Here’s real irony: This New Yorker probably won’t disembark a cruise ship docked in the Bahamas because the threat of becoming the victim of a crime is too high.
According to a report in Travel Weekly, four cruise lines — Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian Cruise Line — have cancelled a popular Segway shore excursion in Nassau. This follows November robbery of 18 Royal Caribbean and Disney passengers at gunpoint while participating in the excursion.
To get an idea of how harrowing the experience was, click here to see an interview with one of the victims.
But this isn’t an isolated incident. In October, eleven tourists on a taxi tour of Queen’s Staircase were also robbed at gunpoint. And, two security guards were shot at the mega-resort Atlantis in Nassau
The U.S. State Department warns visitors about crime in the Bahamas, saying “Criminals tend to target restaurants and nightclubs frequented by tourists” and “The U.S. Embassy has received numerous reports of sexual assaults, including assaults against teen-age girls”. To read the full warning, click here.
According to the Nassau Guardian, “Crime statistics released last week reveal that armed robberies up to November 24 of this year increased to 786 from 670 incidents recorded for the same period last year.”
In all likelihood nothing will happen if I decide to disembark in Nassau; I simply don’t want to think about crime on a vacation. And, since I can buy duty free stuff and go snorkeling in every Caribbean port, I’ll admit I’m a wimp and stay aboard the cruise ship when she docks in the Bahamas.
Here’s the clincher for me: In the old days of high crime in New York (we now have one of the lowest crime rates in the U.S.!), the belief was that there is safety in numbers. We assumed we were unlikely to get mugged in broad daylight when other people were around. Not so in the Bahamas.
Will the growing crime rate in the Bahamas cause you to pick an itinerary that doesn’t include a port stop in this country? Should cruise lines bypass Nassau and Freeport as a port of call until local officials get the problem under control?