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Letter from Carnival Victory Captain confirming shooting death of passenger


paulandfran

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I just want to add that every port city in Florida has crime and people still come to them. Miami is well known for high crime. I wouldn't go to South Beach, but I know many people who do go and have a nice time. Ft. Lauderdale has high crime. My family has lived there for many years. You learn to be watchful and careful there. (Don't let your guard down) Tampa has a reputation, too. Although, it's not considered AS high as Miami with crime. You can't avoid it. The same is true of any other port, too. AND don't ask about Key West.

Mexico has dangerous places. All you need to do is Google crime in Mexico and you'll find a lot of information. We can't hide our heads in the sand in fear. I refuse to let something keep me from going to such a beautiful location. In the future with St. Thomas, it's best to be watchful and not careless from now on. (Now that we know about the crime) I've read some scary things about Nassau, too. But, we're going. There is good and bad in every location. For every criminal, there are lots of hardworking vendors and merchants who try every day to make a living.

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Looks a though the passengers weren't the intended target, they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, so sad. Yes, this was an independent tour, but bad things have also happened on ship organized tours. These islands are basically third world, and have all the problems that go along with it. Use extreme caution when traveling ANYWHERE. I'm so sorry for the family.

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Yep. Here's another link from spleenstomer. Not as eloquent but also insightful. As I read over these again, some messages have disappeared but it's still an interesting timeline. Esp. the comments:

 

let us all seriously hope CNN and any other major network doesn't get wind of this. Aweful

 

to

 

Folks, word of this sad event is already out there on the most frequented/ popular cruise message board, "Cruise Critic".

 

http://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/read.php?4,141676,page=1

 

I saw that. It was like they wanted to bury the story, and realized it was escaping them as it got all the way up to Fox.

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So much for my thinking that St. Thomas was such a great place and that it's a really good idea to save money and get tours of the island with the local cabbies:(:mad:

 

I thought Puerto Rico was the island I had to worry about - How WRONG was I?

 

We've always stayed in the Havensight Mall area or shopped around in Charlotte Amalie. But----- we have taken cruise ship excursions. Won't do that again.

 

For those who are oblivious to crime - it DOES happen in small town America. The days of old of not needing to lock your front door or leaving your keys in the car are long since gone in the small town we reside in. I own a little mom and pop store and in the 22 years I've been in business I've been armed robbed twice and we have a burglary attempt at least once a year. You are no longer safe anywhere, not just impoverished islands. The worse the economy gets here the higher risk of crime.

 

When we were in Puerto Rico last year, I couldn't get my husband by cell phone as he was in the Sheridan casino. I went off ship to go get him and I made sure I walked with the crowds of people from our ship until I met up with him. I would suggest the same to anyone traveling. I do notice a lot of police presence in Old San Juan as well as in St. Thomas in the Havensight Mall area and Charlotte Amalie (although the blogger insists the police presence is mute)

 

How sad for this family

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Read that blog!!! The shooting yesterday happened in retaliation of another shooting -- 1st one was at KMart and this one during a funeral procession!! Amazing!! And there will probably be another shooting in retaliation for the one yesterday. Blog has alot of locals concerned about effect on tourism. Even a ship's excursion is not exempt from getting caught in such wildfire... So sad for Coral World and Coki Beach where some of best snorkeling can be found. So sad for STT.

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The problem with comparing St. Thomas to Mexico or calling St. Thomas "third world" is that this is a U.S. territory! It's OUR tax dollars that are supporting the corruption. And their crime statistics per capita are nowhere near any city on the mainland.

 

What happened to this young girl was a tragedy. But if it brings the problem to light, maybe her death will not have been in vain. :(

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I'll still get private taxis at the ports, including St. Thomas. We just won't go off the beaten path. We leave all our credit cards in the safe on the ship and only bring the cash we'll need for the day.

 

I've seen people here in Florida at places like Disney leaving open purses and bags in their baby strollers while they go on rides. I've seen people leave wallets.. etc. on beach towels at the beach. I think it's easy to forget that crime happens everywhere and it even happens on vacation.

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OK - I will have to confess to being caught off guard by the information that St Thomas has drug gangs and random violence. With as many as fifteen thousand passengers per day being disgorged from a flotilla of cruise liners,I had frankly assumed it was totally benign, albeit overcrowded and overhyped.

 

My wife and I visited St Croix about two weeks after the Fountain Valley Golf Course massacre, and the locals down there were quick to point out that Son of Sam had killed more people at that point than lost their lives in St Croix in that bloodbath.

 

With somewhat recent multiple homicides in Amish Country, it is a patent platitude to intone that these things can happen anywhere. What is important to internalize is the PROBABILITY that sporadic gunfire will end your life instantly. And the probabilities are significantly different in Bedford Stuyvesant and Easthampton.

 

Is St Thomas one of the stops for the Epic? If there are repeated murders in St Thomas, will they need to try find alternate accommodations for that behemouth?

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This is so tragic. My heart goes out to this family.

 

 

Although I do absolutely understand why the letter was worded the way it was, the it-wasn't-one-of-our-shore-excursion-taxis really struck me.

 

Is the letter worded that way to indicate that a ship's excursion taxi would not have been in that area?

 

Because it seems to me that this could have been anyone, on any shore excursion, at any time.

 

??

 

I too caught the way that was worded. It doesn't matter what vehicle was driving at that time be it an independent tour operator or a tour operator contracted by Carnival the same would have happened.

 

My thoughts and prayers go out to this family. Senseless tragedy!!

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The problem with comparing St. Thomas to Mexico or calling St. Thomas "third world" is that this is a U.S. territory! It's OUR tax dollars that are supporting the corruption. And their crime statistics per capita are nowhere near any city on the mainland.

 

What happened to this young girl was a tragedy. But if it brings the problem to light, maybe her death will not have been in vain. :(

 

That's over and above the fact that all these people screaming about choosing not to live in gang areas probably do and just don't know it. Gangs are everywhere. In every major and minor city. In most of the suburbs. Unless you're familiar with the culture, you probably don't even recognize the signs.

 

Life is random. Bizarre things happen. This is a tragedy, and I hope you're right and that she doesn't die in vain.

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While it might have been covered by the AP and searchable on a web portal - it was not picked up by NBC, ABC or CBS -or gathered top billing on any other major news outlet. My point was while not in the same country - the coverage of the barefoot bandit gathered top billing on all major news outlets. He never killed anyone - and the murder of a young tourist - same age as my daughter was not.

 

That's really not accurate (see below). It's getting major coverage. It just happened yesterday. The "barefoot bandit" has been an ongoing story for a long time. Of course his capture was going to be top news.

 

I think in this case, this story is/will be big enough that it will spur some immediate action in St. Thomas. They can't sweep this under the rug and they know how important Cruise ships are to their economy. This event well may be the catalyst for some meaningful change there. At least, we can only hope.

 

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While attending a Captain's Roundtable on a Royal Caribbean Panama Canal cruise one of the attendees asked why the cruise lines go to such dangerous ports as Cartagena, Columbia. The Captain responded that the most dangerous ports are within the U.S.A. with Miami leading the pack.

My sympathies go out to the family. The driver, a local, should have known that this was a dangerous area. We should all be aware of our surroundings even while on vacation.

This could happen to any one of us in any port or at home. If it had not been a cruise passenger, we wouldn't have even heard about it. Unfortunately we live in a violent world.

If St. Thomas wants to continue surviving with tourism dollars, it needs to be more aware of how far reaching a negative events like this one is and what it can do to it's economy.

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I too caught the way that was worded. It doesn't matter what vehicle was driving at that time be it an independent tour operator or a tour operator contracted by Carnival the same would have happened.

 

My thoughts and prayers go out to this family. Senseless tragedy!!

 

RE: including the it-wasn't-one-of-our-shore-excursion-taxis statement. My guess is when the letter was circulated to the lawyers and PR people etc. to sign off on, one of them thought to add it. No reason to though, it's an absolutely insignificant point.

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The driver, a local, should have known that this was a dangerous area.

 

 

 

 

RE: including the it-wasn't-one-of-our-shore-excursion-taxis statement. My guess is when the letter was circulated to the lawyers and PR people etc. to sign off on, one of them thought to add it. No reason to though, it's an absolutely insignificant point.

 

 

Okay, the first quote above is exactly why the letter was written the way it was. Because perception is everything and Carnival knows that just by having their name associated with this event in all of the news reports, some people will wonder if they were somehow culpable or knowingly put their passengers in harm's way. Even though it could just have easily happened to a Carnival sponsored excursion, it did not. I'm not at all surprised that the PR dept. would want to try to limit their association with this event.

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First of all, my heart goes out to the family of this little girl. I cannot imagine what they are going through.

 

We have been going to St. Thomas via cruise ships since the early 80's. Probably visited this island 30 times.

It's a well known fact that the crime activity in St. Thomas is out of control due to drugs and gangs. And it's been a well known fact for years. If you read the current statistics on the number of murders versus population on the island, the statistics are horrible. 400% higher than the most crime ridden areas of the US. The US Navy quit coming to St. Thomas years ago due to drug and crime issues, and opted to got to St. Croix for their crews to have shore leave for a day or two.

 

Sure, crime happens everywhere. But this was a senseless act of murder due to gang activity. Seems like the police should have known there could have been a potential for gang retaliation during the funeral. And, I agree that there is a huge probability for more gang retaliation.

 

I loved coming to St. Thomas in our earlier cruising years, but to tell you the truth, I don't really get excited about visting this island anymore.

Tortola and the BVI's would be a much better replacement in my opinion.

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Of course I may be misinformed, but I read on one blog that St Thomas had 57 homicides in one year and that there were only 100,000 residents. If this is true then someone should have figured out that it would only be a matter of time before a cruise line passenger got caught in the cross fire.

 

I wasn't naive enough to think there was no crime on St Thomas, but I did not know it was so bad.

 

By the way to the person that says the days of leaving doors unlocked and keys in the car are over. Sorry but around here, that is still the norm. The only time we lock up is when we are gone on vacation.

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The driver, a local, should have known that this was a dangerous area.Okay, the first quote above is exactly why the letter was written the way it was. Because perception is everything and Carnival knows that just by having their name associated with this event in all of the news repors, some people will wonder if they were somehow culpable or knowingly put their passengers in harm's way. Even though it could just have easily happened to a Carnival sponsored excursion, it did not. I'm not at all surprised that the PR dept. would want to try to limit their association with this event.

 

For some of us, I think the line about it not being their tour felt a bit off. To me, disingenuous, since Carnival also sponsors tours to that very location. It could have just as easily been a Carnival excursion. So, I guess we were asking what was the point of including that line. I guessed the lawyers, PR, folks added it before signing off. But who knows?

 

Such a sad and senseless tragedy. Try to imagine what that family is going through right now. Heartbreaking.

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For some of us, I think the line about it not being their tour felt a bit off. To me, disingenuous, since Carnival also sponsors tours to that very location. It could have just as easily been a Carnival excursion. So, what does it matter that it wasn't?

 

Such a sad and senseless tragedy. Try to imagine what that family is going through right now. Heartbreaking.

 

It's a legal liability issue. It's probably a line one of their lawyers threw in there. That's why it matters. They're making it clear that they have no liability in this case because the unfortunate family was off on their own. Why does this matter? It matters to investors. It doesn't point to an internal issue with CCL that their risk managers screwed up.

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I've been reading this thread avidly -- feel as you all do, so very sad about the tragedy. And having lived on St. Thomas, I also can feel the frustration about the escalation of crime there. It's been escalating a long time.

 

Wrote about this on our blog for Cruise Critic UK (you don't have to be in the UK to read it). http://cruisecriticuk.wordpress.com/.

 

Carolyn

 

Carolyn Spencer Brown

Editor in Chief

Cruise Critic

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I've been reading this thread avidly -- feel as you all do, so very sad about the tragedy. And having lived on St. Thomas, I also can feel the frustration about the escalation of crime there. It's been escalating a long time.

 

Wrote about this on our blog for Cruise Critic UK (you don't have to be in the UK to read it). http://cruisecriticuk.wordpress.com/.

 

Carolyn

 

Carolyn Spencer Brown

Editor in Chief

Cruise Critic

 

Well said Carolyn. Bless your heart.

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It's a legal liability issue. It's probably a line one of their lawyers threw in there. That's why it matters. They're making it clear that they have no liability in this case because the unfortunate family was off on their own. Why does this matter? It matters to investors. It doesn't point to an internal issue with CCL that their risk managers screwed up.

 

Nahhh... that statement doesn't release them from any legal liability. It's more PR. But in the end I think to some of us it stuck out and didn't feel quite right. And leaving it out would not have made me blame Carnival any more or any less.

 

This is just so sad. :(

 

I hope like someone else posted, this tragedy is a catalyst for some meaningful change there.

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It's a legal liability issue. It's probably a line one of their lawyers threw in there. That's why it matters. They're making it clear that they have no liability in this case because the unfortunate family was off on their own. Why does this matter? It matters to investors. It doesn't point to an internal issue with CCL that their risk managers screwed up.

 

I agree with all of the above.

 

I think Carnival also believes it matters to potential future passengers. Again, it's about perception. The fact that it could just have easily happened on a carnival excursion probably won't occur to the average non cruiser. But if it had happened on a carnival sponsored excursion, it would definitely create a negative impression in the minds of potential clients.

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I agree with all of the above.

 

I think Carnival also believes it matters to potential future passengers. Again, it's about perception. The fact that it could just have easily happened on a carnival excursion probably won't occur to the average non cruiser. But if it had happened on a carnival sponsored excursion, it would definitely create a negative impression in the minds of potential clients.

 

That's the inference I object to. Like nothing like this would have happened on a Carnival sponsored tour. :rolleyes::confused:

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