Tag-Archive for » Puerto Vallarta «

What ‘V’ Word Means For Mexico


At the risk of sounding like apologists for Mexico, a country we have visited many times and hopefully will visit many more, our observations on the latest reports of cruising-vs-violence in Puerto Vallarta are based on these facts:

• Attacks from Mexican drug cartels on the government in the state of Jalisco on May 1 included fires set in Puerto Vallarta, with the worst of the violence was in Guadalajara.

• The Celebrity Infinity bypassed a scheduled stop in Puerto Vallarta on May 10.

• Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas did the same thing on May 12.

• Disney’s Wonder skipped the port, too.

• Tourism officials meeting with cruise executives in Florida said yesterday that the events of that Friday morning were isolated, quickly contained and resolved.

• Both parties in Florida agreed to “improve and increase communications to ensure the cruise lines are kept better informed and receive updates in real time.”


It appears that Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Disney were reacting on mis-information from who knows where…probably the Internet? And did it take a week for the cruise lines to find out they shouldn’t stop there nine days later?

It also appears that cruise lines, and passengers, are spooked the moment the “V” word and Mexico are mentioned in the same breath, or Internet page. Because there is a violent event in Gaudalajara it doesn’t mean Puerto Vallarta (pop. 200,000) is unsafe. If there was a violent event in Oakland, would a cruise ship abandon San Francisco — and they are much closer than Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara (almost 200 miles)?

It also appears Mexican tourism officials are going to have to implement unimaginable means to try and keep the cruise business for Puerto Vallarta, by literally tracking the Puerto Vallarta-Stan Shebs

– Stan Shrebs photo

whereabouts of all passengers once they leave the ship. The city “will work with local tour operators, taxi drivers and other tourism service providers to employ new measures that inform the ships of their passengers’ location.”

For visitors to Mexico, this is the new level of fear.

Violent events can happen anywhere, of course…BaltimoreNewtown…Columbine High School and so on.

But when it’s Mexico, there’s an accelerated level of distrust. Based on our visits to many parts of Mexico, we think that’s wrong.

In the news…

• Automated passport machines at Vancouver cruise terminal
• Azamara Quest refurbishment bigger…and later (April 2016)

Today at portsandbows.com: More on Viking's first ocean cruise ship

Norwegian Sky
4 nights
July 13, 2015
Miami (return): Grand Bahama Island, Nassau
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $124

The Ongoing Evolution of Mexico and Cruising

If you've been reading this blog for almost any part of the last four and a half years, then chances are you will know how we feel about Mexico.

We love it.

That goes for places all over the country…Huatulco in the south, Mexicali in the north, Merida and Cozumel in the east, Irapuato and Leon in the middle, Mexico City in the Beach in Mexicoheart and any number of places in the west — Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Loreto. You get the idea?

Ironically, the one Mexican resort haven we were cool about was Acapulco, arguably its most famous. In another era, we'd probably have liked it more.

All of this is a round-about way of saying count us among the cruise passengers who celebrate what appears to be a gradual return to the Mexican Riviera, as it's called. In 2008, there began an exodus of cruise ships from the "other" Riviera, leaving behind storm clouds and empty beaches. Puerto Vallarta dropped from 180 ship stops to 82 last year….Cabo San Lucas from 400 to 112…Mazatlan dropped to zero port calls.

It may be a coincidence, but that shocking downturn was aligned with the recessionary times felt not just in Mexico but around the world, and parlayed with a series of criminal acts in the ports.

Times are changing. Tomorrow, we'll tell you how.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: The people of the Viking Kvasir

Carnival Freedom
8 nights
July 5, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): St. MaartenSt. KittsSan JuanGrand Turk
Inside: $459
Cost per day: $57

Cruise Lines say 'Si' to Mexico Again

We just have one question about cruises to the Mexican Riviera:

Why is everybody going back?

Holland America…Princess…Carnival…Disney…all of them pulled their ships or modified their itineraries on Mexico cruises leaving Southern California, at the height of the reports of theft and violence in Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. They all said they were abandoning one or both of the long-time Mexican ports because of (real or imagined) concerns about safety and security.

But they were leaving because their customers lost interest, perhaps part of a domino effect that started with the fear of being mugged, or worse.

As the Chief Operating Officer of the Mexico Tourism Board told cruise writer Fran Golden this week, it was a business decision.

In 2012, Princess is going back to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. Disney has its Wonder sailing weekly cruises now and is committed to 2012. Holland America goes back next month, through 2013. Carnival has quickie cruises to Ensenada and back, ramping it up to ports like Manzanillo and Cabo San Lucas next month, but hasn’t committed to returning to Mazatlan.

So, if avoiding Mexico was all about business, wouldn’t it stand to reason that returning is all about business, too. It’s possible that customers have been influenced by a $30 million advertising campaign from the tourism people.

Or maybe they just missed Mexico.

Carnival Glory
7 nights
November 27, 2011
Caribbean (Miami return)
Inside $399

Puerto Vallarta No Fit for Princess

During the weekend, a close friend who regularly keeps track of Cruising Done Right alerted us to more never-ending tourism fears about Mexico. In digging a little further, we found what we always seem to find — the fear factor is being blown out of proportion.

It started with Mazatlan, a year or so ago, and now the fears — real or imagined — have spread to Puerto Vallarta. It was inevitable. What was not as inevitable is that Princess would drop Puerto Vallarta through the end of the year because of safety concerns.

Here’s why it’s blown out of proportion:

1. Canceling means three 7-night sailings over six months, by one ship, the Sapphire Princess.
2. The move is in reaction to the robbery and murder of a Canadian man who was living in Puerto Vallarta, nowhere near where cruise ships dock.
3. Resort areas and tourist destinations don’t experience the same level of crime as the “Mexico crime reports” that emanate from border towns and drug-trafficking routes.
4. These fears are never put in context by comparing them to similar statistics in other cities of the same size.
Princess has to respond to what the customers say, and clearly the customers are worried about visiting the once-popular Mexican ports. This time, the local government is responding, by hiring an independent international security company to do a safety assessment.

Even if the results are positive, it’ll never get the same play the fear did, because  that’s just the way it is. But maybe it will at least help to, if nothing else, give the situation a more legitimate perspective.

And you think they’re not worrying that the third amigo down the coast, Cabo San Lucas, might be next?

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