Costa Maya Revises 2008 Call Schedule; HAL First to Return

June 27, 2008

Last week, we reported the good news that the reconstruction of Costa Maya -- a man-made port on Mexico's Riviera Maya that was all but destroyed by Hurricane Dean last August -- is ahead of schedule. In fact, docks have already been rebuilt to accommodate ships as large as Oasis of the Seas. Unfortunately, we also received (and shared) a schedule from the port's Miami-based public relations firm that indicated the early return of several cruise ships this fall -- much of which turned out to be erroneous.

Costa Maya has since provided us with an updated schedule of arrivals, dated June 24 and accurate through the end of 2008; unless otherwise noted, we have confirmed all of these port calls with each cruise line directly, either with a spokesperson or by referencing updated itineraries on its Web site. According to the new chart, Holland America's Westerdam will be the first ship to dock in Costa Maya on October 31 -- not Disney Magic in September, as was originally reported.

Westerdam will also visit Costa Maya on November 21 and December 12. Other HAL ships returning to the port in 2008 include Veendam and Statendam.

Based on the "new" 2008 calendar, other ships arriving in Costa Maya this fall include:

Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas will call on November 26 and December 24; Voyager of the Seas will also start back on a biweekly basis December 18 (through 2010).

Carnival's Carnival Legend will visit on November 7 and December 26; Carnival Glory's on the schedule every other week beginning December 17 (through the fall of 2009).

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Spirit will call once a week beginning November 25 (through April 2009).

P&O Cruises' Oceana is headed for Costa Maya on November 20.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Seven Seas Voyager will call at Costa Maya on December 6; Seven Seas Navigator will call there on December 26.

At press time we were unable to confirm just one call on the 2008 schedule -- a November 18 visit by Fred. Olsen's Braemar. We'll keep you posted.

So what's the story for next year ... and beyond? Aside from the specific long-term itineraries we've verified above, the schedules we received from Costa Maya for 2009, 2010 and 2011 are preliminary (calls have not yet been confirmed, according to a Costa Maya spokesman). However, lines to look out for include all of the above as well as MSC Cruises.

Ironically, Disney -- whose Magic, as mentioned above, was first up on the initial schedule we received -- is now nowhere to be found on the list of confirmed or prospective calls.

Stay tuned.

--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor