Posts Tagged ‘Antigua’

Cruise line brawlers to be sentenced in Antigua

Monday, October 5th, 2009

The island of Antigua and Carnival Cruise Lines were pushed into the spotlight last month when six passengers from the Carnival Victory were thrown into jail for allegedly attacking police officers after an argument with a taxi driver about the size of the fare.

Five of the six accused have decided to plead guilty to the charges which include malicious damage and battery. A number of Antiguan police officers testified at the trial saying that the cruise line passengers started to behave in a very aggressive manner after the cab driver had driven them to the police station to report their refusal to pay his bill. One female officer said that she had been kicked in the stomach whilst trying to help a fellow officer during the brawl.

All of the cruisers claim that they were trying to defend themselves and Rachael Henry, one of the defendants, has testified that all but one of their attackers were wearing civilian clothes causing the group to think that they were being robbed. The police officers have said that during the fracas the cruisers threw punches, chocked them and pulled on their hair.

The sentencing of five of the six cruisers will take place later today.

Carnival pull cruise ship from Antigua

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Carnival Cruise Lines has suddenly decided that it will no longer be sailing its ship, the Victory to the ports of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. The Antiguan tourism minister, John Maginley said that he received news of the company’s decision via an email just last week with absolutely no warning. Maginley said that previous to the email being sent he had been in talks with Carnival about increasing the numbers of visitors to the island. The Victory, capable of carrying 2,758 passengers will now be sailing to St Maarten instead.

A spokeswoman for Carnival Cruise Lines has said that it is not unusual for the company to review its itineraries and for it to decide to make changes. She pointed out that the companies Freedom also visited Antigua about once a month and will continue to do so.

Mr. Maginley is a little suspicious of Carnival’s timing. He said that he hopes the decision was not affected by the fact that three weeks ago six passengers from a Carnival cruise were arrested for refusing to pay a $100 dollar taxi fare resulting in a fight. Many in the U.S. have seen the detention of the tourists as a violation of their rights.

Carnival said that the incident has had nothing to do with their decision.

The absence of the Victory could cost Antigua $40 million a year in customer revenues. Passenger head tax alone provides the island with $500,000 per year. Mr. Maginley is concerned that if Carnival can simply announce that they will no longer call at the island then what’s to stop other cruise companies from doing the same.