Swine Flu Update: Mexico Cruise Travel Impact

May 4, 2009
Mexico Map Update, 4 p.m. EDT: Carnival has just announced additional Mexico cancellations, impacting sailings departing through June 15. Click here for more details.

(11:30 a.m. EDT) -- After a full week of scrambling -- cruise lines rescheduling port calls, and some cruise travelers rescheduling trips -- is swine flu's impact on cruise travel finally dying down?

On Monday morning, there are no new itinerary changes to announce due to the H1N1 virus that's been dubbed "swine flu." At this point, most cruise lines have canceled Mexico port calls through at least mid-May and, in some cases, even farther out. Also, though a Colorado woman with confirmed H1N1 had recently cruised to Mexico, it has not been determined where she actually contracted the virus. She also spent time in San Diego, where there are 15 confirmed cases, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Still, as stories of outbreaks continue to emerge across the globe, those who are traveling -- and even those who aren't -- want to know how to stay healthy. For cruise travelers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations should sound familiar. That's because the same advice is given for the prevention of Norovirus -- namely, cover your mouth and nose when you cough, wash your hands often, and stay home if you become sick (like gastrointestinal illness, H1N1 spreads readily from person to person, particularly in areas of close proximity such as schools, hospitals or cruise ships).

For more basic facts about swine flu, check out our Q&A here.

Meanwhile, while Mexico suffers the loss of tourism, other destinations are experiencing a sudden boom in business. In the Caribbean, locales like Belize, Key West, Montego Bay, Grand Cayman, Roatan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Freeport and Nassau have picked up the slack from now-off-limits ports like Cozumel and Progreso. Also, Mexican Riviera cruises have been replaced with voyages along the U.S. West Coast and into Canada. Lesser-known ports like Santa Barbara and Catalina Island are big beneficiaries (the latter will see 25 ships in May, according to media reports -- more than triple the average for the island). New calls are also scheduled at San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Astoria and Victoria.

Visit Cruise Critic's Swine Flu and Mexico Cruise Resources page often to find the latest itinerary changes and swine flu news as it pertains to cruising.

--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor

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