Crime Nassau BahamasToday I received something from a cruise passenger who reads this blog that I don’t see very often – a cruise line providing warnings to their passengers about crime in a port of call.

We have written a number of articles recently about the high rate of crime in Nassau.  The U.S. Embassy released the warning from the U.S. State department calling the armed robbery and murder rates in the Bahamas to be "critical."

The Nassau Guardian interviewed me about the problem and I said that Nassau was "one gunshot away" from the cruise lines leaving.

We have heard that Carnival and Disney are warning cruise passengers to be careful going ashore in Nassau. This is the first actual written warning we have ever seen.

I think the warning is missing some things, like a reference to the fact that the U.S. Department of State issued an official warning and characterized the armed robbery rate as "critical."

The warning is a bit watered down too. Disney says that you need to take precautions in Nassau "as in an large city" or in any "tourist destination." The truth is that Nassau has a higher violent crime rate than any large U.S. city other than, perhaps, Detroit. Everyone knows about Detroit being dangerous. But lots of tourists are fooled into believing that Nassau is a tropical paradise.

And what on earth does Disney mean when it says use the same level of precaution like you were in "any tourist destination." Like you were in Disney World? The warning loses its effectiveness. Lots of travel agents say things like this. "Crime occurs everywhere," but that’s an assurance not a warning. The truth is that crime occurs more often in certain places, like Nassau. The point is that crime in Nassau is critical. Its unlike any other tourist destinations. That’s the point of the State Department warning in the first place.

As I have suggested in prior articles, we suggest that people thinking of buying a cruise to the Caribbean first read the daily newspapers in Nassau before selecting Nassau as a destination on your cruise itinerary.  The Tribune (photo, above), the Bahamas Press and the Guardian are excellent sources of information. 

The passenger who sent us the warning, a mother traveling with her children, commented:

"I have never seen such a busy port day on board the ship. Hard to find room in a pool or a chair. Looks like many stayed on board."

I’m wondering how many passengers are deciding to stay on the ship, when they reach Nassau, because of concern that their family members could be a victim of crime.

Have a thought? Please leave a comment below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Disney Cruise Crime Warning in Nassau

  • Russ Ludens

    We were in Nassua this May it was our first port of call on our trip. Knowing nothing about this I am glad we had an uneventful port day there. I will add we went immediately on an excursion to an island off of Nassau spent the day there then back immediately to the ship. I do know I will NOT visit Nassau again!

  • blubayoubilly

    We’ve planned a seven nighter for December. We’ve already decided, that if Royal Caribbean still stops at the port, we’re not getting off. Our other ports are Key West, and their “private” island. I wonder how long the cruise lines will keep sailing to Nassau when virtually nobody gets off? They won’t be making any money from their “preferred” merchants, as nobody will want to venture off the ship. I told my wife about how things have changed since we were last there, including the assaults of passengers on excursions. And that now, they seem to be waiting for a “guest” to get killed to finally decide to pull out. She said, “that’s just wrong!” She’s right. We all know it, even the cruising cheerleaders know it. I guess, then again, that’s how little a “guests” life really is worth to the cruise lines. It’ll probably take the loss of income of Port activities to finally motivate them to pull out!

  • Gl Greene
  • Gl Greene
  • Labadee

    Remember getting a warning from the cruise director one year on Belize. We decided to go anyways. A couple from our table did also. They took an excursion to see the city on a bus. They weren’t too thrilled. Near the end of their ride, they all stopped at a liquor store that had a sale for RCI customers. But, you couldn’t take the booze with you on the ship, the bus excursion would deliver it to the ship for you. Well, that never happened and they were out the money they paid. People are so trusting of strangers on cruises.

  • My experience suggests that if the State Department has designated crime in Nassau as “critical,” the situation must be far worse than critical. Absent war or overt acts of terrorism, State Department travel advisories are always watered down relative to the reality on the ground.

    Thanks for the information service you provide!

  • Frank

    Carnival Magic cruise director warned us by ship-wide announcement that there was a threat of crime targeting American tourists. The daily newsletter/agenda also had this warning in print. After taking an excursion the previous day in Freeport, my wife and I decided to cancel our Nassau excursion because of this threat. After a few calls and many discussions with guest services, our excursion was eventually canceled and refunded. Did not seem to us that many other on board did the same.

  • Local

    Bahamaspress is a well known tabloid. They are not in any way press nor affiliated with creditable sources.

  • Diane

    I just want my money back!:-( I had no idea the Bahamas had become so dangerous, and I booked a cruise a few months ago to treat my daughter (who spilled the beans 3 days later that she was pregnant and couldn’t go) and two beautiful young granddaughters so that not only could they experience a cruise ship but the beautiful beaches and water, as well! From everything i’ve read, it’s not a place I feel safe about taking my granddaughters. Not sure if I can get a refund from VacationstoGo, but I’m sure going to try. I would prefer to take them somewhere in the states and simply avoid having to be so fearful of my surroundings that I can’t take my eyes off them without my heart missing a beat. It’s such a shame that the government has allowed crime to consume those beautiful islands!

  • Monica

    In October my husband and I took a cruise on Norweigan Cruise lines from Miami to St. Thomas, Tortola and Nassau. We got off the boat, took a local bus to a hotel walked through the hotel– and spent the day on the beach. We then took the local bus back. We had a wonderful time but I noted hardly anyone was at the hotel and on the beach. A large multi million dollar resort that consisted of several hotels that was scheduled to open never opened. We saw a guard walking around the hotel and asked what happened. Why is everything closed? He told us it never opened because it went bankrupt. We enjoyed the beach in front of the hotel which was just beautiful. We had such a great time on the cruise. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much so that I planned and prebooked another cruise on the Harmony of the Seas out of Barcelona with my daughter. It was to leave Sept 11th. A surprise for her birthday. We were going to spend a week in Barcelona and then board the cruise.

    In the interim, I began researching Barcelona and came across so many web sites and articles about how unsafe Barcelona it was. My daughter has special needs and is usually sick after a flight. I imagined being a target right off the plane. The more I researched Barcelona the less I wanted to go. Then, I came across your website. I was so socked to read that we could have been robbed or killed in Nassau. When we were on board the cruise there wasn’t an orientation about safety. We had no idea.

    Our special needs daughter was at home. If something happened to us she would have been an orphan. I couldn’t sleep and was shocked to read about what goes on in the cruise industry. I immediately cancelled our trip. And I can tell you, I will never cruise again.

    I am so thankful I came across your website. Thank you, you saved both my daughter and I a lot of potential heartache.