Cabo San Lucas is back to cruising as Carnival Panorama became the first cruise ship to arrive in the port after 17 months. The Carnival cruise ship is the first ship to sail from Long Beach to the Mexican Riviera and has already made her successful return to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan.
The arrival of Carnival Panorama to Cabo San Lucas means excellent news for Carnival Cruise Line, which now has eight vessels in operation. It is also fantastic news for the thousands of locals that depend on cruise ships for their income. Carnival Cruise Line expects to bring over 50,000 passengers to Cabo San Lucas in the last four months of 2021.
The ship arrived an hour earlier as scheduled due to an issue with its maximum cruising speed and will depart earlier at 2:00 PM so the ship can arrive back in Long Beach by around 10:30 AM on Saturday.
Carnival Panorama is First to Return
The Mexican Riviera is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. Each year before the pandemic, the various ports in the region, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada, to name but a few, received hundreds of ships that brought in millions of dollars. Not only has the operations stop brought financial problems, but various other personal problems also developed:
Fernando Hoyos, Port Manager in Cabo San Lucas, said to a Mexican news outlet:
“It has been 476 days since the General Health Council declared the sanitary emergency in Mexico, during all this long period of the Cabo San Lucas Port Precinct operations had a severe impact, not only in the economy but also in the mood and, in some cases, in the state of health of the workers of the port facilities.”
The first ship arrived this morning, August 26. Carnival Panorama is on a seven-day cruise that departed from Long Beach, California, on August 21. After a day at sea, she became the first cruise ship to return to Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, and now Cabo San Lucas.
“We are delighted to resume our Carnival Panorama sailings and to offer guests an opportunity to experience all of the beauty of Cabo San Lucas while providing a much-needed boost to the local economy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “On behalf of Carnival, I would like to thank our partners at the Cabo San Lucas Cruise Port for working with us to bring safe cruising and our guests back to Mexico.”
The 133,500 gross tons Vista-class has a guest capacity of 4,008 at double occupancy and 1,450 crew members. For this voyage, the ship is sailing with considerably less guests. There are approximately 2,750 guests on board, of which at least 97% have been fully vaccinated. Guests are required to wear masks inside and outside the vessel on these cruises to comply with the Carnival protocols and the local protocols as well.
The US west coast is experiencing a considerably slower start of cruising than the East coast has seen. While Florida seems to be back in the swing of things with ships departing and coming in daily, the west coast and the Mexican Riviera will be significantly quieter for the time being.
For now, only Carnival Panorama will be sailing on her 7-day itinerary, although the port of Cabo San Lucas does still expect to see 50,000 passengers or more over the next four months:
Fernando Hoyos said: “The Integral Port Administration of Cabo San Lucas has received the request to schedule the arrivals of Carnival Cruise Line, being one ship of this line per week during the last four-month period of 2021, which would correspond to 16 dates, equivalent to more than 50,000 passengers in total, with an economic benefit of more than 2.6 million dollars,”
Carnival Cruises scheduled three ships in the Riviera this year. Besides Carnival Panorama, these are Carnival Radiance, likely from mid-December, and Carnival Miracle from Long Beach once she returns from her cruises in Alaska.
Other cruise lines that will start operations on the Mexican Riviera this year include Royal Caribbean with Navigator of the Seas, Holland America with Koningsdam and Zuiderdam, Princess Cruises with Grand Princess, and Norwegian Cruise Line with Norwegian Bliss.
Carnival Panorama will return to Long Beach on August 27; the vessel is scheduled to stay on a Mexican Riviera itinerary for the foreseeable future. The cruise outline will change somewhat with some cruises, including Ensenada and cruises with two full days in Cabo San Lucas.