Coming and Going: Cruise lines avoid Mexican port; no diving on distressed reefs

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 28, 2011; 1:01 PM

Ship not to this shore

SOS in Mexico.

Last week, three cruise lines - Disney, Holland America and Princess - pulled Mazatlan from their West Coast itineraries because of increased violence directed at tourists.

For its seven-night Mexican Riviera cruise, Disney Wonder swapped out Cabo San Lucas for the port. Sapphire Princess replaced the stop with a longer stay in Cabo and a day in Ensenada. And Holland America's MS Oosterdam diverted to Manzanillo.

Disney will continue to avoid the port until further notice. Holland America will continue to monitor the situation, saying in a statement, "Discussions will be occurring with local authorities to determine what steps are being taken to address this issue. Decisions regarding future Mexican Riviera cruises" will depend on those discussions and on further developments. Princess is also watching events.

Over the past few weeks, passengers and crew members have been mugged in Mazatlan, and a visitor from British Columbia was wounded in the leg during a gang-related shootout.

Thailand: Diving ban

Thailand is giving its coral reefs a break, temporarily closing 18 dive sites.

The country's National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department issued the order to help the beleaguered coral recover from bleaching, the deleterious loss of pigment.

The affected parks are Hat Chao Mai National Park in Trang; Mu Koh Petra and Tarutao national parks in Satun; Mu Ko Chumphon National Park in Chumphon; Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Koh Phi Phi National Park in Krabi; and Mu Koh Surin and Mu Koh Similan national parks in Phangnga.

The closings will last at least through the end of monsoon season in October.

DHS alert: Fade to black

The crayon colors that indicated the country's threat level are going back into the box.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced a new terror-alert system not based on paint chips. The two-tiered National Terrorism Advisory System will inform Americans of an "imminent threat" or an "elevated threat." (That would be red and yellow for those not ready to let go.)

The a lerts will contain information on the potential threat, plus actions officials are taking to defuse it and recommendations for civilians. Venues that post alerts, such as airports, have 90 days to implement the new system and ditch the burnt orange and radical red.

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