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Carnival Cruise Returns to Long Beach After 22 of Its Passengers Robbed at Gunpoint on a Tour in Puerto Vallarta
The "Carnival Splendor" docked in Long Beach early this morning, but its cruise along the Mexican Riviera turned out to not be much of a getaway for passengers aboard the ship.
22 passengers who took a guided nature tour in Puerto Vallarta were robbed while they were on a bus returning to the ship ship. Robbers demanded the travelers to turn over everything they had, while flashing automatic weapons.
Passenger Ladean Hilgenberg retold another passenger's account of the robbery to KCAL: “One had a mask on hanging over his head and he said, ‘you see my automatic gun’ and a knife in his belt and he said it in Spanish. He wanted everything he had. One fellow pulled his money out of his wallet and he said, ‘no, I want everything… backpacks and all.’ And he raised his gun up. And they dropped everything — backpacks, everything.”
Fortunately, no one was injured and all the passengers made it back to the ship. The robbers haven't been caught, according to Mexican press reports. The tour has been suspended until further notice, a spokesman for Carnival told City News Service.
"Carnival is working with guests to reimburse them for lost valuables and assist with lost passports or other forms of identification," spokesman Vance Gulliksen told CNS. "Carnival sincerely apologizes to its guests for this very unfortunate and disturbing event and is providing its full support and assistance."
Some passengers told reporters that they didn't plan on heading back the Mexican Riviera any time soon. One of those passengers, Steve Nash, complained that Carnival didn't alert the rest of the passengers aboard about the incident. He's angry with the company and decided to cancel future cruises.
CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg said that this sort of violence against American tourists is rare. The Los Angeles Times says that the city of Mazatlan has been receiving far more scrutiny recently after a shooting left two dead in the parking lot in a tourist area of the city. Carnival canceled its stops to Mazatlan—a cancellation that will remain in effect Carnival says. Santa Clarita-based Princess Cruises had canceled its stops to Puerto Vallarta, but before this robbery, it was planning on resuming trips to the area this month.