s blogs on Maritime Matters.

Thanks to everyone who voted for us.

Yes, it’s true that our blog is often viewed as "negative."  But the voting proves that there are cruise fans out there who like to hear the "con" as well as the "pro" aspects of cruising and understand that being forewarned is being forearmed!

Thanks again and safe cruising!

 

Photo Credit: Carnival Corporation

Nassau Bahamas Crime Cruise ShipOur article listing the top 10 most dangerous cruise destinations in the world hit a raw nerve in the Bahamas. 

The Nassau Guardian published two articles quoting government leaders’s responses to making the list. The Guardian first published Bahamas’ Spot on Crime List Causes Skepticism, Concern." Later, the Guardian published  "Official: Most Dangerous Cruise Port Claim Not Accurate." 

In a blog article entitled "Crime Levels Continue to Be Major Problem for Destination Bahamas," the Journal of the Business of Caribbean Tourism, Travel & Hospitality writes: 

"In the NB12 report (below) Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe does well in showing his clear understanding of the situation and the potential damage that can be inflicted on the country’s number one industry. Conversely, Minister of State for National Security Keith Bell – also interviewed in the NB12 report and one of the primary figures leading the fight against crime – appears to be in denial and suggests that the country is being painted unfairly. While both Ministers have different portfolios of responsibility, the Government of The Bahamas would do well to send a more unified and coherent message about their specific plans to address crime, making the city safe for visitors and locals alike." 

No one wants to make a "top 10" list for something like this. But unlike other countries which made the list, the Bahamas has shown a respectful and polite tone and demeanor in responding to the criticism. 

After a one minute commercial, the news story starts at the 1:02 mark:

//www.youtube.com/embed/fmBjjVWMesk?rel=0

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

Two years ago, I published my personal choice of what I considered to be the top cruise blogs. It was mostly a subjective choice.

This year, I started assembling the top blogs again. But I decided to rank the "top" blogs with some type of objective criteria. I chose to use the Alexa ranking system which ranks blogs and websites primarily based on popularity. No matter how attractive the website may appear or how interesting or nice the publisher may be, are people really clicking on the blog, reading a number of pages and staying on the site for a while?

Alexa assigns a numerical ranking to websites.  The most popular sites have the lowest numbers. Cruise ShipGoogle is ranked number 1, Facebook is number 2 and so forth. If you are a blogger or own a cruise website and you are ranked under 250,000, you are doing a heck of a good job. There are literally tens of millions of blogs and websites out there.

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.    

In making my top 10 list, I focused on blogs which write primarily about cruising. I excluded cruise blogs which use a sub-domain of a website such as a large newspaper. This eliminated CruiseLog, because it is published under the USA Today domain, and eliminated Captain GreyBeard because his blog is published under the domain of the newspaper giant Mirror in the U.K. 

My top blog list doesn’t include the websites of the cruise lines themselves. Cruise articles which are published under general travel sites or maritime publications such as the popular Fodors, Travel Pulse, Maritime Executive or gCaptain were excluded, although I would include them all if I were listing top travel and maritime web pages.      

So with that is mind, here are the top 10 most popular cruise blogs, in reverse order. I’ve included the Alexa ranking as of the time of this publication.

Maritime Matters10. Maritime Matters: (510,733) If I had to pick one cruise blog to read, it would be Martin Cox’s Maritime Matters. It covers the range of cruising from the christening of the ship to major casualties. It contains a historical perspective of the cruise industry. It has fantastic photographs of ships old and new, interesting stories, and fantastic articles from Peter Knego. I reviewed it before. I said that it has "the perfect balance of current cruise news coupled with fascinating historical chronicles of the cruise industry."  The best websites are not always the most popular, so I’m glad that this class act made the top 10.   

RCL Blog9. RCL Blog: (398,359) The Royal Caribbean Blog describes itself as "an unofficial fan blog written for other fans of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line."  It’s a fan site so it is never critical of this cruise line which I criticize often. But it is full of articles and photographs which cruise fans will love. It covers the "deliver the wow" cruise line like a hawk. It is accepted by Google News as an official news site so you will find articles by this site about Royal Caribbean easily on Cruise Addictsinternet searches.  

8. Cruise Addicts: (308,946) I don’t know a lot about the people who operate this popular site, but it has the number 8 ranking for cruise website and blogs. Its a smaller version of Cruise Critic and Cruise Mates and has the potential to become much more popular if it starts writing its own stories and begins to better utilize cruise ship photographs. I voted Cruise Addicts number 9 for my favorite cruise websites 2 years ago.   

Cruise Fever7. Cruise Fever: (295,827) Two and one-half years old, Cruise Fever provides cruise news, tips, photos, web cams, and reviews to help makes cruisers make the most of their cruise vacation. Of course it also advertises cruise deals. It is active on Twitter and has a popular Facebook page. Its popularity has risen steadily over the last couple of years.Cruise Industry News

6. Cruise Industry News: (213,488)  This is a popular website with a ton of stories about the cruise industry. Never gossipy or controversial, its strictly the facts.  Its motto is "number 1 in industry reporting." It has more of a focus on shipbuilding, business stories, industry news and less about the lighter side of cruising. It has added photos of ships and ports of call. It publishes a slick magazine called Cruise Industry News with a European feel to it. It has the worse Twitter logo possible.

CLIA5. CLIA’s "Cruising. It’s All about You:" (208,733) This is the official site of the Cruise Line International Association ("CLIA") and contains the blog of CLIA’s CEO Chrsitine Duffy. I have called it the cruise lines’ "Pravda" after the official newspaper of communist Russia. It’s articles are carefully written by the cruise industry’s public relations people to present a positive and completely unrealistic image of the cruise industry. Its filled with half-truths and propaganda that even Stalin would be proud of.    

Cruise Currents4. Cruise Currents: (157,757) This is the latest blog from cruise fan and cruise website prodigy Mike Faust. Two years ago when he was 15, I selected  his cruise website as one of the top cruise sites and told everyone to watch out for this fellow. Still in high school, Mike changed the name of his blog from "Mikey’s Cruise Blog" to the very slick sounding and appearing "Cruise Currents." He is not even old enough to cruise by himself but he has taken the cruise community over by storm. Next year, he will CruiseMates pass Cruise Mates and me as the most popular cruise site behind Cruise Critic.   

3. Cruise Mates: (118,481) A very popular and long term cruise travel guide, community and message board somewhat like Cruise Critic but on a smaller scale. CruiseMates contains tons of information and has knowledgeable and pleasant bloggers.  Paul Motter is the face of the community.  

Cruise Law News2. Cruise Law News: (79,104) I know, its tacky to include yourself in a top 10 list. But I have an excuse. I’m a lawyer and we’re suppose to have out-of-control egos aren’t we? I remember when I started this blog in September 2009. I was excited to have less than 5,000 people a month read my articles. This year over 1,000,000 different people have already read well over 3,500,000 pages of our blog. Our motto is "everything the cruise lines don’t want you to know." You either love us or hate us.     

1. Cruise Critic: (9,052) As I said 2 years ago, this cruise community is a real juggernaut. It has by far the most members and the most hard core cruise fans. A great place to read the messages on the Cruise Critic boards from passengers still on the cruise ship and first learn of what will eventually be covered by the major newspapers. On the down-side, it seems like the least diversified place on the planet. Its message boards often erupt into flame wars, and a dissenting opinion is often ridiculed. The usual comment from a Cruise Critic fan left on my blog is something like "cruise ship ambulance chaser!" or "feed the lawyers to the sharks!" I love the attention (for the record sharks don’t eat us out of professional courtesy). Behind Google and Facebook, Cruise Critic directs the most people to my blog on a daily basis.

Okay, that’s the top 10 numerical list.  Have I left out a higher ranked cruise blog or site?  If so, please let me know.  

Season’s Greetings!

 

Logo credits: The logos above are the Twitter avatars owned by the respective entities named above. 

According to AVVO which ranks the popularity of law blogs, Cruise Law News (CLN) is currently the 9th most popular law blog in the U.S.  You can read the list (updated daily) here.  The list does not pretend to be a compilation of the "best" blogs.  It is based primarily on the number of readers and the number of pages read for each blog, if I understand correctly how AVVO works.

Of the eight blogs ahead of CLN, four of the blogs are written by law professors (Legal Insurrection, Althouse, Law Professors Blog Network, and the Volokh Conspiracy).  Three other blogs are commercial (accepting advertising) types (Lawyernomics, Above the Law, and Lawyerist). There is only one blog ahead of us which is written by a lawyer who actually practices law full time, China Blog,Cruise Law News Blog - Jim Walker - Miami Lawyer which is authored by Seattle attorney Dan Harris.  

That makes our blog the most widely read blog about our practice areas – cruise law and maritime personal injury law – in the U.S. Around 300,000 pages of CLN are read a month. We expect at the end of this year there to be well over 3,000,000 pages of CLN read just this year alone. 

Our Cruise Law News facebook page is the most popular facebook page for a lawyer and our Twitter feed is also popular. 

Being a widely read blog is admittedly a goal of CLN. The purpose of our blog is to educate the public about "everything cruise lines don’t want you to know." There are a lot of problems, like sexual assault of women, molestation of children, and abuse of crew members, that cruise lines try and keep secret. 

Thanks for reading our blog, and thanks for sending us tips about things that happen on cruise ships which the Carnivals and Royal Caribbeans prefer the public not to know.

 

If you want to track the popularity of websites and blogs, download the Alexa toolbar.  Its simple and takes less than 30 seconds.