(June 21) -- Costa Maya, the port of call carved out of a jungle along Mexico's Riviera Maya, had been one of the most popular stops on Western Caribbean itineraries until Hurricane Dean last fall demolished the place, along with the much loved village of Majuhual.
So the good news yesterday that not only would the port reopen earlier than expected it also would welcome Disney Magic, as its first ship, on September 27, generated all the more excitement. The information was provided by the port's Miami-based public relations firm. Other major cruise lines committed to returning include Princess, Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Lines, Regent Seven Seas, P&O Cruises, Windstar, MSC Cruises and Ocean Village.
But wait a minute. Confused Cruise Critic members slated to cruise on that Disney Magic voyage, immediately contacted us, saying they'd just been informed that their September 27 sailing would call at Grand Cayman instead of Costa Maya. Even more bizarre is Costa Maya's claim that Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas would make visits this fall. It turns out that neither ship is anywhere near Costa Maya during the season (according to a Royal Caribbean spokesman, Grandeur's calls aren't scheduled until 2010 and Splendour is in South America).
The Costa Maya spokeswoman tells us she's trying to track down the "most updated call info" (the schedule she provided to us is dated June 17) and we'll keep you posted.
But remember this: It's not enough for a port to simply say -- we've rebuilt and we're ready to accept you. Cruise lines must also send in their own teams to inspect both the facilities and the shore tour operations. A source at Disney told us that the company has not yet made such an inspection and until that's completed its Disney Magic will not be calling there.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief