Cruise Critic Community Manager Laura Sterling, who is onboard the ship for a seven-night Mexican Riviera cruise, has been in close communication with the Cruise Critic News team here on land about the passenger and cruise line reaction to swine flu -- and just alerted us to the unexpected stopover.
"We should make port at Cabo San Lucas at 2:45 p.m. [this afternoon] ship's time [MDT] for 'technical reasons,' per an announcement from the captain. They will have more information at that time ... which is, by the way, just about 5 p.m. your time." Indeed, Carnival is expected to make a formal announcement about itinerary changes at 5 p.m. EDT.
"Once again he mentioned that there is no sickness aboard the ship, and no sickness in the ports we'd be visiting," Sterling continues. "But, we are stopping in Cabo, unscheduled ... I'm assuming we'll then turn around and head back north. Funny, they've been selling shore excursions all day long."
Today's quick trip to Cabo San Lucas could be an effort to fulfill the Passenger Vessel Services Act, which requires all foreign-flagged vessels calling in the U.S. to make at least one stop at an international port. What this means to us is that the ship will likely be staying at sea, or calling on U.S. ports such as San Diego and Catalina -- as we already reported Princess Cruises' Sapphire Princess will do -- in lieu of its currently all-Mexico itinerary roundtrip from Los Angeles. (Sapphire Princess will make its technical stop tomorrow, in Ensenada.)
Stay tuned to Cruise Critic News for the latest itinerary changes from Carnival and other cruise lines in the region. In the meantime, read more on swine flu live from Sterling's cruise here.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor