(4:15 p.m. EDT) -- After an 18 month absence, Princess Cruises will return to Mazatlan starting fall 2012. Earlier this year, the big-ship line dropped all calls to port, citing safety concerns following a spate of violence.
Sapphire Princess will visit Mazatlan on six sailings, roundtrip Los Angeles, during the November 2012 through April 2013 Mexico cruise season. Fleetmates Star Princess and Grand Princess will also call on the port city as part of cruises sailing from San Francisco on September 26, 2012 and March 31, 2013, respectively.
2011 was a rough year for Mazatlan, which saw Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America and others bolt after an uptick in violence, including fatal shootings, put the city on something of a no-sail list.
"We've been working closely and having lots of discussion with Mexican tourism officials, and were always hopeful that we could go back," said Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson. Benson added that Princess will continue to monitor the situation.
Holland America and Disney are also returning to Mazatlan in 2012. Starting this January, Oosterdam's regular twice-monthly Mexico cruises from San Diego will include visits to the port, and, in fall 2012, Zaandam will begin making regular calls. From November 2012, Disney Wonder's Mexico itineraries include weekly stops in Mazatlan.
Carnival has yet to reinstate the port.
--by Dan Askin, News Editor