Mazatlan and cruise lines, not a good match anytime soon

Mazatlan, Mexico and cruise lines just can’t seem to get along. Now saying major cruise lines overreacted by stopping ships from calling at Mazatlan, the cruise-port/danger-zone that most cruise lines stopped visiting after two men were shot close to a hotel frequented by tourists. The two men shot were not cruise passengers but that was good enough reason for cruise lines to divert ships.

“I believe there are parameters in the industry that they could have checked with and got more information from before they made this decision-and they obviously didn’t,” says Julio Birrueta of the Mazatlan Tourist Board.

What does that even mean? Let’s look again.

“…there are parameters in the industry that they could have checked with and got more information from before they made this decision…”

What? Like because the dead people were some other kind of tourist, that’s OK?

Cruise lines think it is not OK. Dead is dead and tourist is tourist and if they are cruise passengers, on a land tour, dropped in via skydiving or Eddie the Eskimo, cruise lines don’t want any part of it.

Pretty much ever since the Poseidon Adventure, little light bulbs go off in cruise line executives heads when danger is lurking. Just lurking. Danger does not have to jump out of the bushes and hold up passengers at gunpoint for ships to steam full speed ahead away from it.

Rightfully so.

Cruise ship passengers buy into the notion that traveling via the closed environment a cruise ship provides is safe. They expect that level of safety to extend to their time off the ship too, at least on the ship-sponsored shore excursions. While run by local vendors, there is an implied safety level that is undeniable. I had been told that cruise lines often send along crew members posing as passengers to check the quality and safety of shore excursions. I never really thought much of it until we were in Alaska on a Princess Cruises cruisetour last year.

On that tour was an adorable little boy who caught the attention of the group early on. Later, at an event for journalists along for the ride I was pleased to see that little boy’s father who was not a guest as we were but a member of the Princess management staff.

Yes, safety is a really big deal to the cruise lines.

Still, Mazatlan is a beautiful city with a relaxed atmosphere, great food and worthy of a visit, if not by sea, maybe by land and stay a while…in a safe part of town.

Flickr photo by Dario Presencia