March 22, 2017
(11:55 a.m. EDT) -- Eight upcoming Holland America itineraries featuring the Mexican city of Acapulco are being revised to skip the port. These sailings include October voyages onboard Zaandam and Nieuw Amsterdam, a November sailing of Oosterdam, a December sailing on Amsterdam and four more voyages in 2018.
"Due to recent security concerns, Holland America Line has replaced calls at Acapulco, Mexico, with alternative Mexican ports on eight scheduled 2017/2018 cruises. Itineraries include seven Panama Canal [sailings] and one South America cruise. Guests on affected cruises have been notified of the change. At Holland America Line, the safety of our guests is our top priority," said Holland America's director of public relations in a statement on behalf of the cruise line.
According to the U.S. State Department, the Mexican state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located, has been the most violent state in Mexico for the past four years. On their website they say: "Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable."
While gang- and drug-related violence in the area has been ongoing, six vendors were recently gunned down at a popular Acapulco market in January, according to a story in the Canadian Press. The killings happened in the middle of the day, and have been linked to claims of extortion. Five people were also killed over New Year's, including three men who were violently beheaded.
All three brands under Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Inc. are still calling on Acapulco throughout 2017 and 2018. Norwegian Pearl is scheduled for a call at the end of April; Oceania's Regatta and Seven Seas Mariner are visiting in May. A senior director of public relations for Norwegian Cruise Line said that at this time there are no plans to cancel any calls, but that they are continuing to monitor the situation. Silversea Cruises' Silver Whisper is still scheduled to call on Acapulco on New Year's Eve of this year.
In a statement, the Acapulco Destination Marketing Office told Cruise Critic that Acapulco has had zero incidents at the port in recent years. "Acapulco is ready to receive 28 cruise ships, which have been confirmed for 2017, compared to 18 cruise ships during 2016, representing a 64 percent increase for this upcoming season despite Holland America’s announcement about their route adjustment. Therefore, meetings have been established with Holland America’s executives to present them with ongoing security advances at the port."
Acapulco will receive a total of 10 more cruise ships this year, from lines including Norwegian, Regent, Silversea, Oceania, Crystal, Saga and Hapag Lloyd.
--By Brittany Chrusciel, Associate Editor