Three cruise lines are returning to Mazatlan this fall, reversing a pullout in 2011 due to concerns regarding crime and security in the port area.
Their departure at the time was followed by a sharp drop in tourism. But officials there didn’t sit on their hands; they set out to address those concerns.
“We didn’t just sit around hoping they would return,” said Frank Cordova, secretary of tourism for the state of Sinaloa. “We made a lot of changes to upgrade security and to improve the visitor experience,” he said.
The effort appears to have paid off.
Holland America Line’s 1,350-passenger Veendam, sailing out of San Diego on Nov. 9 on a seven-day Mexican Riviera cruise, will be the first of three ships returning to Mazatlan.
The Norwegian Star will make five calls in Mazatlan on seven-day cruises departing Los Angeles on Dec. 22 and 29 and March 2, 9 and 16.
Azamara Club Cruises' Quest will call in Mazatlan on a 12-night sailing out of Los Angeles on Dec. 29.
In addition to enhanced security and new lighting in the port area, a new $3 million tourism corridor has opened between the port and Mazatlan’s historical city center.
The cobblestone promenade makes access to the city easier and safer for cruise passengers, according to Cordova.
Mazatlan has invested more than $2.8 million in security cameras throughout the city and launched better coordination programs between local police, state police and the military.
Beyond the tighter security, there will be mariachi bands and a fiesta atmosphere greeting passengers arriving on all the cruises. A number of new shore excursions and tours will be available, including ziplining, boat tours, walking tours of the art district in the city’s historical center and half-day fishing tours.