The World’s Most Dangerous Cruise Ports from The World’s Most Dangerous Cruise Ports

The World’s Most Dangerous Cruise Ports

Cruise passengers are just like other tourists with the exception of their arrival style. Hiding a humungous ships as it sails into port on publicly available schedules is impossible. Large groups of people, completely unfamiliar with the area, are on the ground in a matter of minutes.  This combination of unavoidable factors puts cruise passengers at risk. The countries in the following list have been selected based on the Global Peace Index (GPI) from the Institute for Economics and Peace and security reports by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Colombia

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Colombia is the 17th most dangerous county in the world, according to GPI, but in the top when it comes to popular cruise destinations. The South American nation has long had a reputation for high crime rates largely due to gang wars. Bribery, extortion, drug trafficking and theft are some of the bigger concerns for tourists. Insurgent groups are known to set up roadblocks to rob and kidnap travelers.

Turkey

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Many of the cruise companies which had any city in Turkey in their itineraries have rerouted their ships. Crime rates are moderate and locals are friendly and hospitable, according to OSAC, but terrorist threats and suicide bombings are a concern. More than 200 people have been killed over the last year. Just recently, an explosion at Istanbul airport, one of the busiest in Europe, left 45 dead and more than 200 injured. 

Venezuela

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Venezuela is in the Top 25 of the most dangerous countries in the world. “Venezuela has remained one of the deadliest countries in the world, as increasing violence and criminal activity resulted in unprecedented levels for 2015,” according to the State Department. The crime rate is “critical” due to theft, murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, and disease outbreak threats. Rampant poverty and shortage of basic goods have exacerbated the security situation. In 2014, a cruise passenger was murdered on Margarita Island, a popular cruise port, during a robbery.

Egypt

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Egypt is ranked 22nd as the world’s most dangerous country, according to GPI. There are restrictions on photographing certain sites, including the Suez Canal, and police can interpret people’s actions very broadly, according to the State Department. Police detention and harassment are possibilities. Civil unrest and sporadic sectarian violence are also a concern. Last but not least, most Nile cruises do not have a doctor on board.

Mexico

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Mexico’s crime rate remains high. “Wrong-place/wrong-time violence is the greatest threat to personal safety, and the risk is as likely in upscale as well as lower-income areas,” OSAC says. Homicides, assaults and robberies are major concerns for tourists. Certain places, such as Acapulco, have army soldiers deployed to maintain security. Reports of masked men robbing passengers at gunpoint on their way back to the ship are not uncommon. Mazatlán is a popular cruise port but the crime rate there is very high as well, according to OSAC.

Philippines

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Many cruise lines travel to the Philippines with Manila and a few islands of the archipelago, being the most popular ports. Crime is a significant concern in urban areas with theft, physical assault and robbery being most common crimes reported to local authorities last year, according to OSAC. Several militant groups see kidnap-for-ransom as way to fund their operations, and foreigners are often targeted. Crimes related to methamphetamine productions and distributions are also a concern.

Honduras

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The level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high, although it has declined in the past two years, according to a Travel Warning issued by the State Department. The country has one of the highest murder rates in the world – in 2012, on average of 20 people a day were killed every day in Honduras, according to the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University ; 10 Americans have been killed since January 2014. Cruise passengers have been victims of armed robbery and carjacking.

Belize

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There have been recent complaints that Western tourists disembarking from cruises are offered drugs and then “set-up” for arrest and payment of a hefty fine, according to OSAC. Most crimes against tourists are thefts and result in no injuries. Travelers are advised to avoid areas of the south side of Belize City where numerous gangs are known to operate. Some excursions require a military patrol to view the Mayan ruins.

El Salvador

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Crime is at critical levels in El Salvador. Almost a quarter of Salvadorans (24.5 percent) were victims of crime in 2015, according to a poll. Violence is unpredictable and the victims are often targets of opportunity, OSAC says. Two popular cruise ports are in La Union and Acajutia but these places are not safer. Mugging is a major concern. Armed robberies of climbers and hikers in El Salvador’s national parks have also been reported. The security situation is so bad that the Peace Corps suspended its program in the country.

Ivory Coast

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The majority of crimes against foreigners are non-violent confrontations characterized as crimes of opportunity such as muggings, pickpocketing, and theft. The number of assaults and opportunistic crimes spikes during the holiday season. Terrorist threats have become a concern as well. In March, 22 people were killed after several men started shooting at a beach resort in the popular Grand Bassam area. Arrests of jihadists with plans to conduct terrorist attacks had been reported in local media.

Guatemala

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Theft and armed robbery are the most common security threats for tourists. No area is immune to daytime assaults, according to OSAC. The crime rating is “critical.” The number of sexual assaults and rapes significantly increased since 2009 and women are not advised to travel alone at any time. Tourists should not wear anything that is or looks valuable. In 2009, a cruise line tourist was killed during a robbery in Santo Thomas de Castilla.

St. Lucia

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The number of robberies in St. Lucia is on the rise and the overall crime rating is high. In 2013, 55 cruise passengers were robbed at gunpoint; 14 others were victims during a separate trip. Security is so bad that Norwegian Cruise Lines dropped St. Lucia as a destination for two years and some other companies are considering doing the same.

Israel

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There have been reports that ISIS poses a threat to cruise ships in the Mediterranean. All ships have security staff, some of whom are former cops, and most lines don’t allow small boats to approach them. Somehow, though, in 2014, shrapnel from rockets landed on the deck of a German cruise ship with about 2,000 passengers as it left Ashdod, one of three ports ships use in Israel. Experts have pointed out that ISIS can become the “pirates of the Mediterranean.”

U.S. Virgin Islands

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There will be no cruise ships at all visiting St. Croix for the summer months — June, July, and August – due to safety concerns. St. Thomas is not considered a safe place either. Two years ago a 14-year-old girl cruise passenger was killed as she was caught in crossfire. Drug-related crimes and robberies are a major concern.

St. Kitts and Nevis

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The most famous case is that of 17 cruise passengers being robbed at gunpoint in 2010. But similar crimes are not uncommon. Tourists are advised not to walk alone and away from busy main roads. Sexual assaults have also been reported. Most crime on the island is gang and drug related and perpetrated by locals against locals.