A dozen passengers from Carnival Liberty, enjoying an independently arranged beach break while in Costa Rica's Puerto Limon, found that "paradise" wasn't quite as expected. While sunbathing, the passengers were approached by three men -- one of whom was armed -- who demanded money.
One of the passengers from the group (made up primarily of senior-aged travelers) decided to fight back and disarmed the thug; his two accomplices fled. Ironically, the robber actually died during the struggle; a Carnival statement says the cause of death was "apparent asphyxiation," though Reuters reports that the man's neck was broken. The passengers got back on their tour bus -- with the dead burglar -- and went to contact police. No charges were made in the death, as it was declared the result of self defense.
The group was traveling on an eight-night exotic Western Caribbean cruise that departed from Ft. Lauderdale. Other ports included Costa Maya, Mexico and Colon, Panama.
Costa Rica, according to the U.S. Department of State's Consular Affairs arm, is "a middle-income, developing country with a strong democratic tradition. Tourist facilities are extensive and generally adequate." There have been no recent acts of terrorism, and work stoppages and strikes are relatively infrequent.
The U.S. Consular Affairs sheet on Costa Rica makes no mention of petty acts of crime, but as with any destination, travelers should be a bit on-guard.
Meanwhile, officers onboard Carnival Liberty, upon learning of the incident, dispatched a representative to help the passengers through the process and escort them all back to the ship. Its departure was somewhat delayed as a result, but all is back to normal now.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor
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Carnival Passenger Defends Cruisers from Armed Robber
February 23, 2007