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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTravel & Outdoors 

Cruise Ships Give Year-Round Boost to Vallarta Tourism

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February 3, 2017

Puerto Vallarta has been gaining ground in the international cruise industry in recent years, and this year will be no exception with 134 cruises carrying 336,050 passengers expected to visit the port city in 2017.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - For 2017, Puerto Vallarta is forecasting 134 cruise ship arrivals with more than 340,000 passengers. That's up from 143 calls and 336,050 passengers last year, which in turn was up slightly from 2015. The port is working to rebuild its traffic level which reached a high of more than 589,000 passengers in 2008.

"We are committed to creating a passenger experience like a Mexican paradise destination," said a spokesperson for Vallarta's port.

Efforts underway include the construction of facilities at the port that will include tourist services, a "Hacienda Tequilera," an aquarium, described to be the largest in Latin America, as well as public parking. The project is slated to be completed in the first half of 2018, she said.

Unique Identity

"When finished, our new facilities will be an excellent way to portray the unique characteristics and identity of our state, Jalisco, not only for cruise passengers, but also for the 900,000 tourists that visit annually and stay in our hotels and resorts."

Last year, land visitors generated some 24,839 sightseeing tours by boat in Banderas Bay with more than 632,022 passengers, a 2 percent increase from the year before.

The spokesperson added that Puerto Vallarta has received several awards from cruise industry associations for meeting expectations and generating high satisfaction ratings from passengers.

Regular callers this season feature ships from Carnival, Holland America Line, Norwegian and Princess in addition to calls by Oceania. The most unusual call may have been the Costa Luminosa in September on a 99-day world cruise round trip from Savona.

As the year came to a close, the December calendar included 17 calls and four days with two ships in port at the same time. The port had not yet published its 2017 calendar.


Carnival Cruise Line sails year-round with the Miracle and is thus responsible for the largest share of passengers. On her seven-day rotation, the Miracle also occasionally stays overnight in Puerto Vallarta.

Next year, the 3,000-passenger Carnival Splendor will replace the 2,100-passenger Miracle, representing a 41% increase in capacity for the line’s week-long cruises on the West Coast, according to Carnival.

Three different itineraries will be offered: one itinerary visiting Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, another spending two days at Cabo San Lucas and a full day in Puerto Vallarta, and a third over-nighting in Puerto Vallarta with a day-long call in Cabo San Lucas.

Among the passenger experiences ashore in Puerto Vallarta, Carnival tours feature zip-lining, swimming with dolphins, beach adventures, tequila tastings and nightlife.


Princess highlights the Malecón, the boardwalk by the beach, as well as secluded coves and beaches, such as Las Caletas and Yelapa, in addition to Las Islas Marietas, a series of uninhabited islands for kayaking, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Sailing Mexican Riviera cruises from San Diego, Holland America describes Puerto Vallarta as "squeezed" into the space between Banderas Bay and the Sierra Madre mountains. Although it is no longer the well-kept secret of the artists, writers and Hollywood stars who first "discovered" it in the 1960s, the town still retains the essence of the fishing village it once was. Viejo Vallarta, the old town, is a mix of red-tiled buildings, cobbled streets, chic shops and busy open markets.

According to Norwegian, which has published calls for the Norwegian Star sailing seven days through April 2018, Puerto Vallarta has retained a good deal of its small village charm along with 26 miles of beaches along the Banderas Bay. The line's recommendation is to stroll the cobblestone streets to the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Or peruse the many local wares for sale at the open-air markets.

Original article