Carnival Issues Unusual Advisory for Popular Mexican Port

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Cruise lines often alert guests to potentially dangerous situations at ports of call, such as advising travelers not to rent scooters or use unlicensed tour operators. Carnival Cruise Line has issued a more unusual advisory to guests aboard Carnival Radiance, however, regarding certain attractions operating in Ensenada, Mexico.

In a letter delivered to each stateroom, guests are advised not to participate in these unique wildlife encounters for a variety of reasons.

“As you get ready for our visit to Ensenada, we have an important advisory. You may encounter restaurants/attractions (not associated with the ship’s shore excursions program) in the port of Ensenada that allow you to touch or otherwise interact with tiger cubs,” the letter explained.

“For public health, safety, and environmental reasons, Carnival recommends that you do not partake in such attractions, including, but not limited to, the tiger cub attractions.”

Cruise Ship in Ensenada, Mexico
Photo Credit: schlyx / Shutterstock

The letter is signed by the ship’s master, Captain Eduardo Ferrone. There is no date on individual letters, as they are likely being distributed on every sailing that visits the Mexican destination.

The 101,509-gross-ton, Sunshine-class Carnival Radiance is homeported year-round from Long Beach, California, offering a variety of Mexican Riviera and Baja Mexico itineraries, as well as longer Carnival Journeys cruises to Hawaii.

Many travelers are eager for exotic, one-of-a-kind experiences, and cruises offer plenty of opportunities for those bucket-list moments at every destination.

Interactions with wildlife and animals are often tremendously popular, with passengers booking experiences such as dolphin swims, stingray feedings, swimming with pigs, horseback rides, aviary visits, and other options at different ports of call.

While the letter regarding tiger cubs does not go into details about why these interactions are not advised, it should be noted that tigers are not native to Mexico. The animals involved in these opportunities may have questionable backgrounds or could have been acquired by less-than-ethical means.

Did You Know? – Carnival Radiance Was Formerly Carnival Victory

For example, training, vaccinations, proper handling, humane treatment, and other critical details cannot be verified, and such interactions could easily be unsafe should any animals react poorly during a visit. Furthermore, organizers offering these encounters may not have proper insurance or licensure to safeguard visitors.

A tiger cub can weigh 75-150 pounds or more before it is mature, and is easily capable of inflicting serious injuries via teeth or claws if frightened, startled, or mishandled.

Carnival Radiance Cruise Ship
Photo Copyright: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock / Cruise Hive

In addition to tiger cubs, other animals advertised as available for “interactions” in Ensenada – Cruise Hive will not share the name of the organization offering this activity – including monkeys, falcons, and farm animals.

It must also be noted that these activities are undoubtedly questionable by US standards, but they are legal in Mexico, and often have affiliations with local or regional conservation organizations.

Great Wildlife Encounters to Enjoy

Cruise travelers who want to experience local wildlife have plenty of safe, exciting options to try depending on where they visit.

In Costa Maya, for example, a treetop aviary right at the cruise port offers up-close visits with a variety of tropical birds. In Nassau, guests can easily visit Ardastra Gardens to see the famous flamingos and enjoy an interactive tortoise feeding experience.

Flamingos in Costa Maya, Mexico
Flamingos in Costa Maya, Mexico (Photo Credit: Melissa Mayntz)

Numerous Caribbean destinations offer snorkeling and dolphin, sea lion, or stingray encounter experiences, or guests can visit the Grand Cayman Turtle Farm to witness the conservation of sea turtles.

Meanwhile, in Alaska, whale-watching tours are always popular options, and some tours offer the opportunity to spot black bears. Glass-bottom boat tours also offer great ways to see tropical fish without getting wet.

Nature hikes in Hawaii, Alaska, and the Caribbean also offer opportunities to see local wildlife and numerous birds, and cruise guests can even spot pelicans, frigatebirds, dolphins, and flying fish right from the open decks if they keep a sharp lookout.

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