Miami-based travel expert Tom Stieghorst, who has been the senior editor in charge of cruise coverage for Travel Weekly since 2012, points out that, even when the U.S. Department of State issued a travel warning advisory for many parts of Mexico, including Cabo and Cancun, other world-class Mexican tourist destinations such as San Miguel de Allende have no advisory in effect.
Cruising to Mexico became a slightly more complicated decision with U.S. State Department’s recent addition of Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo to its travel warning for Americans.
The two Mexican states are home to arguably the most attractive cruise destinations in the country, Los Cabos on the Pacific side and Cozumel on the Atlantic side.
Meanwhile, for some popular inland areas such as Mexico City, Puebla and San Miguel de Allende, no advisory is in effect. That could conceivably tilt travel demand away from cruises to Mexico and more towards land vacations.
Now, I suspect that only a minority of travelers knows enough about Mexico to distinguish so finely between various states and cities there. More likely, the takeaway from the latest advisory will be that all of Mexico is suspect, which is a shame because I’ve enjoyed the half dozen Mexican port cities I’ve visited on various cruises.
As for Cozumel, it says nothing specific, but says that in Quintana Roo, “turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.”
Three cruise lines I contacted said they don’t plan to change itineraries because of the travel advisories on Cozumel and Los Cabos.
“The vast majority of the reported violence has been concentrated among rival gangs,” said a statement from Carnival Cruise Line. “As with any travel abroad, tourists are advised to stay in main tourist areas, not carry expensive jewelry or excessive amounts of cash and to be aware of their surroundings.”
That’s probably sufficient for most cruisers. But there’s a growing number of Americans who have become phobic about traveling to places where the risk of terrorism and crime is in any way elevated, and that group may be adding Cozumel and Los Cabos to its no-go list.
By Tom Stieghorst for Travel Weekly