Man Charged With Murder of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Musician

February 11, 2011
(10:30 a.m. EST) -- A man has been charged with the murder of a Royal Caribbean crewmember who was found dead in Mexico's Cozumel this past Saturday.

In a statement issued earlier today, Royal Caribbean said that Mexican authorities have charged Nelson Perez Torres, a 24-year-old local bartender, with the murder of thirty-two-year-old Monika Markiewicz, a Polish national who was a musician aboard Allure of the Seas.

"Reports indicate that Torres and Ms. Markiewicz were casually acquainted for several months, and he followed her for a period of time before killing her along the roadway on her way back to the ship," said the line.

Markiewicz debarked Allure of the Seas in Cozumel on February 4 to head to the beach and never returned. Her body was recovered the next day. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was drowning -- but that Markiewicz also suffered blunt trauma to the head.

"We thank the Mexican authorities for their commitment to quickly solving the murder of our crew member, Monika Markiewicz," said RCI's president and CEO, Adam Goldstein, in the statement. "Her untimely death is tragic and has saddened all of us at Royal Caribbean. We have informed Monika's family in Poland of today's news update and we will continue to be in contact with them and to support them during this difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends."

Royal Caribbean has no intention at this point of canceling calls to Cozumel, and in a statement released earlier this week, the cruise line reaffirmed its commitment to the safety of its passengers and crew.

While Mexico's west coast ports of call have suffered from the perception (real or not) that passengers and crew were not safe in places like Mazatlan and Acapulco (lines, from Disney to Holland America, recently canceled calls to Mazatlan though have resumed visits there), Cozumel, part of the Western Caribbean region, has not been plagued with such problems. However, the Caribbean has certainly had some challenges with crimes and murders on islands; last year, a young Carnival cruise passenger was shot and killed on St. Thomas, when the safari bus she was riding to the beach was caught in the middle of a gang shootout. On Antigua, a Star Clippers passenger who'd gone to a remote beach alone, was murdered. And passengers on shore excursions in the Bahamas' Nassau and on the island of St. Kitts were held up at gunpoint.

--by Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Web Content Producer