The Mexican Riviera has long been an incredibly popular holiday destination, and in the last few decades, a popular cruise destination as well. Where the Caribbean cruise ports have been up and running and receiving a vast amount of ships daily, Mazatlan has suffered heavily under the pause in operations. There was a change of fortunes today though for the Pearl of the Pacific as Carnival Panorama became the first cruise ship to call in the famous port.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Panorama left Long Beach, California, on a seven-day Mexican Riviera itinerary on August 21. After she became the first cruise ship to call in Puerto Vallarta yesterday, the vessel is also the first to call in Mazatlan. Panorama arrived in the port shortly before 8 AM after spending the first two days of the cruise at sea and spending the day in Puerto Vallarta.
The city authorities have been busy planning the visit for some time now in what is the resumption of ship arrivals to the port after more than a year and a half as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The vessel is to be welcomed by several federal, state, and municipal authorities. The municipal authorities have also repainted the terminal’s blue line, cleaned up the walkway, and reinforced the surveillance in the tourist areas.
Carnival Cruise Line already informed guests on the first two sailings to the Mexican Riviera about the updated protocols at the ports of call. For Mazatlan, all guests have to wear a mask indoors and outdoors except when eating, drinking, and swimming. Those guests who explore the port by themselves should also be prepared to present their vaccination record at certain places to be allowed in.
Carnival Panorama is the third in the Vista-class at 133,500 gross tons. The ship has a capacity for 4,008 guests but is sailing with considerably less than that due to the pandemic. The approximately 2750 guests, of which 98% are fully vaccinated according to Mexican media, will be able to enjoy the Mexican Riviera by themselves and explore the Centro Historico or any of the many other cultural treasures in the city.
Mexican Riviera and Caribbean in Stark Contrast
For now, Carnival Panorama will be the only ship to visit the Mexican Riviera. While Cozumel and other Mexican Caribbean ports have seen a considerable increase in ship visits over the last few weeks, the same cannot be said about the ports on Mexico’s Riviera.
Much of this has to do with the fact that the start-up of cruises has been going at full speed in Florida and in lesser terms from Galveston, Texas, but the ports on the southern pacific coastline have been somewhat slower in their start-up operations.
San Diego, LA/ Long Beach, and San Francisco have mostly only done technical calls. The one port that has been incredibly busy on the Pacific side is Seattle, now the homeport for all ships sailing to Alaska this summer and fall.
Carnival Panorama has been the first cruise liner to leave with passengers from California in more than 17 months. Over the next few months, this number is expected to grow as the traditional players in the area, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruises, and Holland America will be operating more and more ships.
Holland America will start operations on the Mexican Riviera during October and the start of November when Koningsdam and Zuiderdam will set sail to the Mexican Riviera. Princess Cruises will start operating by the end of September with Grand Princess and hopes to have four cruise ships operational around the Riviera by the end of the year.
Carnival Cruises has so far scheduled three ships in the Riviera this year. Besides Carnival Panorama, the company will also operate Carnival Radiance, likely from mid-December, and Carnival Miracle from Long Beach once she returns from her cruises in Alaska.