Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean canceled their calls to Ensenada, Mexico, on Sunday after local unrest made it unsafe for passengers to disembark at the port.
With Mexican National Guard patrolling the city and much of Baja California locked down, the cruise lines had few options left.
The unrest was due to Mexican cartels shutting down much of the region on Friday. Government officials declared the assailants hijacked and burned at least two dozen vehicles, with many of the bars and restaurants closing down early.
Cruise Lines Forced To Cancel Ensenada
Cruise Lines are obligated to ensure the safety of the crew and passengers onboard. No surprise then that both Royal Caribbean International and Carnival Cruise Line canceled their port calls to Ensenada, Mexico, this weekend.
Carnival Radiance and Navigator of the Seas were due in Ensenada on Sunday, August 14. However, cartel-related unrest rocked the region on Friday, with most of the Baja California region shutting down for the weekend.
Carnival Cruise Line responded on its Twitter account, saying Carnival Radiance would not be visiting Ensenada: “Due to recent local unrest and issued guidance from the US 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 State Department further advised those in the region and those with plans to visit to avoid the area to seek shelter, monitor local media, be aware of the surroundings, and notify friends and family of their safety.
The US State Department: “The U.S. Consulate General Tijuana is aware of reports of multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity in Tijuana, Mexicali, Rosarito, Ensenada, and Tecate. U.S. government employees have been instructed to shelter in place until further notice.”
Carnival Radiance and Navigator of the Seas have since returned to their homeport of Los Angeles.
Will Future Cruises Be Affected?
Both Carnival Radiance and Navigator of the Seas are scheduled to call in Ensenada in the coming weeks. Both ships run on similar itineraries, switching between three- and four-day cruises to the Mexican Baja Peninsula, including calls to Ensenada.
The outburst of unrest in the region is, rightly so, a situation that many guests will be worried about. For now, the US State Department has declared the situation in Ensenada is under control again and would be safe to travel to and visit.
Carnival Cruise Line has said that guests will receive a $50 onboard credit per person and a 50% future cruise credit to ease the pain of the canceled call. Should any unrest continue over the coming weeks, there will likely be changes to ports the ships call at.
There are several options in the area which cruise ships could use instead of Ensenada, including Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.
It is not likely that cruise lines will be affected by the Passenger Vessel Services Act. Although the law states that cruise ships sailing under a foreign flag from a US port must make a foreign call before returning, there are provisions in place for emergencies.