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Caribbean attacks might bring a sea change to cruising

April 17, 2013

The dream of a Caribbean cruise is becoming a nightmare to be avoided after two more attacks on tourists. And could it lead to cruises becoming just that, with no ports of call?

In the most recent incident a busload of more than 50 passengers from a Celebrity vessel was robbed on St Lucia. This came shortly after a couple, P & O passengers, were shot and robbed on Barbados, supposedly a relatively safe destination.

And just before these attacks, I had an unpleasant experience on St Thomas. I had been playing golf at Mahogany Run and was returning to my Disney cruise ship.

I asked a taxi driver waiting outside the golf club what the fare would be. When he said $10 each I replied, with a smile and expecting a friendly bit of bantering, that we had paid only $8 each to get there.

His reaction was aggressive, accusing me of trying to underpay poor islanders. Wanting to avoid a scene, we said ok let’s go, but once in the taxi the driver unleashed a torrent of abuse saying we were bad white men who thought they could put down black people, something we gathered he was not in favour of.

All four of us know the Caribbean and shrugged it off, but some people could have been shaken up.

Any assaults, physical and verbal, will not encourage visitors to the Caribbean, and as reports of these incidents circulate, this is likely to be a growing problem for the cruise lines, which have fleets of vessels whose main livelihood is these beautiful islands.

If push comes to shove they can always go back to the basics, that is just cruise, rather than make ports of call.

That way passengers are not at risk, although, of course, they will spend more money on board. But passengers will be spared the hassle of boarding and reboarding, and in some cases, missing the boat.

Or we may see more private islands, such as Disney has on Castaway Cay. This little piece of Bahamas paradise is a tropical island made to order.

It has lovely sandy beaches, games such as basketball, a restaurant, and best of all cabanas for rent.

I would not be surprised if a poll of Disney passengers showed that Castaway Cay was their favourite stop, particularly if they rented a cabana.

Image

Cabana on Disney’s Castaway Cay

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