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Crime On the Rise? Find Out Yourself!

They say crime is on the rise in Nassau, the popular Bahamian cruise port — "they" being (among others) a website authored by maritime lawyer Jim Walker, an industrious watchdog of sorts for all things cruising.

According to Walker's writings, armed robbery is up in Nassau and recently even a daycare was a victim of the thieves. His business is all about cruise passengers' rights so it's safe to say he's not on the Christmas card list of any of the cruise lines.

His warning in the Bahamas, and perhaps other places, is that travel agents and cruise lines neglect to caution tourists of imminent danger…or increased imminent danger. To that end, Walker recommends that cruise passengers become their own advocates and do lots of homework before disembarking in ports.

He suggests that "homework" means reading the local papers and other media sources in the city and/or country you're visiting. We've never been influenced much by such research, our theory being that there are good people and bad people everywhere, and being a victim is most times being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But if you have safety concerns about visiting somewhere, Walker's advice is good…whether travel agents and cruise lines like it or not.

Celebrity Century
3 nights
February 12, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): NassauCoco Cay
Inside: $159
Cost per day: $53

Antigua wrestling with bad numbers

We have never been to Antigua, but we've been close (Puerto Rico). So we don't qualify as experts, but as tourists to the general area, like you we have an idea what is appealing and what is not.

This is pertinent because of yesterday's news that Antigua and neighboring Barbuda are in cruise trouble. Projections are ports calls by major cruise lines are down from 25 (Royal Caribbean) to 77 (Norwegian) per cent for the coming winter season. Naturally, the local Cruise Tourism Association is concerned.

Should there be more marketing?

Should the ports be made bigger to accommodate the industry's larger ships?

Is Antigua lacking in servicing cruise visitors?

Do ships (and passengers) need to stay overnight?

Has Antigua — and the wider Caribbean — become a tired cruise product?

There's a lot of finger pointing going on, some of it from a local named Asida Ngash, in the form of several lengthy comments on Caribarena Antigua, the "best Caribbean News Portal." Of all the criticisms levelled by Mr. or Ms. Ngash, this is the one that jumped out at us — and it can apply to ports everywhere.

"While working at an airline several years ago, I questioned some passengers and inquired what would make them happy as tourists. Their simple answer was: Indigenous culture. They do not want to come to Anu to eat continental breakfasts, and spend $50 US on a steak dinner they can get in Sizzler for 9.99. They want to eat saltfish and dumplin, pepperpot, go crabbing with the locals."

If you cruise enough, the junk shops and bars and restaurants start to look the same from port to port, don't they? In reflecting on our cruises, we found that our most memorable experiences were when we mixed with the locals.

How about you?

Carnival Paradise
4 nights
December 6, 2012
Tampa (return): Cozumel
Inside: $219
Cost per day: $54

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