I was just interviewed by Rudy Maxa on this topic so I did some research.
The Canadian man who was robbed in Puerto vallarta was LIVING in the city. His home was burglarized for a large stash of cash he had on hand which the robbers knew about (it was hidden). This could happen in any city.
This was NOT a random crime against a tourist and therefore has no bearing at all in any discussion about whether cruise ships should go to Mexico.
Furthermore, the U.S. state department does have ban on GOVERNMENT WORKERS going to certain towns in Jalisco, the same state Puerto Vallrta, but those towns are hundrreds of miles away, and they are really mountain villages.
The cartels in Mexico are largely concentrated in the mountain regions and they have no interests in tourists. They have far bigger fish to fry, like corrupting the police and government officials.
While I do think it is a bad idea to cross over into Juarez or Tijuana these days, I really don't think getting off a cruise ship in Puerto Vallarta and walking along the beach is dangerous at all.
I think the Princess decision was based solely on perception, fostered by people like Kevin and even our own Kuki here, that Mexican ports are dangerous for cruisers. All evidence shows that is just not true - they have the same or better crime stats for cruise passengers as the Caribbean.
However, unfortunately I think both Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan are rather boring ports of call, although I would put Puerto Vallarta much higher than Mazatlan solely because of the location of the pier. In PV you land very close to a beach dominated by luxury hotels. You can parasail, swim in the ocean, water ski, etc. In Mazatlan there is nothing close to the pier worth seeing.
At the same time, Cabo has turned into a great recreational destination, and I wish more cruisers realized that. There are five world class golf courses, swimming with dolphins and even great shopping. Another beautiful town inside the Sea of Cortes is Loreto, but very few ships go there.
It is too bad the cruise industry has not been able to do more to create nice destinations within Mexico as they have in the Caribbean. Not long ago west coast cruises were doing very well; 1.22 million cruises taken out of L.A. in 2006, down to 450,000 scheduled in 2012.
But also - you have to remember that Princess only canceled THREE STOPS in Puerto Vallarta, through the end of 2011 for one ship which does not got to Mexico regularly. Other cruise lines still go there. To me it seems this is getting an unwarranted amount of attention.