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After undetonated explosive devices of unknown origin were discovered on a tourist ferry and the United States Embassy issued a travel advisory, several cruise lines — including Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess — announced that they were cancelling several shore excursions in Mexico.
Why Carnival Cancelled the Tours
Via his Facebook page, Carnival’s Brand Ambassador John Heald shared the news with his followers. “The U.S. State Department has issued a travel ban for all government personnel from traveling on tourist ferries between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel,” he wrote. “So we are informing all our guests of the following, starting today with the Carnival Breeze, which is docked in Cozumel today.”
His page went on to say, “In an abundance of caution, we have cancelled all tours that make use of ferries and we strongly advise that ferries from Cozumel to the mainland be avoided. Guests with scheduled tours impacted by these changes will have their tickets refunded to their account.”
What the Embassy Said
These actions were taken in response to the U.S. Embassy issuing a warning which read, in part, “On March 1, undetonated explosive devices were found by Mexican law enforcement on a tourist ferry that operates between Cozumel/Playa del Carmen, Mexico. On February 21, an explosive device detonated on a tourist ferry in Playa del Carmen resulting in injuries, including to U.S. Citizens.”
The Embassy went on to offer advice to those in the vicinity, including that they be aware of their surroundings, exercise caution and purchase travel insurance that “specifically covers you in Mexico and includes medical evacuation insurance.”
Royal Issues A Warning
According to the Royal Caribbean Blog, passengers on both the Liberty of the Seas and Allure of the Seas received notifications similar to the one issued by Carnival. The letter received by passengers explained that the cruise line felt “it is important to make you aware that the U.S. State Department today published a safety warning discouraging travel on tourist ferries in Cozumel.”
It went on to say, “The U.S. State Department remains confident of the Mexican government’s efforts to ensure the safety of all tourists in the country. However, in an abundance of caution, we are cancelling sponsored shore excursions that involve ferries. We also discourage guests from taking part in independent excursions that involve ferry travel.”
Princess, Norwegian and Others Also Cancel
Not surprisingly, other major cruise lines — including Norwegian, Princess and Costa — have also cancelled excursions in the area in order to assure the safety of their passengers. “At Princess Cruises,” read an official statement from the line, “the safety and security of our guests is our top priority. We are aware of the updated travel warning involving ferry boats that carry passengers between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, issued by the U.S. State Department. We would not take our guests and crew to a port — or operate a shore excursion — where we had any indication there may be an undue risk to safety and security.”
As with the other lines, Princess cancelled numerous shore excursions and refunded charges to the accounts of their passengers. “As always,” their statement concluded, “we work closely with government officials to ensure our guest’s security at all times.”
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert tweeted that “our priority is the safety and security of U.S. citizens abroad, and we will continue to provide safety and security updates as they become available.”