Cruise Ship Law

Bahamas Cruise Ship Crime Rampage: What the Atlantis Resort Doesn’t Want You to Know


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Lipcon, Margulies & Winkleman, P.A. is made up of attorneys who are nationally recognized industry leaders in the field of maritime and admiralty law. Our team of cruise lawyers has well over two centuries of combined experience, has successfully handled over 3,000 cases, and has recovered over 300 million dollars in damages for our clients. Several of our attorneys have even been selected to “Best Lawyers” ® by US News & World Report every year as far back as 2016.

Atlantis BahamasA few days ago, our cruise injury attorneys reported on the increasing rate of crime in the Bahamas, a favorite travel spot for cruise lines. With the number of violent gun crimes on the rise and the local authorities’ inability to stop it, passengers should exercise extreme caution when venturing out into any Bahamas port of call. While no one is discouraging travel to the Bahamas yet,  Atlantis Resort in Nassau is not happy with Carnival’s warnings to its passengers and would it appears prefer that travelers to Nassau be kept in the dark about the increase in criminal activity there.

According to a news report from Nassau’s Tribune 242, Atlantis is “very concerned” about cruise lines warning passengers about the crime spurt in the city, particularly Carnival Cruise Line’s recent warning to guests disembarking in the island nation to be careful while in port due to the high rate of criminal activity.

Hopefully Carnival will ignore this “concern” and continue to take all necessary precautionary steps aimed at protecting the safety of its passengers and continue to issue warning letters to all guests before their arrival in Nassau.

Atlantis concern is well founded but for the wrong reason. Though Atlantis draws thousands of tourists each day, over 4,000 of them come from the ranks of cruise ship passengers. The resort makes very good money from the several excursions, tours and opportunities to experience Atlantis in all of its glory which it offers to cruise passengers. So it stands to reason that if passengers fear their safety in Nassau (or any other Bahamas ort for that matter) they will think twice before disembarking their vessel, and this in turn Atlantis will lose that revenue.  But regardless of the claims of Atlantis executive George Markantonis that the resort is working “very aggressively” to protect visitors from harm and to deal with issues that have led Carnival to warn its guests to refrain from carrying large amounts of cash while in port. Until such time as the crime rate goes back down again or tourist are assured that the areas they frequent have been made safe again, Carnival is doing the right thing.

All Cruise passengers should be discouraged from carrying large sum of money whenever they are in any foreign port because if they become targets for a pickpocket or thief their stolen cash is gone forever. It’s wiser to carry Traveler’s Checks because these are easily replaceable and if properly used cannot be easily converted to cash, or credit cards which are easily and cancellable and have caps for the liability of the card owner to unauthorized use.  Cash is more arguably more convenient but if it is all you have or if you carry a lot of it with you and you end up a crime victim the remainder of the cruise vacation is in peril.

Casino resorts like Atlantis want guests to have lots of cash on them because cash is more readily spent when gambling than other forms of funds such as Traveler’s checks or credit cards. But Atlantis would be better served by offering to accept these readily and/or without any transaction costs for converting them to cash rather than by asking others to keep tourist in the dark about risks to their safety.

Bahamian businesses that don’t want to lose revenue over the increase in crime should pressure their local authorities to deal with the problem or should provide free secure transportation to and from the cruise vessels to their establishments. Profit should never be a higher priority than the safety of tourists. Especially for economies who have as high a dependence on tourist money as The Bahamas does.

Carnival is not only doing right thing with its warnings, it is the cruise line’s legal responsibility to warn its guests of potential dangers is aware of. Now that the Cruise Passenger Protection Act of 2013 has been launched, cruise lines are required to share information on crimes and accidents to the public so future travelers can have an idea of what to expect at any given port. This information can save lives and lead passengers to be more cautious when walking around a foreign port.

The maritime lawyers at our firm congratulate Carnival for doing the right thing and warning its cruise passengers while at the same time we would also like to take the opportunity to warn cruise passengers of the dangers that can be experienced both in port and at sea and advise travelers to always be on the lookout for signs of crime or suspicious activity.

Additionally, aside from robberies, the Bahamas is also known to have a high rate of sexual crimes against women. Predators tend to target female tourists that are alone, so it is wise for women who would like to experience the Bahamas to make sure they head out with a group of people so the chances of an attack are diminished.

Accidents and crimes can’t always be prevented, but by being aware of a situation and taking precautions to avoid becoming a target, cruise passengers can reduce their risk of getting hurt in the Bahamas or any foreign port.

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