Norwegian Cancels Calls at Honduras

| Sunday, 13 Apr. 2014

But several other cruise continue to the visit the island famous for its barrier reef

Roatan is a largest island belonging to Honduras – although it is only 48 miles long and five miles wide at it widest point. It became a newly developed cruise port just within the last decade as new destinations were sought by the cruise lines. It is located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea (second largest worldwide after Australia's Great Barrier Reef), and so Roatan is an important snorkel and scuba diving destination.

Unfortunately, the island has gained a reputation for not being as safe as it should be. Last year a family from a Carnival cruise ship, carnival Conquest, was robbed at gun point.  But much, much worse; last week a crewmember from the ship Norwegian pearl was murdered in what appears to have been a failed robbery attempt. The man worked on Norwegian Pearl, and the incident has been described as the “latest and most shocking in a series of violent reported incidents affecting visitors to the island.”

As a result – Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled all of its future calls to the island that had been previously scheduled. An independent cruise tour company, called Cruising Excursions, also announced on last Friday that it is canceling 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 program on this beautiful island," a spokesman said. "All forward bookings have been cancelled with full refunds,” he added.

The homicide, during an attempted robbery, has 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. A spokesperson for Cruising Excursions said 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.”

Still a Well-known Destination

However, because of the expansive barrier reefs, Roatan is still a significant stop for cruise lines serving the Western Caribbean, and Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Regent Seven Seas cruise lines all have ports calls scheduled there in the near future.

It is also known as the port with an airlift “ride” to a nearby beach and shopping area. This activity is safe – as long as you stay within the proximity of the area developed for cruisers. It is not recommended that you hire a car and go to the island’s largest town, Coxen Hole, for shopping in the street bazaar.

The U.S. State Department had already issued a travel warning last December for U.S. visitors, while the Foreign Office warned against "high levels of violent crime" and said "visitors should exercise a high degree of caution."

If you are scheduled to stop in Roatan, we highly recommend that you book a tour with your cruise line and stay with that tour throughout your stay on the island. The natural beauty of the reefs make it a naturally beautiful and compelling experience, especially for divers and snorkelers, but it is highly advised that you do not attempt to explore the island on your own. Also, beware of bad neighborhoods and any streets where other pedestrians cannot see you.

Violent crime happens everywhere, and almost every island in the Caribbean has its incidents. Therefore a reasonable amount of caution should be exercised at all times.


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