Puerto Vallarta: Humanitarian Cruise Ship PortBy Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 05/08/2020 - 19:04
Cruise ships present an interesting case study in COVID-19 contingencies. Thousands of passengers have found themselves thousands of miles away from home without a clear path back that can take them through travel restrictions and sanitary port regulations. During the last months, governments have had to make difficult decisions, allowing or prohibiting the docking of cruise ships due to fears of massive contagions and limited resources to test an entire cruise ship worth of people. As the initial panic surrounding COVID-19 dissipated, more robust responses have managed to administer cruise ships and manage passengers’ path back to their respective countries. However, it is not only passengers who have to worry about being stranded far away from home or safety. Crews can be comparatively numerous when compared to passengers and a lot of them do not get to go back home as they work under three, six and even 12-month contracts. This is why several ports around the world have set up humanitarian response teams to address the logistical and personal needs of cruise ships and their crews.
The Puerto Vallarta port, in a normal tourist season, is a frequent stop for cruise ship routes. Southbound cruise ships departing from Canadian and American western coastal cities almost always include Puerto Vallarta as a favorite stop. Cruise ship passengers, in fact, play a significant role in the city’s economy. Now, that positioning has led it to develop humanitarian response capabilities to help cruise ships deal with these difficult times. A press release from API Puerto Vallarta details the arrival this week of Oosterdam, a vessel from the Holland America cruise line, whose crew of 173 people had access to essential services for the 14 hour duration of the ship’s stop. Later in the week, SCT reported on the similar arrival of Seven Seas Splendor and its 125-member crew, which will be staying for the comparatively much longer time of 30 days, with its crew also having access to all essential services along with all necessary port services for the vessel.