Cruise Critic reports that 55 cruise passengers and two crew members from the Celebrity Eclipse were robbed at gunpoint by three men on Friday, April 12 2013 while in St. Lucia.

Celebrity Cruises issued a statement indicating that passengers were visiting the Botanical Gardens in Soufriere at the time of the robbery and were on two Celebrity-sponsored shore excursions, “Breathtaking Soufriere and Warm Mineral Baths” and “Land and Sea to the Pitons.”  Passengers were traveling on the same bus.

Celebrity Cruises EclipseCelebrity states that “none of our guests were injured in this unfortunate event,” but Cruise Critic states that passengers reported that “one woman fell and broke her leg.”

No one is talking about the potential emotional trauma and psychological effects of the armed robbery.

All the cruise passengers aboard the bus had their money and jewelry taken.

Cruise passengers to St. Lucia have been targeted in St. Lucia the past. We have written articles about the crime problem in that island: 14 Cruise Passengers Robbed at Anse-La-Raye Waterfall in St. Lucia.

The problem got so bad that NCL dropped the island for its 2010 to 2012 schedule. Read Norwegian Cruise Line Drops St. Lucia.

Robbing passengers on cruise-sponsored bus excursions is hardly rare. In 2010, 17 Celebrity cruise passengers were robbed in a bus by gunmen in St. Kitts.  “Robbing cruise passengers in bulk” in the Caribbean islands and Mexico is not uncommon and I have written about it: Robbing Cruise Passengers in Bulk – Yes, It Happens!

I wonder whether Celebrity provided any warning to its guests about the problem with cruise passengers being targeted for armed robbery in St. Lucia and other Caribbean islands?

If you have info about this latest crime, please leave a comment below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

April 14 2013 Update: A video from a local news station in St. Lucia is below.  You will hear tourism officials stating that they told the cruise passengers that such incidents against tourists are “rare,” St. Lucia Celebrity Cruise Crime Victimswhich is obviously untrue if a major Miami based cruise line like NCL pulled out in 2010.

The U.S. national media has picked up the story with Fox News carrying a AP story which mentions the incident. Not much information except the St. Lucia tourism people already hard at work. The article quotes St. Lucia Tourist Board Chairman Mathew Beaubrun portraying the robbery as a “rare incident.”  Damage control is underway.

April 15 2013 Update: USA TODAY assists in the PR damage control, repeating the St. Lucia talking point that crime in that country is “rare.”

Several newspapers are reporting that the police on St. Lucia have arrested one or more of the men involved in the robbery. Fox News says that the police arrested one of “four masked men armed with homemade shotguns and pistols held up the passengers from Celebrity Cruise.”  The Times mentions that three men were arrested.

April 20 2013 Update: I stumbled across a discussion on the Cruise Critic site where just 2 months ago passengers from the Celebrity Eclipse were accosted by a man ashore with a knife which sparked a discussion about crime in St, Lucia.  Meanwhile the cruise line and the PR people on the island are saying that such crime is rare. Read our article Liar, Liar Pants On Fire? St. Lucia Tourism Denies Prior Armed Robbery of Cruise Passengers.

Photo Credit: top – Wikipedia /  Jonathan Schilling; bottom – DBS TV St. Lucia via the Times.

  • John e

    Would ‘ranger’ type ‘security’ help dissuade such robberies?

  • My law partner and I debated that tonight. I think its a good idea, but the cruise lines would never do it because it would acknowledge the reality that the Caribbean is dangerous. My partner thinks that it would not deter the bad guys and would lead to a shoot out.

  • Michael Bauman

    thanks for posting this alarming but informative article and video, Jim. I appreciate the useful information you provide.

  • Freida

    I was on Royal Caribbean on Thursday, April 11, 2013 and visited St Lucia and the botanical gardens. This was our second visit to the island and we were very disappointed. At each stop there were numerous peddlers trying to sell their wares. I mentioned to our tour operator that the peddlers very annoying and we had not experienced this on our previous visit. His comment was he had rather see them trying to sell their wares than trying to steal from us. I now believe he knew of trouble brewing with the islanders. We had already decided we were unhappy with St Lucia and would not return. This just makes us more sure of our decision.

  • michael costantini

    I was going to invest in st. Lucia because it was a safe place for retirement , I guess I was wrong.

  • shorty

    I am from st Lucia and honestly the crime rate is very bad. It gets worse every year. I don’t get why they want to lie about it. Tourists need to be very careful when going to the Caribbean on a cruise. Be very careful..

  • Mark

    Why don’t you compare crimes in the Caribbean with crimes in the sates? Like all the crime and violence in Las Vegas? Or where I live in Denver Colorado?? Someone is murdered everyday here in Denver and even a woman recently lured another woman that was pregnant and cut her old. And stole her baby!! I think this is more maginfined by you because they are tourist that are robbed or murdered. I assume mostly everyone knows each other on the islands and they target tourists because the are easy targets with money and materila things. I think you should educate people and not scare people away from the Caribbean. Most of these islands are their world countries. Also there are plenty of rapes in the US when college kids are on spring break. Nothing new there. Happens here and mexico and every country in the world. So please help these beautiful islands with advice and not negative stories that already exists in the US. They are so comman here they don’t get world attention like you make it there. I’m just saying help don’t hurt….

  • We have rights in USA. THATS THE DIFFERENCE.