Ports in California are continuing to lose cruise ships, at a rate that alarms local tourism authorities, port officials and attractions operators.
Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) is the latest to re-position a California-based ship elsewhere; its 2,348-passenger Star will make its last Mexican Riviera cruise in May. It will be relocated in Tampa, Florida.
Carnival Cruise Lines recently announced plans to move its 2,667-passenger Spirit to Australia in April 2012. It had been leaving from San Diego and Los Angeles ports, to destinations in Mexico.
In addition, Carnival’s 3,200-passenger Splendor has been out of service since a fire last November. It is scheduled to return to service February 22.
Royal Caribbean disclosed last year that its 3,100-passenger Mariner of the Seas will be re-positioned this spring to the Mediterranean.
Going against the trend is Disney Cruise Lines, which is moving its 2,500-passenger Wonder into the area from Florida this month.
Most of the ships sail three- to eight-day itineraries that take them to ports in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco, Mexico. A bad economy, continuing drug violence in Mexico and the comparatively limited number of ports of call are contributing to a decline in passenger bookings on the California-based cruises, said tourism officials.
The one bright spot in the picture, for passengers at least, is that the remaining cruise itineraries are being heavily discounted.
January 14, 2011