Cruise line halts jungle tour after passengers are robbed

Monday , February 27, 2012 - 2:00 PM

Rong-Gong Lin II, Tracy Wilkinson

Carnival Cruise Lines says it has suspended a guided nature hike in the jungle near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, after 22 guests were robbed by hooded gunmen.

Mexican media said the gunmen intercepted the tourists' bus as it returned from the pueblo of El Nogalito, known for its trail through the jungle, featuring a waterfall, heavy forest canopy and tropical wildlife such as parrots and iguanas.

The gunmen boarded the bus about 5 p.m. Thursday and took cameras, money, watches and other valuable items, according to the newspapers El Norte and La Jornada. The gunmen then fled toward the hilly countryside.

None of the guests was hurt, and all made it safely back to the ship, Carnival said in a statement.

Local authorities criticized the tour operator for failing to follow recommended security procedures, and Puerto Vallarta Mayor Salvador Gonzalez Resendiz said that tours in the countryside were supposed to be conducted only in the morning.

The mayor said a security guard or police officer should accompany the tours. The 22 guests took the tour while on a weeklong cruise of the Carnival Splendor, which left Long Beach, Calif., on Feb. 19 and returned Sunday morning.

In addition to suspending the guided nature trail tour where the robbery occurred, the company said it was working with guests to reimburse them for lost valuables and assist with lost identification.

"Carnival sincerely apologizes to its guests for this very unfortunate and disturbing event," the Miami-based company said.

The Carnival Splendor generally carries more than 3,000 passengers and makes weeklong cruises from Long Beach year-round.

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(Lin reported from Los Angeles and Wilkinson from Mexico City.)

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(c)2012 the Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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