If you’re taking a cruise and it stops in Mexico, the chances are you’re going to Cozumel. In the near future, however, could you be going to Cancun instead?
There are some simple reasons why we think that may one day be the case.
Before we get too far, know that cruise ports in Mexico are booming. The aforementioned Cozumel is already one of the busiest ports of call in the world, with millions of passengers sailing there each year. But other ports in the area are also bustling. Progreso (on the western edge of the Yucatan) and Costa Maya (south down the coast from Cozumel) have made a name for themselves, with hundreds of port calls each year from major cruise lines. In short, the entire Yucatan Peninsula has turned into a cruise hot spot.
But there is always room for another port of call.
And while there hasn’t been any mention of cruise lines or developers looking to open a new ports in Cancun, here’s why we think it’s possible that the city could be added to itineraries in the not-so-distant future.
Cancun Is Already a Desirable Destination
Each year, about 4 million Americans visit Cancun. In other words, it’s already a popular place to visit. That’s a big hurdle that the cruise lines wouldn’t have to overcome. For example, tell someone you are headed to Cancun and they picture white sand beaches, electric blue water, and a lot of fun. But imagine you told them you are headed to Progreso. Will most people know where it is or what to expect?
That’s not a knock on Progreso. It simply illustrates how having a destination that’s already desirable means the cruise lines don’t have to work as hard to get passengers excited about an itinerary with Cancun in it. Passengers know what to expect, and there’s already a lot of positive images of the spot in people’s minds.
Passengers in Galveston, New Orleans, and Mobile Want New Ports
If you sail from the Gulf Coast regularly, then you might already be tired of the trips offered from your homeport. For instance, nearly every cruise from these ports stops in Cozumel. The rest of the trip is typically some combination of ports in Mexico or Central America. While cruising is fun, stopping in the same ports time and time again loses its luster.
That’s where a port like Cancun could bring a little more variety to cruise itineraries. Take for example the three big ports in the Mexican Yucatan — Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Progreso. With these ports, there are seven different combinations that you can combine these ports to where you visit at least one during a cruise. But add a fourth port like Cancun and you get 15 different combinations. In other words, one new port can make a big change in the routes available.
Cancun Isn’t Far From Other Ports
Ever notice that ships seem to stick to the same area on their cruises? A ship is highly unlikely to leave Miami, head to Cozumel, and then head to the Bahamas. The time and expense of sailing the ship back and forth is too much. That’s why cruise lines love to have ports clustered relatively near each other. It makes it easy to sail overnight without burning a ton of fuel. With Cancun being fewer than 50 miles from Cozumel it’s about as close as you can get to a second port. That would give cruise lines three ports within close distance of each other — Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Cancun — allowing them to create Mexican getaways all next to each other without burning a ton of fuel.
There’s Already Tourist Infrastructure & Lots to Do
Building a cruise port from scratch is tough and takes tens of millions of dollars. You have to build everything from the actual pier to port facilities… and of course, things for passengers to do.
But what if you simply had to build a pier, because practically everything else you need is already there?
Cancun is already a tourist mecca. The infrastructure like tour companies, transportation, restaurants, and more are already there. A cruise port wouldn’t have to be built from the ground up. Building docking facilities simple gives another way for tourists to reach the city instead of flying in. That would make it simple to get Cancun up and running as a cruise destination relatively quickly.
More Ships Means More Needs for Docking
There’s no arguing that the cruise industry is booming. Newer and larger ships are coming out several times a year across every major cruise line. In fact, there is even an entirely new cruise line — Virgin Voyages — coming to the market. All this has led to a sharp increase in the number of cruise ships sailing over the past 15 years or so.
Just like a parking lot with limited space, add too many ships to a port and it’s tough for scheduling. After all, only so many ships can be in a port at one time. With Cozumel being one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, you can find five ships visiting on some days. And while Cozumel still has capacity on many days, it may not be long before it’s hard for cruise ships to schedule stops that fit the itinerary.
That’s why having another port right nearby would make sense. A cruise port in Cancun will give more scheduling options for cruise lines and more space to keep ports like Cozumel from being overwhelmed with passengers each day.
What are your thoughts on a cruise port in Cancun? Would you like to see it added to your itinerary?