On January 19, the Caribbean island of Antigua once again made headlines, when a female passenger aboard the Star Clippers’ Royal Clipper was found dead just a few steps from Pigeon Point Beach – a popular tourist refuge on Antigua. Shaken by the murder, Star Clippers announced on February 1 that the Royal Clipper will no longer be calling on the port. Instead, the 227-passenger cruiser will sojourn at the Caribbean island of Nevis until the end of the season.
Nina Elisabeth Nilssen’s body was discovered with a stab wound to the neck on the day of her disappearance from a family beach barbecue. The suspect, a Dominican male who has been living in Antigua, was apprehended with Nilssen’s camera in his possession. Tishara Daniel confessed to the crime and was charged in court on February 2.
No other cruise lines have dropped Antigua from their itineraries since the incident, however, the murder was not the only time cruise passengers have encountered danger on the island as of late.
On February 3, shortly after the murder of Nina Elisabeth Nilssen, a British couple on the 856-passenger Boudicca, a Fred Olsen ship, was attacked and robbed on shore – ironically, all the while the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association met with the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda and the Cruise Tourism Association in Antigua. One of the topics discussed was tourist safety and crime prevention on the island, which has witnessed several tourist attacks in the last year, including the shooting of a couple from Wales in their hotel room.
It remains to be seen if and how these developments will affect the burgeoning tourism industry in Antigua, which rakes in a pretty penny annually (almost $582 million) – close to half of its gross domestic product. Was Star Clippers justified in pulling Antigua from the season’s charter? Is it becoming an unsafe tourist destination or are these just isolated incidents?