A Cruise Passenger's Perspective: Local Newspapers in Nassau, Bahamas Paint Grim Image of Armed Robberies & Murders
On Friday, I published an article regarding whether travel agents and cruise lines are warning passengers about the high rate of violent crime in Nassau. My article followed an article in the Tribune newspaper in Nassau reporting on the cruise industry's concern with crime against its passengers and crew members, as well as the U.S. State Department warning of the risk to tourists of armed robbery.
My impression is that whereas Carnival is warning its passengers of high crime ashore in Nassau, the other cruise lines are not. And while some travel agents are transparent with their clients and tell them the sad news about Nassau, many have a cavalier attitude of "crime happens everywhere" or "nothing has happened to me there" type of approach.
The article - Is Your Travel Agent or Cruise Line Warning You of Crime in the Bahamas? - also hit a nerve with the residents of the Bahamas. In comments to my article, I received two reactions from the Bahamas community. One sentiment was "yes, its dangerous here." The other reaction was a mixture of denial and strange patriotism "no, don't malign my country, Miami is more dangerous."
But the truth is that Nassau is more dangerous than Miami, New York, or Los Angeles, and does not compare well to even Detroit which is the murder capital of the U.S. In terms of armed robberies and murders, a U.S. citizen cannot travel to a more dangerous city in the U.S. compared to Nassau. And unlike these U.S. cities, Nassau is dependent on tourists arriving by cruise ship. The Miami-based cruise lines are finally talking about pulling out of Nassau if such high crime affecting their guests doesn't improve.
The Bahamas used to advertise that "it's better in the Bahamas." I don't know if it does anymore. A more accurate description would be "it's more dangerous in the Bahamas."
Perhaps some of the remote islands of the Bahamas are safer, but that's not where the cruise lines unload thousands of people a day.
Last month, the Acting Prime Minister of the Bahamas was the victim of armed robbery (see photos on our Facebook page here). Earlier this year, a 74 year-old female U.S. diplomat was the victim of an armed robbery on a Sunday morning downtown Nassau while walking to church. A few months ago, we wrote about the open letter to the Tribune newspaper about crime penned by Bahamian Senator Bostwick who talked about "regular random robbery of tourists."
Many in the Bahamas dependent on the U.S. dollars of the cruise passengers say that violence finds only those tourists who "go over the hill" looking for drugs or sex. Similarly, many U.S. travel agents tell their clients that everything will be fine if you stick with the other passengers in the cruise approved excursions ashore.
But I will always think of the Bahamas as the only place where armed robbers have targeted cruise passengers to rob in bulk on multiple occassions. I'm talking about the armed robbery of 11 passengers visiting the Queen's Staircase on a quiet Sunday afternoon and, a month later, the armed robbery and terrorizing of 18 cruise passengers during a cruise excursion to a nature's preserve.
I have been accused of exaggerating things. My response is don't read my blog. Read the local newspapers in Nassau - the Tribune and the Guardian. They are filled daily with stories of violent crime. I selected ten front page headlines from the Tribune in the last month or so to post on our Facebook page. Here are a few recent headlines:
"Man shot down in street," "7 shot, 1 killed at peace party," Murder count over 2012 total," and "Four dead in 36 hours of violence." The headlines go on and on.
You can see the articles from the Tribune here.
I doubt any cruise lines or travel agents want any of their customers to read these articles when deciding their cruise itinerary.