Carnival Cruise Line announces additional itinerary changes this week -- Cozumel is benefiting big time from ships needing to switch from Costa Maya (ironically, when Cozumel was seriously damaged as a result of Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Costa Maya was the beneficiary!)
Costa Maya, located on Mexico's Southern Yucatan, was literally at ground zero when Hurricane Dean, as a Category Five storm, went ashore late last month. Also receiving major damage was the nearby fishing village of Majahual (read about the effort rebuild there in From the Bridge: Hurricane Season's High Season). In a statement issued by the developers of Puerto Costa Maya, Cesar Lizarraga, its director of sales and marketing, says that "Costa Maya has been working closely with all pertinent government agencies to secure the necessary permits to immediately begin the reconstructions process."
Lizarraga notes that the first phase of reconstruction and cleanup to Costa Maya will begin next Monday; the priority will be on returning the first and second ship berthing positions by September 2008. A third part of the pier, which before the storm permitted the facility to dock three ships at a time, will be finished in early 2009.
The restaurants, bars, shops and pool and beach areas that gave Costa Maya its private island feel will also be up and running by September 2008.
An oddity in cruise lines' most recent reports this week about Western Caribbean changes is that Carnival Glory, alone among cruise ships, is dropping its call at Belize as well as Costa Maya. Belize, while also too-close-for-comfort to the landing of Hurricane Dean, suffered nowhere near the damage of Costa Maya and Majahual. We've asked Carnival for an explanation ....
While Costa Maya itself is a commercially developed property, nearby Majahual, a charming oceanfront town that lies five minutes outside the gates, also need rebuilding. The statement today notes that "presently, 100 workers are conducting cleanup of the beach and small fishing village. Restoration of services, including phone lines and electricity, are already underway. The rehabilitation project, funded with 18 million Mexican pesos, or more than 1.5 million U.S. dollars, by Fonatur, Sectur and the Government of Quintana Roo, also includes the creation of a new boardwalk along Majahual's beach. Fonatur's announcement with specific development plans is expected by the end of the month."
In the meantime, while cruise lines had already announced near-term port replacements for Costa Maya, they're now needing to plan for longer term substitutions. At this point, the following changes have been made -- and stay tuned as we'll update cruise line movements as we receive them.
Azamara Quest has one call scheduled for Costa Maya on October 26, 2007; it will be calling at Cozumel instead.
Update! Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Fantasy's five-night cruises from New Orleans will call at Progreso instead of Costa Maya.
Carnival Freedom will replace its Costa Maya calls with a stop at Cozumel.
Carnival Legend will call at Roatan instead of Costa Maya.
Carnival Glory is adding Key West (and dropping Belize as well as Costa Maya). Its new schedule is Port Canaveral, Key West, at sea, Cozumel, Progreso, at sea, Nassau, Port Canaveral.
Carnival Liberty, which cruises alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, will alter the latter voyage by replacing Costa Maya with Cozumel.
Carnival Valor will replace its Costa Maya call with a stop at Cozumel.
Carnival Victory will replace its Costa Maya call with a stop at Cozumel.
Holiday is replacing calls at Costa Maya with stops in Progreso.
Crystal Symphony is replacing Costa Maya with Progreso on its Western Caribbean itineraries.
Veendam and Westerdam, which both had regular calls at Costa Maya on their winter Western Caribbean itineraries, will instead head to Cozumel.
Amsterdam, which was slated for just one Costa Maya stop during a Christmas cruise will also call at Cozumel.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Sun's itinerary now includes Cozumel instead of Costa Maya.
Instead of calling at Costa Maya, Norwegian Spirit's seven-night Western Caribbean sailings from November 18, 2007 through March 23, 2008 will feature a call in Roatan.
On Ocean Village and Ocean Village 2's Western Caribbean itineraries from Jamaica (Montego Bay), starting November 21, Progreso is being used as a port of call instead of Costa Maya
Instead of a port swap for the planned December 29 call at Costa Maya, Oceana will spend an extra day at sea.
Arcadia is calling at Progreso on January 21 instead of at Costa Maya.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
On Seven Seas Navigator's November 15, 2007 sailing, Jamaica (Ocho Rios) will replace Costa Maya. For the December 27, 2007 and February 15, 2008 sailings, Costa Maya is off, and an overnight in Cozumel will take its place.
On Seven Seas Voyager's November 30 and December 14, 2007 itineraries, Costa Maya has been deleted, and stays in Cozumel and Key West will be added.
On Seven Seas Mariner's March 14, 2008 sailing Costa Maya will be replaced by an overnight in Cozumel, and additional time in Grand Cayman
Enchantment of the Seas will call in Jamaica (Ocho Rios) instead of Costa Maya.
Grandeur of the Seas will swap in visit to Cozumel instead of Costa Maya.
Jewel of the Seas is going to Playa del Carmen instead of Costa Maya, as originally planned.
Voyager of the Seas will not swap out Costa Maya for another port, but will instead extend its call time at Roatan and Progreso.
--by Jana Jones, Cruise Critic Contributor; updated by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor