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Carnival, Bahamas tourism minister to discuss security during FCCA meeting

Carnival, Bahamas tourism minister to discuss security during FCCA meeting
Carnival Cruise Line is evaluating whether to revise its communication to passengers about security when visiting Nassau. The line, together with other Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association members, will be meeting with Bahamas Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe at the FCCA conference in Cozumel to discuss security.

There was a flap in the Bahamas this week when it was reported Carnival had written to Wilchcombe several times to express concern about the UK and Canada warning about crime involving tourists. The minister said he never got the emails and ordered a police investigation to determine if his account had been hacked.

For now Carnival continues to provide the same security-related messaging it has been communicating for some time with respect to Nassau, spokeswoman Jennifer De La Cruz told Seatrade Cruise News. That messaging appears in the daily shipboard newsletter.

'We routinely evaluate the destinations we visit to try to ensure we are communicating appropriate information to our guests on how they can best enjoy the destinations while at the same time safeguard themselves against unfortunate events,' De La Cruz said in an email.

She added that Carnival and all FCCA member lines are in regular contact with the Bahamas government, specifically the minister of tourism and other agencies, on security matters.

With Carnival Corp. & plc ceo Arnold Donald just confirming his attendance at the FCCA conference next week, there had been speculation this may be related to Bahamas concerns.

However, De La Cruz said Donald is going to participate in and support the FCCA as well as meeting with a number of colleagues and key industry partners. Additionally, he will be attending the opening ceremonies for Carnival's third pier at Cozumel's Puerta Maya on Thursday morning.

Canada has no nationwide advisory in effect for the Bahamas but warns travelers to exercise 'a high degree of caution ... especially in Nassau.'

The UK notes 'There have been incidents of violent crime including robbery, which is often armed and sometimes fatal, in residential and tourist areas of New Providence, Grand Bahama and Freeport,' and adds there are police patrols in the main tourist areas.

The US singles out New Providence Island, where Nassau is located, as having a 'critical' criminal threat level. However, this is not a new warning.

The information refers to a spike in crime between 2009 and 2013. At the time the US Embassy had received 'multiple reports indicating tourists have been robbed at gunpoint or knife-point in tourist locations in the downtown areas of Nassau, to include the cruise ship docks and the Cable Beach commerce areas; several of these incidents occurred during daylight hours.'