My daughter and I are scheduled to take a Mexican Riviera cruise in April, and what with all the news about gang and drug activity down there, my husband is trying to get us to change our plans and go somewhere other than Mexico. They are even talking about intendance being down at the Sun Bowl in ElPaso (I think that's the one) being down because of the crime in Juarez. I am really beginning to wonder if he may be right. What do you think?
We did the Mexican Riviera in Oct 2008 and we did not hear or see anything or have any problems. If you are not 100% sure thats is what you want to do, then please don't go you will not have a good time and you do not need any worry or stress. Having a good time is the most important part of cruising.
In November my daughter and I went on the Carnival Pride to the Mexican Riviera. I found it no more "intimidating" than many Caribbean islands. Stay with ship's tours if you are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with traveling or the area and you will be just fine.
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In 2007 we went to Cabo San Lucas and they had armed guards at the pier. It made me feel safer. We didn't have any issues, aside from a couple of pushy vendors. If you stay to the tourist areas and use normal care, you should be fine. Juarez is quite a bit different from the cruise ports an a Mexican Riveria cruise. I would and will book a Mexcian Rivieria cruise again. Here is a pic of the armed guard.
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I wouldn't worry about it. I have been on 3 Mexican Rivera cruises and never had any problems.
You are going to be in a big tourist area so, you won't really see it like if you were going deeper into Mexico.
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This is far from my first trip to Mexico, but all this drug/gang related activity is a pretty recent upsurge (like in the last few months.) We aren't really worried about it that much, planning on staying with the "groups", its my husband who is freaking out. We have until February to make our final payment, and I don't think we'll be changing out plans. I just wanted to hear the opinion of others. Thanks for all your input.
I HAVE TAKEN TWO MEXRIV CRUISES, AND WHILE MOST OF THE PORTS ARE LITTERED, SMOGGY, AND UNATTRACTIVE, THE ONLY 'THREAT' I EVER FELT WAS FROM THE UNCEASING PANHANDLING AND THE LIKEWISE UNCEASING SOLICITATIONS FROM DRUG DEALERS IN PLACES LIKE ACAPULCO. IF YOU CAN HANDLE IT, OK, BUT IF IT BOTHERS YOU BEWARE. I PERSONALLY HAVE DONE MEXRIV TWICE AND WOULD NEVER DO IT AGAIN. STICK TO SHIP TOURS AND DON'T LET THE RAZOR WIRE BOTHER YOU. BUT, AGAIN, LORETTO, LA PAZ AND CABO WERE VERY NICE.
The overwhelming majority of the violence has been along the U.S. border in places like Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Loredo, and Nogales. Also, the targets appear to be rival gangs or Mexican government officials. While you should use caution, if you stick to groups and the main tourist areas, you should be O.K.
I'm TomS, and I approved this message.
We lived in Los Angeles for 13 years. Did the Mexican Riviera cruise many times on various cruise lines. Add that to the times we've done the Yucatan side of Mexico and I have been there dozens of times.
Most of the recent violence your hubby is worried about is not near where you would be going anyway. It's kind of like saying that the U.S. is dangerous because of gang activity. Mexico is a big country and while, no place is entirely safe (you can fall in your own bathtub), the cruise ports know that their economy depends on tourists, so they keep a pretty tight lid on any criminal activity.
Try to reassure him. I have never heard of a tour group having any kind of conflict in Mexico. Just stay with the tour. Although, I like going off a bit on my own and Mexico is one of the places where I will do that.
Hope it all turns out well for you. It is a fun cruise.
I agree with your husband - but if you don't cancel, then proceed with extreme caution. I don't understand why there isn't more media reporting of the border violence. The gangs have been targeting places like movie theatres and other places where innocent "civilians" (non-gang members) will be. I'm sure the cruiselines are aware of it and will take all necessary precautions to keep passengers safe.
i really don't know where 'safe' is anymore; lots of people hate americans these days -- love our money, but hate us for political reasons. just be careful, take the cruise tours, avoid freelancers in places like jamaica, and get a 'hide' against pushers. you have to be street-wise in lots of places. my next cruise is to new england and canada, but even there, a ship in port looks like easy money to some. you'll be ok, but just be careful and avoid going it alone.
Mexico is safe if you get good advice and learn about what is and is not a good idea. Don't look to TA or CC to give you this good advice. Giving good avice does not sell the parent companies wares.
Man, Mexico is loaded with drugs and prostitutes. FROM THE DAWN OF TIME. But in defense, some people need that. And unlike Amsterdam it is not quite so much in your face. People visit Holland for these very reasons. Mexico needs tourist dollars and instead of complete legalization which conflicts with their beliefs as a society. They have adopted acceptance and tolerance. They have to ignore it so that it can happen. If they focus too strongly on the issues they will feel a moral obligation to stop it. No one wants that to happen and especially tourists. Surprise.
Are the cops on the take? Yeah, a few. Not all of them. This is a very devout Catholic society and someone’s Mom would be kicking someone’s butt. Most people in my experience would much prefer an honest dollar. Mexican Nationals are truly, honestly and inherently good people. A few are bad apples and causes us to question their whole society.
My point is you can't judge the whole country by a bad experience or bad media coverage about the drug war. If you aren't involved in drugs then you should have no issues.
Don't get drunk and stagger down the sidewalk like an idiot or perhaps you will invite trouble.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Don't think you can drive a car on the Costera in Acaulco. It takes years of skill and most certainly a complete lack or road rage. Hire a driver, cab, limo - whatever, it is economical.
FORGET about all of the above; say you have a family and want ecology, biology, history - It is all here and can be traced to the beginning of time.
Do you want Mexico to be a safe destination? Hire someone you can trust.
The country is amazing and can be very inviting.
And what about you folks that want all the private stuff - Taxi drivers are your best friend.
I think the key to making Mexico a perfect destination is to have a driver that speaks your language; literally and metaphorically.
I want to thank all of you who took the time to answer my question. You have made me feel much better, and confirmed my own thinking. We will be cautious, stay with groups, probably stick with only ship tours and have a great time. I live in NW Oregon and have had real, real winter this year. and am so looking forward to spring and warm climates. Thank you again.
I don't believe Ship Excursions are really the best way to experience the Ports Of Call. I don't think hiring some guy off the pier is a good idea either.
Experience matters. Language and effective communication is paramount.
Mexico is very serious about the travel industry. Professionals in this industry actually study this curriculum at accredited universities and must attend continuing education courses throughout their career as a requirement for licensing.
Quite often what you get through Cruise Line contracted agencies is inferior to the private service you will receive through an Independent Agency specializing in tours and excursions. The Cruie Ship contracted companies are known as tour brokers in the industry and quite often contract to uncertified or questionable drivers / guides to maximize profit.
Independent agencies serious about success in this field must hold themselves to a higher standard of operating excellence or they will fail.
IMO: Use an Independent Tour Operator Agency that only employs a private staff of Federally Certified and Licensed Guides / Drivers. You will save a pile of cash and will have a much better experience.