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Ports cancelled due to security concerns?


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Hello,

We will be on a Panama Canal Cruise soon.  I understand that one of our ports is a level 4 and two ports are level 3 on the State Department website.  Does anyone have experience with ports being cancelled due to security concerns?  Curious as to how soon in advance the decision is made, and how the passengers are notified. 

We knew when we booked this cruise that some ports have been cancelled in the past, we would definitely prefer to be cautious, and understand the need to cancel. 

Thanks for any info,

Jerie

Edited by JC in CA
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I have not had that experience myself - ports cancelled, yes but due to adverse weather not security.  That said I know that on several Panama Canal cruises lately Corinto in Nicaragua was cancelled because of security and so, on one at least, was the port in Guatemala.    We are on the Splendor, San Diego to Miami in March and scheduled to call at both these ports.  I hope they are not cancelled but if they are we will just have to enjoy another sea day!!

 

From reading "live"threads on one of these cruises passengers were told the day before that the port was cancelled.   In my own experience we learnt the day we were to stop at both Honduras (Roatan) and San Tropez that we could not because of high winds.  In the case of Roatan the ship was already rocking a lot!  In the other - we headed for Villefranche where we spend the day.  (Far safer harbour but also a tender port).

 

Which Panama Canal cruise are you on??

Edited by Hambagahle
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Our experience with the cancellation of ports due to security concerns falls into two categories:

 

1. If the situation in a country or port deteriorates to the position where there is government advice against travel to that location Regent will alter the itinerary in advance. An example of this was Regent, and other cruise lines, dropping Turkey from their itineraries due to the unrest surrounding the failed military coup in 2016. 

 

2. Otherwise a port may be dropped at short notice. During our cruise, Lisbon - Cape Town, last year the Captain announced that we would not be stopping in Togo due to security concerns. The announcement was made the day before and was apparently due to the risk of ant-government demonstrations that had resulted in local government forces using lethal force against protestors a few days before.

 

I am very surprised that Regent is intending to visit a port on your Panama Canal itinerary that has a Level 4 Advisory in place. Which port is it?

If my understanding of US Government travel advice is correct, "Level 4" means "Do not travel". Apart from being potentially unsafe, surely Regent's and your insurance could be invalidated by ignoring that advice. 

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During our Panama Canal cruise on Mariner in September 2018 we did dock in Acapulco.

We went on an enjoyable Regent excursion to see the cliff divers. However, there were a lot of police/military on the streets travelling to/from that location.

 

For info, here is the UK Government advice which includes: "Due to an increase in violent crime in recent months, you should be extra vigilant in Acapulco and surrounding areas"

 

Have a great cruise 😎 ........... and stay safe. Don't be surprised if you have one or two extra sea days!

Edited by flossie009
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1 hour ago, JC in CA said:

Thank you both.

The level 4 is Acapulco.  We depart Monday! 

 

We were in Acapulco this year and there is still a lot of police presence.  While we would not go out on our own, we have no problem going on a Regent excursion there.  We will be returning there in March on Splendor as well as to Guatemala which, IMO, is more dangerous than Acapulco.  

 

 

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I have posted on this matter on other occasions due to several Canal transits involving advertised stops in Central American countries--and Mexico.  Two things are certain (almost) to happen.  One:  a port will be canceled due to civil unrest/revolution; and two:  there will be a volcano eruption which closes off roads leading to an excursion site.  In the case of a volcano (Costa Rica and Guatemala), that situation may only "surface" when the ship is enroute.  Notice will be both in "Passages"; and announcement by Captain and/or Cruise Director providing updates.  The buses can't drive to an excursion site when the roads to and from, or the location itself is covered in ash.    

 

For context, go to Page 38.  Thread is:  "Navigator to Cancel ports in Guatemala and Nicaragua".  We were on that particular cruise when both civil unrest (people being shot on the streets in Nicaragua) and a volcanic eruption (Costa Rica) resulted  in altering itinerary.  My comments on that Thread (which, upon request, were expanded to cover other ports of call on that LA to NYC cruise) will not be repeated here.  Previous Canal crossing cruises going back over 10 years--same thing.  There are a lot of active volcanos throughout the area (Costa Rica, Guatemala) and, of course Mexico.  

 

Stuff happens.  Volcanos are one thing; revolutions are another.  Regent always operates on the side of caution when confronting both situations.  

 

GOARMY!

 

 

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On our Canal itinerary, Mazatlan is one of the ports.   It's also "level 4."   I don't exactly understand why Regent schedules such ports, but no doubt they have their reasons.  I do, of course, understand that a particular port may need to be cancelled for the reasons spelled out (or others), but I don't understand why they're scheduled to begin with.     Whatever....

Edited by poss
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Many times the civil unrest is not close to the port area.  Regent and other cruise lines would only continue to book them if they felt it were safe (for their passengers, their crew and their ships).  The people in these cities/countries have been working hard to have cruise ships continue to visit.  This means money and the people of Honduras and Guatemala, in particular, are in dire need of money ..... just to eat!

 

 

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Yes, ports can be canceled and will be canceled if there are security concerns. A few years back we were on a Med/Middle East Cruise with a planned stop in Haifa/Jerusalem. Until the day before, it was iffy if we would be able to stop due to concerns about rockets from Westbank and Gaza reaching the port. We made it and enjoyed Jerusalem and Masada. 

A few weeks later, friends of ours had their stop in Haifa canceled the night before because of active shelling and rockets. None of which reached the port, but....

Of course, while many passengers understood the decision, others were not happy about missing out and our friends reported that some passengers were quite upset and vocal. 

I'd rather act on the side of caution here and understand the decisions can be spur of the moment. 

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4 hours ago, poss said:

On our Canal itinerary, Mazatlan is one of the ports.   It's also "level 4."   I don't exactly understand why Regent schedules such ports, but no doubt they have their reasons.  I do, of course, understand that a particular port may need to be cancelled for the reasons spelled out (or others), but I don't understand why they're scheduled to begin with.     Whatever....

Poss, the problem is that Regent now schedules cruises two plus years in advance.  A port that may have been safe two years ago may be dangerous now and vice versa.

 

Dave

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Things happen, it's better to be safe than sorry later.  We had 2 ports cancelled on Regent because it was unsafe on a Panama Cruise (East to West).  IMO it's a smart move on Regent part and I wouldn't have a problem with Regent.  Last year we missed a port in Russia on Regent because of weather--wasn't real happy, but no big deal because I'm still here today to write about it--we still had the same service, a suited to stay in--just missed a port.

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Re Acapulco and Mazatlan --  is the "problem" civil unrest or aggressive pickpocketing/personal robbery ?   I have read in the press here that the number of attacks on tourists in Acapulco has increased greatly this year, with knife incidents too.  It might be that that the US Government is concerned about.

 

Our 2020 cruise will take us to Acapulco.  We have been there several times both for work and tourism and reading the reports in the press we plan to stay on the ship.  I do not think being part of a tour group is any great guarantee of safety per se.  And I do love being on the ship when most people are off touring!!

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7 hours ago, Hambagahle said:

Re Acapulco and Mazatlan --  is the "problem" civil unrest or aggressive pickpocketing/personal robbery ?   I have read in the press here that the number of attacks on tourists in Acapulco has increased greatly this year, with knife incidents too.  It might be that that the US Government is concerned about.

 

Our 2020 cruise will take us to Acapulco.  We have been there several times both for work and tourism and reading the reports in the press we plan to stay on the ship.  I do not think being part of a tour group is any great guarantee of safety per se.  And I do love being on the ship when most people are off touring!!

 

Gerry, when we were in Acapulco in February (2019), I do not recall hearing/reading about any precautions that we should take when we went ashore.  Still not sure if we will get off of the ship in March - may join you and hang out out the ship.

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48 minutes ago, Caroldoll said:

We chose to stay on the ship in Acapulco.  Too much bad press.  

When was your cruise?  After reading the State Dept website, we are strongly considering staying on the ship....

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To repeat the obvious, but apparently it needs to be repeated:

 

Regent, through the ship's Captain, retains ultimate authority to CANCEL any or all shore excursions at a particular port--at short notice--should the situation, Mother Nature or Man-made, dictate.  This includes not allowing passengers to debark for "private" excursions.   The ship may be at anchor; or at port.  We have encountered such on one of our Canal crossings.  Actually, it was at Cartagena, Columbia several years ago.  Everything copasetic in the early morning as we approached.  Then, the Cpt comes over the intercom to announce there would be no debarkations.  Concerns about civil demonstrations which had the potential to turn violent.  So--several hours at port; then, an early departure.  

 

Such is cruising.  BTW:  the Cartagena stop during our June, 2018 Navigator cruise was calm--just HOT!

 

GOARMY!

 

 

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Hambagahle: 

 

Reference your reference to Cartagena--you might want to go to Page 38, and my comments on the Thread "FYI: Navigator to Cancel. . . " and so-on.  Second page of that narrative relates to our experience.  When we return this coming March on Splendor, Sue and I will remain on the ship.  

 

GOARMY!

 

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23 hours ago, JC in CA said:

Our scheduled Acapulco excursion is a "Nature encounter Hike and Swim" - will definitely look into this more before leaving the ship.

 

After reading Regent's explanation of the tour (see below), we personally would be rather hesitant to go to such a remote area.  

 

The tour:  

  • NATURE ENCOUNTER: HIKE AND SWIM

    Visit the most interesting and exciting places in the old Acapulco as well as enjoying two adventures in one, hiking and swimming in a spectacular ecological reserve on this fun tour. 

    Leaving the pier, you will first make your way to La Quebrada, where you can admire the skill and precision of Acapulco's world-famous cliff divers. Next, continue on to the Boca Chica hotel, where you will board your glass-bottomed tour boat and travel across the Bay to the undeniably beautiful La Roqueta Island. During your 30-minute trip to the Island, an informative narrative will give you a glimpse into the interesting history and culture of Acapulco throughout the ages, while your glass-bottomed boat offers up a dazzling display of colorful tropical fish and spiny sea urchins. 

    Upon arrival, you'll receive a briefing from your guide before commencing on an escorted hike through the Reserve's magnificent flora and fauna. The dense forestation that covers the island made it a favorite hiding spot for pirates and who knows? Maybe they left behind some buried treasure! After your trek through this uninhabited paradise, you'll return to the pier and cruise back across the bay to the Boca Chica Hotel where you'll have just over 1-hour of free time to enjoy the beach or sparkling pool before being treated to a light lunch. 

    Following lunch, you'll have a bit more free time before transferring back to the cruise ship pier where your tour concludes. 

     

    Please note: This tour consists of approximately 1-hour of walking over both sandy and uneven ground, and there are a significant number of steps to negotiate as well as 70 steps at La Quebrada. Some surfaces are moss covered and may become slippery when wet. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests, those with mobility concerns, heart problems, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, any condition that would keep someone out of the water or pregnant women. Comfortable, flat, walking shoes with a non-slip sole are strongly recommended as well as light clothing, a change of clothes, swimsuit, cap and sun protection. Snorkeling equipment is available for rent. Tour participants must be over 10 years of age and those participants taking part in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility.

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