So, it was disheartening to learn that, for safety reasons, ships in the Holland American Line have recently discontinued stops at Mazatlan for the remainder of the spring 2011 season. HAL isn't the first cruise line to cancel port calls to Mazatlan, a decision that has resulted from shootings in the tourist zone of the city. Disney canceled 27 ports of call in Mazatlan for 2011, and Carnival is considering a similar move. "There have been recent security incidents that have made cruise lines concerned about the safety of their guests," Carnival spokesman Tim Gallagher said.
Last year 526,000 passengers visited the port without incident, but crime concerns are hard to overcome. It's a shame that drug-related violence is negatively affecting tourism, an important economic factor for the city and country. Still, Port Director Gil Diaz claims the port of Mazatlan is safe and incidents such as stealing a passenger's necklace are minor things outside the terminal. But you can't blame cruise lines for not wanting to take chances.
As for HAL, some sailings will now feature two days with an overnight in Puerto Vallarta or extra time in Cabo San Lucas. Hopefully, discussions with local authorities will enable ships to resume calling at Mazatlan in the near future.
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier