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When a port's dangerous, who's responsible for letting you know?


Who's responsible for warning passengers of crime risks? (Choose all that apply.)  

457 members have voted

  1. 1. Who's responsible for warning passengers of crime risks? (Choose all that apply.)

    • The cruise lines
      135
    • Planning resources, like Cruise Critic, or travel agents
      71
    • Travelers should do their own research
      183
    • Nobody; risk exists both away and at home
      63
    • Something else (which I'll post)
      5


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I voted that it is the traveler's responsibility, and other.

 

For nearly all situations, I believe the traveler needs to do the research themselves. The idea of holding safety to the standards of someone else is biased from the start - I would suggest that many people cruising live in areas that not all cruise ship employees would agree was safe!

 

I chose "other" as well, because there are sometimes events which are so large, so risky, or so new that it would be inappropriate for the cruise ship not to warn people. Had a cruise ship docked in New York as a port of call on September 12, 2001 I would expect the cruise line to notify passengers of what had occurred and what areas should currently be considered high risk. A cruise ship docking in Greece immediately after the riots broke out should also have provided an extra notification to the passengers. If a whole section of a port of call burns (or is still on fire!) just prior to docking, I would expect notification from the cruise line. But outside of these very significant and abrupt changes, I would expect that any normal pattern of crime is the passenger's responsibility. Then again, I don't expect that the ships would actually dock in any of these scenarios so perhaps it is a moot point.

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St Thomas has been crime ridden for years. Since the first time I was there in 1992, so it is nothing new. It is just not contained like it was, before it was safe during the day, but not at night. Now it is 24/7. Same as some places here in the US.

 

Whenever I leave the country I check the US gov website so I have an idea of possible situations.

 

It is up to the traveler to be prepared. If the cruise line are suppose to sit everyone down and let them know, then that is BS. If they do it why not the airlines, "We are landing in a dangerous country, be warned not to travel to ....." Crossing the border, should the agents at Canada and Mexico take everyone to a special room for a 30 minute safety briefing???

 

Blame this on the lawyers, they have made the country belive they are safe from everything and if not just sue to make it right. People are shocked when they leave the country and this is not true. Example go to a lookout point in the Rockies and there are fences and stuff to protect the stupid from themselves. Go to the Alps and there is nothing preventing you from going right up to the edge of a 1,000 drop.

 

What if it wasn't a shooting, what if the truck tire had blown out and it crashed killing someone. Should the cruise lines warn everyone of the danger?

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Warning. You can be a victim of crime anywhere. You have been warned.

 

The only person who has a legal responsibility to warn you of dangers is an agent because as an agent they have a fiduciary trust with you and must act in your best interest. That doesn't mean they have to spend all their time researching crime, but if they book you in a hotel that they know has had numerous crimes reported in the recent past and they don't tell you, they are breaking that fiduciary trust.

 

No one else has any responsibility to warn you. IMHO.

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I voted other. I think that anyone with information regarding personal safety that would influence their own decision regarding visiting a destination should share the information if the opportunity presents itself. That would include the Cruiseline, TA, Cruisecritic and others.

 

What does "if the opportunity presents itself" mean regarding "others"? Other then bothering each and every person I see telling them what I know just in case they don't have my same knowledge or in turn everyone else should be bothering others just in case - how on earth would I pass my knowledge that I took the responsibility to learn on to you? I consider it my responsibility to learn about the places I visit up to and including checking government websites about possible problems. I ask questions and read. I do not expect others to be responsible for my well being if I can't be responsible on my own and I don't think it is my place to teach anyone else. Now, if someone asked me if I knew anything that is different but I see no reason to walk around advising people of anything. Sure, if something really bad is happening it would be nice of the cruise line etc to let us know but in reality, I'm guessing there is something unfavorable happening every where every single day.

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If cruiselines have to tell you, then where does it stop? Wouldn't the airlines have to tell you as well? What about if you book a hotel? Who determines what is dangerous? Every area has some crime.

It is up to you to do your research before you book a trip.

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What does "if the opportunity presents itself" mean regarding "others"? Other then bothering each and every person I see telling them what I know just in case they don't have my same knowledge or in turn everyone else should be bothering others just in case - how on earth would I pass my knowledge that I took the responsibility to learn on to you? I consider it my responsibility to learn about the places I visit up to and including checking government websites about possible problems. I ask questions and read. I do not expect others to be responsible for my well being if I can't be responsible on my own and I don't think it is my place to teach anyone else. Now, if someone asked me if I knew anything that is different but I see no reason to walk around advising people of anything. Sure, if something really bad is happening it would be nice of the cruise line etc to let us know but in reality, I'm guessing there is something unfavorable happening every where every single day.

 

Knowing that I frequently visit the Caribbean I often have friends and family ask for my opinion and advice regarding the islands.

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that's sad. I feel safer at my home in Jamaica than I do at my home in Miami.

 

I don't feel safe anywhere in the Caribbean. I still visit but opt to stay on the ship in many of the ports. Jamaica is one that I always remain onboard.
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The only person who has a legal responsibility to warn you of dangers is an agent because as an agent they have a fiduciary trust with you and must act in your best interest. That doesn't mean they have to spend all their time researching crime, but if they book you in a hotel that they know has had numerous crimes reported in the recent past and they don't tell you, they are breaking that fiduciary trust.

 

No one else has any responsibility to warn you. IMHO.

 

Any court decisions and/or legal precedents to back that up?

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My grandson had his pocket picked last weekend, in NYC.

The last time someone tried he was very young, in Italy.

All ports, airports, train stations, county fairs and big cities are places for extra caution.

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The cruise lines already warn you that independent tour guides are not endorsed or monitorred by the cruise line, it is the responsibility of the person booking the excursion to determine if the provider is "safe".

 

In the recent St/ Thomas tragedy; it did not involve a tour through cruise line BUT it was a freck accident and easily could have happened just as easily if it had been booked through cruise line.

For years, I have used Sunny Liston (he was not involved in the recent shooting)and I will continue to use him.

Fabulous place to see and not once did I feel unsafe with him. One of the best tours one can have.

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Knowing that I frequently visit the Caribbean I often have friends and family ask for my opinion and advice regarding the islands.

 

Right - so you had the information and someone asked you directly - you did not going around starting up conversations with strangers, family and friends and telling them even when not asked just because you had the information.

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Any court decisions and/or legal precedents to back that up?

none. The TA is a disclosed agent for a known principal. It would be rare indeed if they were held separately liable. Courts are not going to hold someone who gets a small portion of a fee liable as they would quickly be no more. When a plane crashes its never the TA/consolidator who bought the ticket who has any liability. There probably is an exception for a paid agent(paid directly by the passenger for their expertise but the disclaimers most TA's give would cover that too)...

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cruiseco & smeyer418: I admit I am not an atty, but anyone legally acting as an agent - Real Estate, Insurance, Travel, etc. has a legal responsibility to act in their client's best interest regardless of who is paying them directly.

 

If a TA knew that numerous kidnappings had happened in a certain hotel or area - and I mean more than the usual number that unfortunately happen in some countries - and the TA did not warn a family with children about that and a child from that family was kidnapped, I'm sure a case could be made.

 

I don't think a TA that knows about the St. John's shooting has to tell every single client they book on a trip to St. John about the shooting. That is one isolated incident that is being blown out of proportion in terms of the danger lever for tourists.

 

The point is, it would be illogical for a TA to convince clients not to go to St. Thomas because of a shooting. And, it would be unethical for a TA to recommend a hotel that is known for kidnappings for a family with children and could land the TA in court.

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Cruise lines are in the business of providing transportation. I choose to go someplace because I have a desire to go there, and I seek out carriers that serve that destination. For whatever reason, if I have a need or desire to go to St. Thomas, I will seek out a carrier that goes there. If that destination insecure, that is my responsibility to determine and to balance the risks involved. I don't want someone else to decide that I "can't" go there because they "know better" than me. Imposing liability on a carrier simply because they happen to serve a particular destination to which its passengers have made a free choice to travel would constitute both an unfair burden on the carrier and would unduly restrict the choice of people to freely choose where they desire to travel (be it for business, pleasure, or any other reason).

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none. The TA is a disclosed agent for a known principal. It would be rare indeed if they were held separately liable. Courts are not going to hold someone who gets a small portion of a fee liable as they would quickly be no more. When a plane crashes its never the TA/consolidator who bought the ticket who has any liability. There probably is an exception for a paid agent(paid directly by the passenger for their expertise but the disclaimers most TA's give would cover that too)...

 

I'm thinking that the way for a TA to get in trouble would be to babble something like "oh sure, it's 100% perfectly safe . . . "

 

I'm not a lawyer but I'd bet that 10's of thousands of American tourists every year are victims of crime both domestically and abroad. If the TAs were being hauled into court and held liable on a regular basis there would be a huge paper trail going back years. I don't think there is so I don't think the liability is there -- rightly or wrongly.

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I'm not trying to insult anyone but like I said before if you need to have someone tell you that there may be dangers where you are tavelling, then you must have been really excited when McDonalds put the caution hot liquid label on their hot coffee cups....who would have known otherwise!?!

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I'm not trying to insult anyone but like I said before if you need to have someone tell you that there may be dangers where you are tavelling, then you must have been really excited when McDonalds put the caution hot liquid label on their hot coffee cups....who would have known otherwise!?!

 

It is really best to assume that anywhere you go there could be danger (including the U.S.) Most cruise lines will drop a port when there is civil unrest or a particular rash of crime. Looking at the Department of State travel advisories can also be helpful. Neither the cruise line or your travel agent has legal responsiblity to warn you of possible danger. Checking with your TA or CC is definitely helpful, but, at least on these boards, you will find differences of opinions. For instance, I know of some ports that can be extremely dangerous at night but are fine during the day.

 

You need to be aware of your surroundings -- do not flash money or keep valuables in sight (this includes wearing jewelry that can be ripped off your neck or wrist). I keep some cash in my pocket, but, use a safety pin to make sure that pocket cannot be opened. Some of the most beautiful and famous places in the world can be a real problem if you are not paying attention (Barcelona, Rome, Rio De Janeiro, Athens, London, Paris, Lisbon, many islands in the Caribbean . . . . almost any major city you can think of). Unfortunately, this is a lot more serious than hot coffee at McDonalds.

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It would be detrimental to cruise line ticket sales too report crime statistics in ports of call. SO THEY ARE NOT GOING TO DO IT. You must research this your self, take your own safety in your own hands where it belongs! If you act like a sheep and depend on some one to sheppard you, you will be led to the slaughter!!!

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Listen I live in staten island, at 15 I was in 9/11 I ran for my life covered in dust, at 19 I was robbed, at 21 I was grabbed all in nyc I don't put myself in dangerous situations and living in nyc I feel confident and safe here..but things happen unfortunatley and tragically sometimes..with all the warnings in the world you can't prevent things from happening..a warning is wonderful for awareness but just live smartly.you can prevent being in dangerous situations but dangerous things happen in the safest of areas

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The randomness of violence can effect anyone, anywhere, anytime. My heart goes out to the family of the girl killed in St Thomas as I can't imagine having something like that happen while in the mist of a wonderful vacation. But the reality is that it can happen in our own towns and cities as we travel in our own vehicles as easily as while traveling in vacation destinations.

 

We are all responsible for our own choices and our own decisions and our own research about the places to which we travel. I only consider it the responsiblity of the cruiseline to make me aware of new events that occur while we are in the mist of a cruise that could impact my decisions about visiting a port while on our cruise that I could not have possibly known before leaving on our trip.

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One tourist gets killed in St Thomas and everybody is in a panic.

 

America's biggest cities; NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, LA, New Orleans - and many others - average well over 1 murder EVERY day of the year.

 

I don't see any warnings to tourists not to board a cruise ship in Miami, New York, New Orleans, or LA.

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Sometimes these tragedies boil down to bad luck and being in the wrong place at the wrong time and no amount of prior research could prevent it happening. If you are going to live in a constant state of anxiety about what "might" happen you may as well hide under the blankets (and hope your house doesn't burn down). Having said that, be aware of potential trouble and don't expose yourself to unnecessary risk. The Caribbean region does have a bad reputation, some of it justified, so do your research Becky!

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I blame the media. Things are completely blown out of proportion these days. Yes, somebody unfortunately got killed and my heart goes out to her family, but she was just out of luck. If my neighbour wants to kill his wife and points a gun at her in their backyard and I happen to sit in my garden and get hit by a stray bullet, does that make the whole town/area/country unsafe? My mum always said that you can hide in your house all your life and then the house gets hit by a falling tree or a hurricane.

 

I remember that after Natalee Holloway disappeared in Aruba, the Aruban tourist industry nearly collapsed because Americans did not want to go there anymore, because it was so hyped in the media. Yet, in another thread on CC about the safest ports, a lot of posters vote for Aruba. So what is fact and what is hype? It takes one madman in St.Thomas or Aruba to destroy the whole economy. The way to combat crime is combat poverty. If people have no perspective in life, they see no other option than gangs. These fragile economies need our dollars.

 

I notice that people cannot handle disappointments and unexpected events anymore. Stupid accidents sometimes do happen. Somebody is always "to blame" and needs to be sued these days. This week, somebody died on a campground in Europe because a tornado blew her mobile home into a lake. Should the family now sue the mobile home manufacturer because they did not warn her of the one in a billion chance (probably smaller, we normally don't have tornados in western Europe) that the camper could blow away? I remember we had to sign a disclaimer at the RCCL ice skating rink under the statement "I know ice is cold", I know ice is hard", "I know I can fall". Come on people, it took us more time to fill in the ridiculous disclaimer than to actually skate. It takes a lot of the fun away, and all you really need is common sense, and sometimes a slight bit of luck.

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The Department of State that issues travel warnings (http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1765.html) does not list St. Thomas. Go figure. Basically, when you walk out of your front door, the responsibility for safety lies with you. Fair?. . . . . . No. Reality?. . . . . Yes!

 

Go figure? I figure it is because St Thomas is part of the USA, the Department of State only issues warnings for overseas destinations.

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One tourist gets killed in St Thomas and everybody is in a panic.

 

America's biggest cities; NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, LA, New Orleans - and many others - average well over 1 murder EVERY day of the year.

 

I don't see any warnings to tourists not to board a cruise ship in Miami, New York, New Orleans, or LA.

 

Agreed.

 

As for whose responsibility it is, I think it is up to the individual travelling to research what areas are "safe". If someone wants to be cautious they could book excursions through the ship but even these aren't a guarantee that nothing will happen.

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