The Tribune newspaper in Nassau reports that during a meeting between the CEO of Royal Caribbean International brand, Michael Bayley, and Prime Minister Perry Christie, the cruise executive stated that he is “concerned” about high levels of crime in the Bahamas.
Mr. Bayley says that he has previously communicated his concerns regarding the issue of crime affecting his Royal Caribbean customers to the Bahamian government through the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).
He claims that his cruise line's ships bring around 1,700,000 guests to the the Bahamas each year. However, if his cruise customers do not feel safe visiting the country, they will no longer vacation in the Bahamas, he says.
Many cruise passengers to Nassau have told us over the last few years that they do not get off of the cruise ship upon arriving in the Bahamas because of crime ashore.
Mr. Bayley says that Royal Caribbean is "committed to maintaining a concrete relationship with the country and plans to double visitor numbers over the next 10 years." If true, this is an ambitious goal given the high crime rate in Nassau and the opening of ports in Cuba to Miami based cruise lines.
Ironically, the Royal Caribbean CEO was meeting with the Bahamian Prime Minister about the development of the cruise line's private destination in Coco Cay, Bahamas. With the development of a large fixed pier, the priavte cay will be able to receive larger cruise ships including the Oasis-class ships which carry up to 5,400 passengers.
As reflected in the comments to the article, many people feel that numerous islands in the Bahamas are being developed as private resorts for the cruise lines to escape the problems with crime and trash which detract from Nassau's reputation as a top cruise port.
In a PR news release, Royal Caribbean promised to increase the number of Bahamians employed by the cruise line in the next five years. This is an issue where the cruise line has failed miserably in the past. Compared to other countries like Jamaica where there are many thousands of cooks, cleaners and cabin attendants working in Royal Caribbean ships, there are relatively few crew members from the Bahamas working for Royal Caribbean.
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March 9, 2017 Update: Govt Should Be Concerned At Cruise Line’s Worries.
Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas in Nassau, Bahamas - Baldwin040 - CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikimedia.