Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Veendam, Quest, NCL Star, Heading to Mazatlan

Three Cruise Lines Recommence Mazatlan Visits

By Antonio peraza (Own work),
via Wikimedia Commons
It's been well over two years since the cruise ships stopped calling at the port of Mazatlan, Mexico.  The hiatus was precipitated by incidents in which bandits robbed cruise passengers tour groups at gunpoint.

The city, on Mexico's central western coast, just ESE of the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula, went to work to clean itself up, and earn back the tourist dollars so vital to its economy.  There's been a crackdown on crime, and new safety measures, including the installation of numerous security cameras.

They've also built a new "tourism corridor" that runs from the port to historic Old Town Mazatlan, at a cost of three million dollars.

All this is beginning to convince a few cruise line executives, and three lines have already put Mazatlan on their itineraries:

  • Holland America Line (HAL) will re-commence calling there in early November as part of their Hawaiian cruise round trip from San Diego, as well as a number of Mexican Riviera cruises and a couple of Panama Canal trips, all on the Veendam.
  • NCL sends the  Norwegian Star there once again, beginning in December, for Mexican Riviera, Canal Transits, and even as part of a crossing.
  • Azamara's Quest has a single visit scheduled for February, as part of a twelve night voyage that departs Los Angeles on January 29.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes Carnival, Princess, and Royal Caribbean to follow suit.

Meanwhile, those on the ships that will be visiting there can once again enjoy
Cliff Diver photo, Kfengler,
via Wikimedia Commons
touring the beautiful 1875 church in the center of town, and watching the cliff divers plunge into the sea from near the lighthouse that was once the highest in this hemisphere.  (Note:  The divers actually work for tips!)

The lighthouse, El Faro, has a beacon that can be seen for 30 nautical miles... watch for it as your ship approaches the harbor.  It's now only number five in height, as four others in the Caribbean sit on even higher ground, but it's still a point of interest, dating back to 1879.

There are also a number of area beaches, shopping, sport fishing, a tour of the Pacifico Beer Brewery, and opportunities for bird watching for those interested in other activities.