Tropical Development Set to Impact Mexican Cruise Ports

An area of rough weather may develop into a tropical depression or storm that could impact cruises next week.

An area of showers and thunderstorms off southwestern Mexico is showing strong signs of development and is likely to impact popular Mexican Riviera ports of call in the coming days.

Cruise guests with upcoming visits to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta should pay particular attention to the storm. Depending on the storm’s development, Ensenada may also be impacted within a week.

Tropical Depression Likely to Develop Off Mexico

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is tracking an area of heavy showers and thunderstorms that is showing “signs of organization” off the coast of southwestern Mexico.

While the overall region of potential development remains broad at this time, the center of the storms is roughly 550 miles (885 kilometers) south of Puerto Vallarta.

Forecasters are predicting a 90% chance that the disorganized storms will develop into a tropical depression within the next 7 days, and a 70% chance that such development could happen within the next 48 hours, according to the outlook notes from early Friday morning, August 4, 2023.

Tropical Depression
Tropical Depression

“Interests along the southwestern coast of Mexico should monitor the progress of this system during the next few days,” the notes advise.

At the moment, different models and predictions show that the system is likely to develop into a tropical storm, but at this time isn’t expected to advance to hurricane strength. Furthermore, any potential storm is not yet expected to make landfall, but such predictions – a week in advance – may well be changed as any storm develops and models become more refined.

The potential path of the rough weather runs parallel to the Mexican Pacific coast, but without making landfall.

Cruises Likely to be Impacted

Different ships sailing Mexican Riviera itineraries may experience rough weather, itinerary adjustments, or other impacts from this area of storms, whether or not a tropical storm officially develops.

Carnival Panorama, for example, is currently homeported from Long Beach, California and is offering 7-night Mexican Riviera sailings calling on Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas.

Carnival Panorama Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock

The ship’s next sailing, departing on Saturday, August 5, is most likely to be impacted, though the following cruise may also have some adjustments, depending on storm intensity or path.

If a storm does develop and move northwest parallel to the Mexican coast as currently predicted, Carnival Radiance may also be impacted. The Sunshine-class ship is homeporting from Long Beach as well, offering 3- and 4-night Baja Mexico itineraries that call on Ensenada.

Similarly, Royal Caribbean International’s Navigator of the Seas is homeported from southern California, offering 3-, 4-, and 7-night itineraries that visit Ensenada, Catalina, and Mexican Riviera ports of call depending on the departure date and itinerary length. Next week as the storm is expected to develop, Navigator of the Seas is offering two shorter sailings.

Impacts Even Without an Official Storm

Whether or not a tropical depression, tropical storm, or even a hurricane may develop, cruise travelers in the area are likely to feel some impact from local weather conditions.

Stronger than expected waves and gusty winds can make for rough seas, which could make sailing conditions less pleasant for cruisers who may be exceptionally susceptible to motion sickness. Taking steps to prevent seasickness can help travelers better enjoy their cruise.

Cruise Ship in Storm
Photo Credit: Ramunas Bruzas / Shutterstock

Booked guests should also keep their travel plans and expectations flexible, as their itineraries may be impacted by any storm development or overall rough weather. Port calls could be shortened, changed to a different day, or outright cancelled depending on the overall weather and how cruise lines choose to adapt to the conditions.

It should be noted that ships use tender boats in Cabo San Lucas, and those smaller boats are even more subject to poor weather conditions that could cancel a port of call visit.

Cruise lines always keep the safety of their guests, crew, and vessels at the top priority, and will take any necessary steps to ensure a safe and comfortable cruise experience, in any weather.

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