Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Disney Cruises have all diverted vessels away from the popular tourist city of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico amid escalating reports of gang violence.
The 2,501 passenger Jewel of the Seas and 1,754-passenger Disney wonder both cancelled calls in Puerto Vallarta Tuesday and on Sunday Celebrity Infinity’s stop in the city was cancelled. Royal Caribbean released a statement today saying, "The call to Puerto Vallarta was canceled due to the recently experienced episodes of violent civil unrest, stemming from criminal gangs that have engaged in armed conflict with local authorities.”
Around 50% of Puerto Vallerta’s economic activity revolves around tourism. Today’s announcement to further cancel stops to the port city coincide with a May 5 U.S. State Department alert warning U.S. citizens of ‘threats to safety and security posed by criminal groups in the country’.
Mexican gang violence has increased recently after law enforcement agencies have launched an aggressive campaign against known drug cartels in the region. Gunfire and arson were reported in areas around Puerto Vallarta earlier this month as police and gangs clashed.
Royal Caribbean further added in today’s statement that criminal violence in Mexico is a main reason why it and some of its competitors have not offered more cruises on the west coast of the United States.
In March of this year an attack against in the popular tourist destination of Tunis left 23 cruise passengers dead and dozens wounded in one of the worst tourist attacks in recent memory. Today’s decision by the cruise lines is meant to circumvent any possible threats to cruise passengers visting the region.