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Cruise Ships Will Skip Acapulco Next Year

By: Patrick Ellis | Real Acapulco News - 21 January, 2011

(Acapulco, AN 21 January) According to local tourist industry businessmen, cruise ship companies like Carnival Spirit, Norwegian Star, Crystal Harmony and Princess Cruises will cut back their Acapulco arrivals drastically next season. The drop could be as much as by 50%.

One of the reasons cited for the plummet in cruise ship traffic was the “lack of safety” for passengers. While recent news reports have been unkind to Acapulco, in fact the reported violence has occurred far from the tourist areas; on the other hand, the increase in security forces within the city has resulted in more security for passengers, not less. The cruise ship companies have not said that demand has fallen because of the image; rather, they cite the need to ensure the safety of passengers as an operational objective. One company said that this year “at least one passenger” had been robbed or assaulted, but no details were provided, and the claim cannot be confirmed. Local service providers agree that there is about one robbery of a passenger for every three or four cruise ship arrivals.

The more compelling reason behind the drop in traffic comes from the increase in dock fees, some of the highest on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, and alleged by operators to be among the highest in the world. On the other hand, the service level provided by the Marine Terminal, which is operated by the Port Authority, is judged “low” or “inadequate” by cruise ship operators, especially with respect to the disposal of garbage.

Carnival Spirit had 26 arrivals in the current season, and is threatening to cancel them all. The company’s official position is that security is the problem, not the fees or the services. In the current season (July 2010 to June 2011), a total of 110 cruise ships are expected to have arrived at the marine terminal. Next year it looks like the number will be 60 or fewer.

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