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Progreso’s cruise industry reaches new heights, but Cozumel remains in a league of its own

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Cozumel’s success at attracting cruise liners is undeniable, but not all locals are thrilled about it. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

Yucatan’s strategy to attract more cruises to its port in Progreso appears to be paying off. 

Yesterday, the Norwegian Prima docked for the first time in Yucatán’s Port of Progreso. 

The luxury cruiseliner, which is operating at near capacity, brought thousands to Progreso’s boardwalk, though many opted to take day trips to other attractions such as the Prehispanic site of Chichén Itzá.

So far in 2022, Progreso has hosted 72 cruise ships with nearly 20,000 passengers and 1,600 crew. 

The state’s success in reactivating its cruising industry is largely credited to efforts to market Yucatán as a fun, safe, and friendly destination.

“We want visitors, wherever they come from, and however they get here to feel safe and happy. It’s in all of our interest to put our best face forward,” said Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal.

Industry analysts have also noted the importance of Yucatán’s investments in infrastructure as well as easy-to-get-to attractions, including the Sendero Jurasico and Meteorite Museum

Earlier: Cruise travel expert Chillie Falls on the industry’s comeback and what it means for Yucatán

In 2019, ports welcomed nearly 2,000 cruise ships, making it the region’s best season to date. The busiest of these ports by far had been Cozumel with 1,366 docked cruise ships, followed by Mahaual’s 481 and Progreso’s 146.

Quintana Roo has announced that it has had its busiest cruise season ever, as it has already welcomed just over 2 million visitors this year. 

Leading the way, Cozumel has become the busiest port in the entire Caribbean region, and industry analysts say they expect this trend to continue.

“Cozumel is a great destination known for its great infrastructure and safe/easy-going nature. Little wonder it’s doing so well,” said the state’s tourism minister, Bernardo Cueto.

Cozumel’s success at attracting cruise liners is undeniable, but not all locals are thrilled about it. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine

What is more, recent protests by locals looking to block the construction of a third cruise dock appear to be falling on deaf ears

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