Over the course of the pandemic, the cruise industry became one of the most severely affected under the hospitality umbrella, especially due to persistent restrictive measures enacted by national governments aimed at halting Covid transmissions.
Hotel chains, airlines, tourism complexes, and particularly cruise companies have all struggled to keep ahead of the curve on Covid guidelines, especially when new variants such as the Omicron arise unexpectedly.
Nonetheless, the government of Mexico seems to be taking yet another approach when it comes to handling Covid outbreaks at its ports, and one that is sure to benefit all US passengers docking in Mexico soon.
Covid Clusters No Longer An Issue For Mexico-Bound US Cruise Passengers
Retaining its reputation as tourist-friendly and one of the most liberal countries in terms of Covid, Mexico has again loosened requirements for cruise passengers reaching its shores.
According an official announcement by the Mexican Government, the country will now allow ships with known infection clusters to dock, with further limitations as to who is, in fact, allowed ashore.
As per the Health Department statement, all passengers and crew who upon examination show no evident symptoms of being infected will be allowed to disembark freely, while those who do, or test positive will be quarantined and offered treatment.
The news have been particularly welcomed by both American and Canadian cruise passengers, especially after a number of ships approaching the Mexican coastline were not allowed to dock due to Covid outbreaks.
On December 25, a Holland America cruise ship was forced to retreat to its port of departure in San Diego after authorities in Puerto Vallarta refused to allow passengers to disembark.
The ship had confirmed a small number of Covid cases among their 875 employees, even though all had been vaccinated. Under present rules, so long as fellow crew members and passengers do not present symptoms, docking will be permitted.
Certain Cruises May Still Not Allow Passengers To Disembark Despite A Change In The Rules
In spite of the new rules, individual Mexican states may have different requirements or certain cruise companies may still keep passengers from disembarking, as evidenced with Carnival Cruise Line this week.
According to local news outlet Milenio, out of 3,425 passengers on the Puerto Vallarta-bound ship, 69 were Covid carriers, which led the state of Jalisco to request negative tests for every traveler seeking to disembark.
Milenio reports that the ship continued sailing instead towards Cabo San Lucas, in the state of Baja California, avoiding Puerto Vallarta altogether.
Responding to the Daily Mail, Carnival Cruise Line did not confirm nor deny having refused uninfected passengers to leave the ship following further requirements set out by the Jalisco state.
Tourism An Important Factor In Mexico’s Recovery Plan
Tourism is markedly important to Mexico’s economy, explaining the country’s decision of keeping routes open to most travelers, and particularly those from the United States and Canada.
Andres Aguilar, office manager for the Tourism Secretariat of the Quintana Roo state, has recently stated that 80 to 90 percent of occupancy rates in the Mexican Caribbean are expected in the winter season.
According to Aguilar, 1.3 million visitors should arrive in the December 18-January 2 period, with more than 600 air operations on certain dates at Cancun airport only.
When it comes to Covid restrictions, Mexico is one of very few nations to not have instituted any pandemic-related requirements, including no vaccination proof, pre-departure testing or mandatory face mask wearing for foreign visitors.
As a result, it has remained a popular destination among travelers from all around the world, at a time when Europe follows a more conservative path and Omicron cases skyrocket worldwide.
Recently, Omicron has been confirmed as one of the main causes behind a wave of mass flight cancellations in the United States.
Additionally, it has already proved to be highly disruptive to cruise itineraries.
On the other hand, the positive signs coming from Mexico regarding cruise arrivals and the upward tourism trend is set to further strengthen traveler confidence in the Mexican market.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories