Mexico Travel Warning Lifted; When Will Cruise Ships Return?

May 16, 2009
Global Health Update, 10:15 a.m. EDT: Royal Caribbean announced on its Web site last night that the ships rerouted due to the H1N1 flu, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas, "will resume port calls in Cozumel, Mexico, beginning with sailings that depart on or after May 24, 2009." Additionally, Mariner of the Seas will continue to sail a modified Pacific Northwest itinerary through the scheduled June 14 cruise. Two other RCI ships that were redirected because of the illness, Serenade of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas, recently began sailing Alaska itineraries.

(May 15) -- The Wall Street Journal reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will lift a warning that advises against nonessential travel to Mexico later today.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the travel warning will be downgraded to a "precaution" later on Friday. The CDC will still recommend that those who are at high risk for influenza complications consider whether they should travel to Mexico. Additionally, the U.K.'s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has downgraded its travel advice for Mexico today, saying "we no longer advise against all but essential travel to the region."

Princess, Holland America and Disney have not announced alterations to cruises beyond those already in progress -- which means any future Mexico calls should remain unchanged. Carnival has announced sailings to Mexico will resume at the end of the May. The first ship back will be Carnival Holiday, on the cruise departing Mobile May 28. Visit Carnival's Web site for full details.

We'll keep you posted.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), a nonprofit representing the interests of 24 major cruise lines, stated that, "While we appreciate and applaud today's decision, we also urge cruise line passengers to follow CDC's travel recommendations if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms or are at high risk from flu complications."

The travel warning was established late last month after an outbreak of flu-like illnesses in Mexico. However, as we reported yesterday, cases of H1N1 are now being confirmed around the world, prompting Carnival Corp. Chairman and CEO Micky Arison to write letters to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urging for a revise of the warning.

--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor

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