With less than a week to go before cruise ships make their first calls at Cozumel since Hurricane Wilma crashed ashore (the return date is set for November 14), rapid progress is being reported in the recovery effort.
Cozumel has actually come around faster than originally expected. The Mexican isle was pounded by 125-mile-per-hour winds and the eye of the storm hovered above Cozumel and nearby Cancun for two days before heading to Florida, causing many to fear the worst. However, officials say they will be ready to welcome cruise passengers on Monday. According to Ian Campbell, a representative for Cozumel's Paradise Beach, streets have long been cleared of debris, and many downtown shops and restaurants -- including Casa Denis, Dorados de Villa and the Bavarian Bar -- are open for business.
What can next week's visitors expect during their port call? At this point:
Electricity and water have been restored to 90 percent of the island.
As of November 14, 95 percent of shops and restaurants will be open.
More than 30 shore excursions have been available since October 31; more are expected to be available by next week.
Punta Sur ecological park is open and offering Jeep tours.
Several dive shops are up and running, and though fragile shallow reefs have been set back by the storm, many at greater depths are reported to be in good condition.
The Atlantis Submarine attraction expects to reopen on December 15; Chankanaab Park has set a tentative opening date of December 20.
A time frame has not yet been established for the repair and/or rebuilding of Cozumel's three major cruise piers; ships will tender passengers to San Miguel's ferry piers (which are back in service) for the foreseeable future.
Please continue to check back with Cruise Critic news as we continue to monitor the progress on the island.
Is Cozumel ready for cruise passengers? Sound off on our Cozumel message board.
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Progress Report: Cozumel Counts Down to Cruise Return
November 8, 2005