At least 50 cruise tourists were robbed in a bold attack Friday on a tour bus in Soufrière, St. Lucia — despite the stepped-up security for the Saturday celebrity wedding vows renewal of actor Matt Damon and wife Luciana Barroso. The large tour bus was a shore excursion from the cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse to the Soufrière Botanical Gardens.
Fortunately, Damon and Barroso’s event went off without a hitch. Damon reportedly spent six figures to rent out the entire Sugar Beach Resort for three days. There were 50 guests, including Jimmy Kimmel, who officiated at the renewal.
In the confusion of Friday’s robbery, descriptions of what actually happened varied. Some people said that there were four armed robbers who took on as many as 60 guides and passengers.
Others said that there were around 50 or 55 cruise ship robbery victims, including 10 British tourists, who spoke to British media about the incident.
Many of the people on the bus were forced to surrender their money, cell phones, cameras, and jewelry, but a government official refused to say exactly how many people lost their possessions.
Despite a rumor posted on Cruise Critic alleging that a woman’s leg was broken, there are no official reports of any injuries.
On Monday, St. Lucia police reported that they have now arrested three men believed to be involved in the robbery.
The St. Lucia Tourism Minister, Lorne Theophilus, expressed concern that another attack could devastate the tourism industry. Some posters on the Cruise Critic board actually suggested that Celebrity stop visiting the St. Lucia port.
However, Matthem Beaubrun, chairman of the St. Lucia’s tourism board, pointed out that such incidents are extremely rare. About 350,000 travelers and cruisers visit the island each year, and almost none of them end up with Carnival Triumph level horror stories.
If the fires, windstorms, and cockroaches haven’t frightened you away from cruising yet, the bold but rare cruise ship robbery probably won’t deter you either.
[Celebrity Eclipse photo by Ivan T. via Wikipedia Commons]