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Princess Unveils 2019-2020 Mexico Voyages, Onboard Offerings

Princess Cruises announced its Mexico lineup for 2019 and 2020. It’s a region the line has cruised to for more than half a century. The new season features the key ports of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas. Enhanced entertainment, culinary and shore offerings also feature prominently. One of the line’s newest ships, Royal…

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Princess Cruises announced its Mexico lineup for 2019 and 2020.

It’s a region the line has cruised to for more than half a century. The new season features the key ports of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas.

Enhanced entertainment, culinary and shore offerings also feature prominently.

One of the line’s newest ships, Royal Princess, will sail her first full Mexico season in 2019-2020. She’ll offer a total of 27 departures from Los Angeles. In addition to seven-day Mexico itineraries, Royal Princess will sail five-day getaways to Cabo San Lucas with overnights in port.

Star Princess will return to the west coast in 2019. She’ll sail 10-day Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez roundtrips from Los Angeles with an overnight in Cabo San Lucas.

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Princess Cruises is the only line to sail year-round out of San Francisco. Grand Princess will sail roundtrip 10-day Mexico itineraries in 2019.

“Sailing the waters of Mexico honors the heritage of Princess cruising, with our first voyage in 1965 to the Mexican Riviera,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Now, we provide guests more opportunities to experience the best of the region through culinary partnerships and immersive shore excursions, all while enjoying longer stays in port.”

On the shore side, Princess Cruises has collaborated with Latin American cuisine expert Bill Esparza. He’s developed some new culinary-themed excursions.

“Developing excursions for Princess guests presented a unique opportunity to provide exposure to local chefs and flavors from Latin America that can only be found on the west coast,” said Esparza. “I wanted to present guests with new ingredients, off the beaten path experiences and personalities from around the region to provide the most authentic look into this part of the world.”

Back on board, guests will experience an enhanced program of cultural offerings. They include mariachi performances, culinary demonstrations, tequila tastings, local crafts as well as a Mexican Fiesta.

Princess Cruises currently has three new Royal-class ships on order. The next new ship, Sky Princess, is set for delivery in October 2019.

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Cruises

When and How Will Cruising Return?

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While the entire travel industry has ground to a halt from the coronavirus pandemic, the cruise industry was hit especially hard as multiple ships were turned away from ports while passengers and crew fell ill and even died.

“COVID-19 has been a PR disaster for the cruise industry,” said Ben Cordwell, a travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

How does the cruise industry recover and regain its momentum?

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“Since the cruise industry pivoted from passenger shipping to leisure cruising in the 1970s, cruise lines have not faced a full-scale halt of operations like they face today due to the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Robert J. Kwortnik, an associate professor at Cornell University’s Hotel School, who studies tourism with a focus on the leisure cruise industry. “This situation truly is unprecedented, which means the response to it will have to be unprecedented as well.”

First, the cruise companies need to secure the finances needed to keep the core operations running – which they’re already doing. Kwortnik said they also need to prepare logistically for re-crewing ships when they are ready to resume sailing, especially with travel restrictions and severely reduced numbers of flights.

They’ll also have to figure out how to weed out sick passengers and disembark ill and healthy guests if the need ever arises again, he said. It likely will mean more detailed health forms before boarding and thermal scans to check temperatures.

“Stronger or different health screenings may become the new normal for the cruise industry, much like the more involved TSA screenings implemented after the 9/11 tragedy in the United States,” Kwortnik said.

Flexible cancellation policies also may be required so people don’t lose all they paid if they cancel at the last minute due to illness. “Reducing, and ideally eliminating, the possibility of sick passengers getting on a cruise ship will require both more vigilance at the port and the removal of disincentives for ill travelers to show up at the port in the first place,” he said.

But the biggest challenge likely will be convincing people to take a cruise. Steeply discounted fares will help, at least with avid cruisers eager to return to the seas. But many travelers will need to be convinced that ships are disinfected and clean.

“Veteran cruisers know how seriously cruise lines take onboard cleaning and hand-washing to minimize the threat of norovirus. But coronavirus is very different,” Kwortnik said. “Moreover, the important new-to-cruise segment doesn’t have experience with the extraordinary sanitation measures used by cruise lines to minimize the threat of illness spreading onboard. While it’s reasonable for the cruise lines to be reluctant to discuss a common objection to cruising — the fear of getting sick — it may now be necessary to move the question of health/sanitation more front and center as part of a public awareness campaign, especially for travel agents and the new-to-cruise market.”

In fact, Crystal Cruises released a video by President and CEO Tom Wolber, in which he said the luxury line enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols for ships, terminals and vehicles transporting guests. Carnival Cruise Line also detailed its more rigorous cleaning standards on its website.

When cruising does resume, travel advisors will be essential in helping the cruise industry recover, just as they were in building the industry since the 1970s.

“Travel agents may never have been more important to the cruise industry than now. Agents will be key sources of information for cruise education as the cruise lines make operational changes to protect passenger safety, and of course for information about cruises sailing again, itinerary changes, reservation and cancelation changes, etc.,” Kwortnik said. “Communicating and incentivizing the travel trade will be vital to the industry’s reemergence. Travel agents are trusted by their clients, and this trust will be critical as travelers decide if and when it’s safe to cruise for the first time or to cruise again.

“Cruising is an outstanding vacation value, and the industry will come out of this pandemic stronger and all the more focused on guest safety and security,” Kwortnik said. “There’s no reason travel agents shouldn’t be confident to continue selling cruises to their clients and to recommend cruises for customers who have never sailed before.”

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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