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Mazatlan, Mexico: We’re safe for cruisers

Tourism officials in Mazatlan, Mexico are criticizing Holland America for dropping calls at the town through March.

In a statement sent to USA TODAY, Mazatlan Tourism Trust spokesman Julio Birrueta says the safety concerns the line is citing in canceling visits over the next three months are unfounded.

“We realize that this is a difficult time economically for the industry and that there are a number of complex reasons that cruise lines eliminate ports of call, many of which are financially driven – to save fuel costs, for instance,” Birrueta says. “However, the fact that Holland America claims to have based their decision on an issue no longer relevant is a disservice both to Mazatlán and to Holland America cruise passengers.”

Birrueta calls Mazatlan one of the safest destinations in Mexico and noted it has drawn two million visitors this year.

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“Continually citing crime as cause for concern permeates a blatant misconception and continues to erode the good reputation of Mazatlán and the unrivaled hospitality of its people,” Birrueta says. “It is extremely unfortunate that as a result of Holland America’s decision, cruise passengers will not have the opportunity to experience the vibrant culture and legendary hospitality of Mazatlán for themselves.”

As was first reported by USA TODAY’s Cruise Log last week, Holland America this month has been informing customers on seven-night Mexican Riviera sailings in January, February and March that the trips will feature an extra day in Puerto Vallarta instead of a visit to Mazatlan. The line also is dropping calls in Acapulco from a number of trips.

“The safety of our guests and crew is our top priority,” the line said in a statement last week explaining the changes.

Holland America began canceling port calls in Mazatlan and Acapulco earlier this year due to safety concerns and already had said it would not be going back to the destinations in 2011. The new cancellations extend the line’s absence from the ports through the coming spring season.

Mazatlan and Acapulco remain on the schedule at Holland America for cruises in late 2012 and 2013.

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