Caribbean Princess passengers on a snorkeling excursion last month in St. Maarten got a little bit more excitement then they'd bargained for when the group was threatened by a man carrying a gun. Well let's amend that slightly: He was carrying a flare gun, which often resemble shotguns (and though flare guns are not necessarily classified as weapons, improper use can be dangerous).
The incident occurred on February 22 during the Rhino Rider Boat Excursion (Rhino Riders are fast, inflatable two-person motorboats). Travelers participating in the excursion were approached by a catamaran in Happy Bay. The passengers onboard the catamaran began yelling and threatening the tour boats, eventually wielding the flare gun. The tour operator unhooked the boats and led the group away.
One of Cruise Critic's community members, Jodyflower, was on the tour and shared her scary tale on our message boards:
"I heard loud voices behind me so I turned around and there was a catamaran along side our tied up Rhino boats and the owner of the cat was yelling at our guide. He was speaking French so I don't know exactly what he was saying but he was pointing down the side of his cat and I gathered that he was thinking we scratched his boat ... The man disappeared below deck and came back up with a gun and pointed it directly at our guide and shouted in English, 'I will shoot you!'
"The guide instructed me to put the kids in the boats and GO. I got my daughter on my boat and she was crying and trembling hysterically and I wanted to wait for my husband and son but they were still tied to our guide's boat. My husband waved me to GO GO GO. So I punched my boat full throttle and went quite a distance then stopped to look back. My husband and son were just starting to get away from the cat with the guide behind them.
"I must say that our excursion guide acted in a very appropriate manner during the ordeal ... we do not hold the boat company responsible. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
All passengers returned to Caribbean Princess safely and received a full refund for the tour. Karen Tetherow, a spokeswoman for the line, tells us that "as this appears to be a highly unusual, one-time occurrence, we have not canceled the tour."
Princess Passengers Threatened with Flare Gun on St. Maarten Excursion
March 6, 2006