Mexican ports such as Mazatlan, shown above, had been popular with Princess… (Michael Robinson Chavez,…)
Months after drug violence in Mexico prompted Princess Cruises to cancel all stops at Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, the company has added the two Mexican ports to the itinerary starting in November of next year for one of its ships.
So far, no other cruise line has followed Princess' lead.
Princess, based in Santa Clarita and owned by Carnival Corp., announced in August that it would no longer drop anchor in Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta because of growing worries about drug violence in Mexico.
FOR THE RECORD:
Cruises to Mexico: An article in the Oct. 14 Business section about Princess Cruises adding stops in Mexican ports said the company would resume sailing from Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan in November 2012. In fact, the cruise line will resume trips to Puerto Vallarta in February 2012 and to Mazatlan in November 2012. —
In place of those stops, Princess added cruises from Los Angeles to Cabo San Lucas and Hawaii.
Other cruise lines that operate out of the Port of Los Angeles, including Carnival Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Line, also pulled out of Mazatlan in the last few months because of fears of violence.
But Princess announced a tentative plan to return to Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta when it released its itinerary this week for 2012 and 2013. The first cruise to the Mexican ports is scheduled to depart Nov. 17, 2012.
Mexican tourist officials welcomed the news. "We are happy to see this, and we'll continue to work with all cruise lines to increase their participation with all Mexican ports," said Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, chief operating officer for the Mexico Tourism Board.
Still, the cruise company said it would monitor the violence in Mexico to determine whether to continue to serve the two ports.
"We are planning for a long way out," said Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson. "We look forward to returning to these ports and putting them back on the schedule."
She added that the Mexican ports had been very popular with cruise guests until drug violence began to surge south of the border.
Mexico has been in the grips of violence in recent years as powerful drug cartels battle for their share of the drug trade. Mexican tourism officials had been quick to say that popular spots like Mazatlan were safe for tourists.
But that changed after a Feb. 22 shooting that left two dead in the parking lot of a hotel in Mazatlan's tourist area.
A travel warning by the U.S. State Department issued in April — and still in effect — said the violence in Mexico usually targets "Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity."
But the warning goes on to say, "the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well."