The challenge of ports like Roatan and Colon in Panama is the massive income inequality between the vast majority of the residents and the visitors who swing by for a bit of shopping and sight-seeing.
Cruises have stopped calling and excursions have been cancelled at the island of Roatan in Honduras, following the shooting of a crew member this month.
The man, who worked on Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship Pearl, was shot dead in what has been described as the “latest and most shocking in a series of violent reported incidents affecting visitors to the island.”
Cruising Excursions, a company that operates tours exploring the island’s fishing villages, mangroves, iguana farms and beaches, announced on Friday that it is taking the precaution of cancelling its tours there.
“A string of reports of robberies, violence against visitors and now this horrific murder have forced us to suspend our cruise excursion programme on this beautiful island,” a spokesman said.
He said it was a shame to do so and added that it was “very sad for the majority of law abiding island residents, especially those who make a living from tourism but we cannot recommend cruisers go ashore until we are reassured that measures are in place to protect visitors.
“All forward bookings have been cancelled with full refunds,” he added.
A family from the Carnival Conquest was robbed at gunpoint in the town earlier this year during an excursion and Carnival now issues information sheets to cruisers offering advice and safety tips.
Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) dropped the stop from its itineraries after the murder last week, which took place during an attempted robbery and resulted in a man being taken into custody. It took the decision out of “an abundance of caution for our guests and crew”, a statement said.
Roatan had become a significant stop for cruise lines serving the Western Caribbean.
Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines all also stop at Roatan.
The US State Department issued a travel warning in December for US visitors, while the Foreign Office warns against “high levels of violent crime” and says “visitors should exercise a high degree of caution.”
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Photo Credit: A cruise ship off the coast of Roatan, Honduras. cheri lucas / Flickr
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