Cruise Lines Cancel St. Kitts in Wake of Robbery
A spokesman for Carnival Cruise Lines tells AOL Travel News a call at St. Kitts by the Carnival Miracle, scheduled for today, has been canceled "as a precautionary measure," while the line awaits information from tourism and law enforcement officials on the island.
Likewise, a spokeswoman for Princess Cruises says, "We did cancel Grand Princess' call to St. Kitts on November 17. Grand Princess and Emerald Princess are next scheduled ships to visit St. Kitts on December 1. We'll be monitoring the situation closely and we're hopeful we'll be able keep these scheduled visits."
The attack by the masked gunmen occurred over the weekend as passengers from the Celebrity Mercury were visiting Brimstone Hill Fortress, a popular tourist spot on bus tours of the island.
The masked robbers reportedly blocked the road with a fallen tree and then emerged from the bushes to rob those on the bus. The armed gunmen then disappeared into the woods.
No one was injured in the incident. The robbers made off with valuables including cash, jewelry and cameras. Local police are investigating.
Celebrity Cruises has not canceled visits to the island but says its "Essential St. Kitts" shore excursion has been pulled from the line's tour roster indefinitely.
"The affected guests have been contacted by our Guest Care Team to offer assistance, if necessary," the cruise line says in a statement. A spokeswoman says the passengers were given a refund for the shore excursions.
The passengers were on a 12-night Caribbean cruise that departed Baltimore, Maryland on November 8th.
Norwegian Cruise Line, which has a visit by Norwegian Dawn scheduled for Nov. 25, says it is still assessing whether it will call at St. Kitts or not.
UPDATE: St. Kitts police say in a statement they have arrested four persons of interest in relation to the robbery, after a "number of operations were mounted" in the Sandy Point area "where scores of police officers and members of the St. Kitts and Nevis Defense Force conducted several searches on homes, persons and vehicles." In addition, a special investigative task force has been created to investigate the incident and the island has "increased tactical patrols and uniform police presence in the tourism concentrated areas and other areas deemed vulnerable." Officials also called the robbery an "unprecedented act."
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Photo by Ed Yourdon on flickr.