Royal Caribbean may move its home port to Cozumel, Mexico amid delays to restart the cruise industry in the United States. According to Cozumel Mayor Pedro Joaquin Delbouis, Royal Caribbean approached the city about designating the island as a home port for its cruise operations.
“A company has established a Plan B, if in April there is no decision to sail, Cozumel would be its home port starting in May,” said the Mayor, reported the Riviera Maya News. “We were consulted and we immediately said yes.”
Joaquin Delbouis added that the city is already constructing a new dock that will become the home port and it’s projected to be completed by May. The project is currently being funded and planned by the Mexico federal government.
The mayor added that after a decade of projects that never came to fruition, Quinatana Roo will have its first home port. Originally planned for Cancun, the port was met with opposition by hoteliers that felt the home port would become competition for the hotel industry. Cozumel has been receiving cruise ships for over 50 years and has the experience to handle a home port the Mayor added.
Royal Caribbean did report that they are looking at alternative destinations for its home port according to Royal Caribbean’s Senior Project Manager Richard Gibbs.
“We’re engaging with various stakeholders, particularly governments and partners in the travel industry around the world, to evaluate the feasibility of returning to cruising from several destinations once it is safe to do so. No final decisions have been made regarding these efforts,” Gibbs said in a statement to Travel Pulse.
According to Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President Vicki Freed, test sailings have yet to be scheduled due to delays by the CDC.
“The reason you haven’t heard anything is because we don’t have dates yet,” Freed said this week, according to Travel Weekly. “We don’t have any more information. But as soon as we do, I promise we will get that information to you.”
At the beginning of February, the Mayor of Cozumel was also reaching out to European Cruise companies to bring their ships to the Mexican Island. The Mayor has been in talks with the MSC which is the one large cruise line already successfully sailing in the Mediterranean. MSC Cruises has been the pioneer of sailing in a Covid-19 world and the Mayor is hoping the cruise line will include Cozumel on its itineraries.
Mexico is no stranger to tourism during the pandemic and continues to be one of the most popular destinations during Covid-19. In spite of travel restrictions amidst the global pandemic, tourism in Cancun continues to thrive. A recent passenger traffic report from Grupo Aeroportuario el Sureste (Asur) said the Cancun airport served over 700 thousand passengers in the month of January alone.
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