22 Carnival Splendor cruise ship passengers were robbed by a gunman while onshore in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, according to reports. The passengers were apparently enjoying a guided jungle hike in El Nogalito, an area famous for its hiking trails, when they were intercepted.
The cruise ship accident, which happened at approximately 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, culminated in the gunmen stealing money, watches, cameras and other possessions. A passenger told the press that the passengers were “single-file, and this robber came out of ahead them and had a bandana over his face, had a gun, spoke in Spanish. The tour guide translated and told everybody they had to put everything on the floor and then told us to turn around and run.”
News reports say that the gunman fled into the countryside following the incident. No information has been forthcoming about an arrest. Guests were reportedly unhurt and able to return to the ship safely, where they continued on the cruise.
Carnival Cruises has issued a statement apologizing to passengers for the incident. “Carnival sincerely apologizes to its guests for this very unfortunate and disturbing event and is providing its full support and assistance. Carnival is working with guests to reimburse them for lost valuables and assist with lost passports or other forms of identification,” said the company in a statement. It is not clear whether any of the passengers plan on filing legal action.
The cruise in question left Long Beach on February 19 and returned to port yesterday morning. The ship, the Carnival Splendor, operates out of Long Beach, FL and holds up to 3,006 passengers. It is home to some of the most luxurious spa facilities available on a Carnival cruise.
In response to the robbery, Carnival has decided not to take passengers on the hike in the future, adding to a long list of vacation activities in Mexico that have been cancelled or restricted because of the dangerous conditions there. Puerto Vallarta, a popular cruise destination and home to an intense drug war, temporarily lost Princess Cruises’ business after they assessed the situation to be too dangerous. Cruise stops in Mazatlan have also been suspended by several companies after two people were gunned down in the tourist section of the town.
According to Carnival Cruises, they still run Puerto Vallarta cruises but all stops in Mazaltan have been temporarily suspended. Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Criuses, is set to resume Puerto Vallarta stops soon. There have not been reports of any cruise passengers being killed at these destinations.
The U.S. State Department has encourages U.S. citizens to exercise caution when traveling to Mexico. The drug wars in Mexico have rendered the region extremely volatile, and random robberies and killings are commonplace.
Carnival Cruises faced another dilemma as another problem erupted with Costa Cruises, one of its subsidiaries. The Costa Allegra lost power and went adrift in the Indian Ocean today after a fire broke out in its’ electrical room, leaving the 1,000+ passengers aboard stranded. This is the second cruise ship accident within the fleet this year.