This past week, the news has been filled with stories of cruise lines canceling calls to ports around the world because of concerns for their passengers’ safety.
Carnival, Disney and Holland America Lines announced that they would no longer sail to Mazatlan because of violence in this Mexican city. Carnival called the decision a "precautionary measure," noting that "there have been no incidents involving cruise passengers."
Royal Caribbean Cruises said that its Rhapsody of the Seas will not call on Port Moresby in Papua, New Guinea because of concerns for the safety of cruise passengers. But according to an interview with a local tour operator in Papua, "no tourist that I heard in my lifetime taking tours around in Port Moresby have been rolled or have been attacked or been murdered." Royal Caribbean says the latest visit was canceled "in an abundance of caution."
"Precautionary measures" and an "abundance of caution?" If these are the governing standards for canceling cruises to violent ports, then what explanation do the cruise lines have for disembarking their passengers in Nassau?
Yesterday, the Tribune, one of the leading newspaper in Nassau, blared the headline "66 Armed Robbery Victims in 2 Months." At the same time, the other major newspaper, the Nassau Guardian headlined "Cruise Sector Not Expecting Decline in Business," reporting that cruise passenger arrivals grew by six per cent in 2010, continuing the rapid growth experienced over the past 40 years, with the numbers climbing from just over one million cruise visits in 1970 to over 20 million last year."
The Bahamas has the highest incidence of rape in the Caribbean according to a 2007 United Nations report on crime and violence. But this is not an academic statistic. It’s real. Earlier this week, we reported on a young cruise passenger who was beaten and raped in downtown Nassau near the cruise wharf.
The last year and one-half has seen an epidemic of crime against cruise tourists. We were the first publication in the U.S. to report on Eleven Cruise Passengers Robbed in Nassau and 18 Passengers From Royal Caribbean & Disney Cruise Ships Robbed By Shotgun in the Bahamas. We have also written about Bahamas Cruise Crime Nightmare Continues and Nassau Welcomes Oasis of the Seas as Bahamas’ Murder Count Reaches Record-Breaking Level.
If the cruise lines are acting responsibly in avoiding a port like Mazatlan because of the potential for violence against passengers, then why are cruise lines sailing their ships into a dangerous port in the Bahamas where unsuspecting guests have actually been robbed and raped?
Photo credit: BahamasPress.com