Los Angeles Times
POSTED: 06:39 a.m. HST, Feb 27, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 06:40 a.m. HST, Feb 27, 2012
LOS ANGELES >> Twenty-two guests on a Carnival Splendor cruise ship out of Long Beach, Calif., were robbed at gunpoint in Mexico last week as they traveled by bus from a nature hike in the jungle to the Mexican port city of Puerto Vallarta, according to cruise ship officials and Mexican media reports.
Hooded gunmen intercepted the tourists’ bus about 5 p.m. Thursday as it returned from the pueblo of El Nogalito, known for its trail through the jungle, according to the Mexican newspapers El Norte and La Jornada. The gunmen took cameras, money, watches and other valuables before fleeing into the countryside, the papers said.
“Carnival sincerely apologizes to its guests for this very unfortunate and disturbing event and is providing its full support and assistance,” Miami-based Carnival Cruise Lines said in a prepared statement. No one was injured and guests returned safely to the ship.
The tourists were part of a weeklong cruise that left the Port of Long Beach on Feb. 19 and returned Sunday morning, said Carnival Cruise Lines spokesman Vance Gulliksen, who could not provide details of the robbery.
The cruise line has suspended the nature trail tour where the robbery occurred. “Carnival is working with guests to reimburse them for lost valuables and assist with lost passports or other forms of identification,” the cruise line said.
The Carnival Splendor ship generally carries more than 3,000 passengers and operates year-round weeklong cruises from Long Beach.
As of last fall, one cruise line had decided to suspend stops in Puerto Vallarta, a popular port of call, because of the country’s ongoing drug war. That decision was made by Santa Clarita-based Princess Cruises, which, like Carnival Cruise Lines, is a unit of Carnival Corp.
Carnival itself did not cancel stops on its namesake cruise line in Puerto Vallarta, and Princess Cruises was set to resume visits to Puerto Vallarta this month.
A port just north of Puerto Vallarta has also experienced problems. After a February 2011 shooting left two dead in a hotel parking lot in the tourist area of Mazatlan, several cruise lines began canceling stops, including Carnival Cruise Lines. Gulliksen said Carnival’s cancellation of visits to Mazatlan remains in effect.
“We are working with local officials as the investigation continues, and we do not have any itinerary changes as it relates to Puerto Vallarta at this time,” Gulliksen said.