Puerto Morelos, Q.R. — A cruise company is anticipating the start of a new service out of Puerto Morelos in early 2019 with cruises to Cuba and the Caribbean.
Marisol Vanegas Pérez, the Secretary of Tourism, says that Capri Cruises is in their final stage of approval that would allow them to operate a home port in Puerto Morelos beginning Easter.
The cruise ship will have capacity for 800 passengers and set sail from Puerto Morelos to a route that would travel through Cuba, among other areas of the Caribbean.
Vanegas Pérez says the company is processing environmental permits as well as the corresponding licenses before the Port Authority of Quintana Roo and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation.
He says as long as the project meets all the requirements of legal and environmental conditions, they will support this and any other project that represents a new investment for the state.
If the service is approved for 2019, Capri Cruises services would include a charter flight from the United States to embark its cruise passengers in Puerto Morelos, generating hotel stays prior to leaving the ship and later upon returning from their cruise.
With the announcement came objections from many hotel owners who say the home port ship will take away from their occupancy rates since the ship offers overnight stays. They also said that the charter flights would lead to a decrease in plane seats into Cancun since these would be occupied by travelers who would only set foot in the Mexican Caribbean to embark on a cruise.
However Vanegas Pérez says that this new segment of tourists would not occupy spaces in regular flights to Cancun.
Head of the Association of Hotels of Cancun and Puerto Morelos, Roberto Cintrón Gómez said that they are rejecting the project because the competition cheapens the destination generated by the cruises throughout the Cancun-Riviera Maya corridor by attracting tourists of low economic income with an average stay of just three nights.