Cruise Ships Cautiously Returning to Ensenada

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After visits from two cruise lines were canceled last weekend in the wake of a recent surge of unrest, cruise ships are cautiously returning to the popular port of Ensenada, Mexico. Cruise lines are continuing to monitor the situation closely, however, and may need to adjust future calls if necessary.

Unrest in Ensenada

Ensenada, a port community just 50 miles from the United States/Mexico border, is a popular destination for short cruises from California homeports. Unfortunately, the community has lately been subject to increasing violence, including incidents of arson and drug trafficking, that have impacted the tourism industry.

This includes cruise visits, and both Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Radiance and Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas canceled visits to Ensenada on Sunday, August 14, 2022, due to escalating cartel violence.

The port area wasn’t the only part of the region impacted, and much of Baja California was locked down temporarily as a precaution against the violence.

Fortunately, the unrest has slowed this week, and Border Report has reported that Carnival Cruise Line has recommitted to its scheduled calls on Ensenada.

Carnival Radiance Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line

“I’m very happy [Carnival Cruise Line] confirmed the rest of their scheduled arrivals and they trust in the actions we’ve implemented,” said Ayala Robles, mayor of Ensenada, after a conference call with the cruise line on Monday, August 15.

“We reiterated the importance of the cruise ship arrivals to our city, and that the actions of a few do not reflect the hard-working people and hospitality in our region … our people work hard daily to help their families get ahead.”

Will More Calls Be Canceled?

In response to last weekend’s unrest, Carnival Cruise Line issued a statement through its Twitter account.

“Due to recent local unrest and issued guidance from the U.S. State Department for its employees to shelter in place in Ensenada and the surrounding region, the Carnival Radiance will cancel the call in Ensenada,” the statement read.

Other communities in northern Baja California, including Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, and Tecate, have been similarly impacted with lockdowns, curfews, and related measures recently.

While the slowing of violence in the past few days is a welcome respite for the port community, cruise lines continue to monitor the situation and will continue to cancel visits if necessary. At all times, cruise lines keep the safety of their guests and crew members as their first priority.

Ensenada, Mexico Cruise
Photo: Copyright Cruise Hive

At the moment, the U.S. State Department has issued elevated travel warnings for different parts of Mexico, and the current Mexico travel advisory recommends that travelers reconsider travel to Baja California due to the risk of crime and kidnapping.

Tracking data has shown that the Sunshine-class Carnival Radiance made its scheduled visit to Ensenada on Wednesday, August 17.

Navigator of the Seas is scheduled to visit tomorrow, while Carnival Miracle is scheduled to be in Ensenada on Saturday, August 20, as part of a 4-night Baja itinerary. There has been no confirmation as yet whether visits in the next few days may again be canceled.

Travelers booked on itineraries that include Ensenada in the next few weeks should stay in close communication with their cruise line to learn if there may be itinerary adjustments.

Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International are the only cruise lines scheduled to call in Ensenada for the next few weeks, though Oceania Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises all have calls planned to the Mexican port in September.

While in port, cruise guests should always stay alert to their surroundings, stay with a group, and consider using only shore excursions verified through the cruise line. Valuable items should also be left safely on the cruise ships rather than carried onshore if possible.

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