(Update: 6/11/12, 12:45 p.m. EDT) Five men accused of robbing a tour bus full of cruise passengers in November 2010 have now pleaded guilty to the crime. Three pleaded guilty to one count of robbery, while two pleaded guilty to accessory before the fact.
Three of the four people arrested have now been charged with the robbery at gunpoint of 17 Celebrity Mercury passengers on a ship-sponsored tour in St. Kitts, according to a statement by the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force. The quick police action may be reassuring to cruise lines, many of which plan to call on the island next week.
The three men charged with the crime are Junior "Q" Sobrati, Devon "X-Man" Hodge and Grenville "Rogie" Rogers, all from Sandy Point. The police have warrants to arrest two more people in connection with the incident.
Although Carnival and Princess canceled calls to the island this week, upcoming cruise ship visits are still on. Celebrity Cruises, which has canceled only the impacted "Essential St. Kitts" tour and not any other tours that visit the scene of the crime, will return to the island in light of recent developments; Celebrity Millennium and Eclipse are scheduled to visit on Wednesday. "The Minister of Tourism … immediately took steps, such as increasing police presence on the road where the robbery took place, and at locations frequented by tourists," says company spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez. "Based on these proactive steps, and the fact that the robbery suspects have been apprehended, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises will continue their calls to St. Kitts."
P&O Cruises has confirmed that Azura will make its call on Sunday, and Seabourn spokesman Bruce Good says, "In light of the arrests, we plan to call Tuesday as scheduled." Carnival will send Carnival Valor to St. Kitts as scheduled on Friday. Norwegian Cruise Line will make a decision next week about Norwegian Dawn's scheduled Thursday call.
We'll keep you posted.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Backstory: 17 Celebrity Passengers Robbed at Gunpoint in St. Kitts