The Cruise Industry’s Resurgence Means Some Extra Crowds In The Major Ports
Quintana Roo welcomed over 10,000 extra day visitors to its shores on Tuesday as several cruise liners docked in Cozumel and Mahahual. The numbers mark a strong resurgence in the cruise industry after two tough years during the pandemic.
Tourists in Cozumel may have been particularly shocked at the surge in crowds that appeared on the island. The presence of the new largest ship in the world, The Wonder of the Seas, brought almost half of the numbers itself. The Royal Caribbean’s gargantuan new centerpiece can hold a maximum of almost 7,000 passengers, although in this instance it only had 4,391 onshore.
Other ships arriving across the state included the Norwegian Breakaway which contributed 2,882 visitors; Carnival Pride, which added 2,306; and The Scarlet Lady, a smaller ship that had only 788.
Mexico continues to be an extremely popular stop-off for many cruise lines. Both coasts welcome cruise ships on a regular basis, with major ports including Cozumel and Mahahuyal on the east, and Puerto Vallarta and Cabo on the west. Most of these docking are only day trips where passengers will hop off, do an excursion, and embark a few hours later. But in some cases, they may dock overnight, allowing the passengers a taste of the nightlife in their destination.
They don’t represent any numbers for occupancy, even when they stay overnight, but the sudden addition of thousands of tourists can be overwhelming for tourists who are already in the area. Traditional visitors who are doing day excursions like visiting nearby ruins or doing other exciting activities like ATV tours or Cenote swimming may see suddenly larger groups. It may be worth checking the cruise ship arrivals during a trip to plan around these surges.
For the industry, they are extremely welcome. According to some statistics, over 15 million pesos can be generated in the local economy every time a group this large appears onshore, representing a massive influx for the region.
Cruise ships have taken a huge hit over the past two years. Arguably the most disproportionately affected sector of the travel industry, cruise ships were banned from sailing in any form for almost a year and a half. The industry found itself at the center of attention at the beginning of the pandemic after several ships endured outbreaks. It was one of the first times the world had seen how quickly COVID-19 could spread, and the disarray that followed shone a harsh light on its safety procedures.
When the industry finally opened once again, it was marketed as the safest way to travel. Extremely strict rules were in place preventing anyone who wasn’t vaccinated from sailing, and multiple PCR tests had to be administered. But, once again, despite the high vaccination rates, cruise ships became a micro-site for highlighting that even with vaccinations, the virus still spread, although with much less health risk attached.
Several cruise ships stopped sailing once again, and several travel advisories were placed on the industry, but now things are looking up once more. It is hoped that the current trends will continue, and Quintana Roo will enjoy the benefits of them for years to come. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for the cruise passengers to get a brief taste of the area, and hopefully, choose to come back for a longer stay on another vacation.
As the easter season approaches Cancun, Cozumel and the surrounding areas can expect huge crowds, especially if the cruise ships continue to drop off day passengers. The Easter break is also popular with cruise lines, compounding the numbers. It’s expected over 3 million visitors will pass through the Cancun area, not including any cruise passengers.
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