According to recent reports, Carnival Cruise Line has reportedly cancelled nine sailings to Belize this year. These nine sailings were split between the Carnival Legend and Carnival Glory. Both ships operate similar itineraries and will now call in Costa Maya instead of Belize.
In a letter sent to customers on the impacted sailings Carnival explained the reasoning behind the sudden cancellations, “Although we have a confirmed berth in Belize, local officials accepted calls for additional ships. Consequently, their tender capacity is not able to effectively handle the increased volume of guests without creating long delays and limiting your time ashore… Despite our best efforts, we have been unable to come to an acceptable agreement with Belize Port Authority regarding this situation.”
Carnival’s reasoning makes sense to me. I have sailed to Belize twice before, once in 2009 and again in 20010, and I can see where tender operations will become tricky with too many ships. If you haven’t sailed to Belize before, it’s important to know the tender ride from your ship to shore lasts somewhere around 20 minutes, so obviously it’s longer than most other tender ports. Now, Belize has only a couple of tenders (many are very small, some larger – see header image and image above) and with three or fours ships in port – that is going to create a problem. The tenders wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand to go back and forth from the multiple ships.
It all adds up: too many passengers, lengthy tender rides, and a small amount of tenders will create massive delays and ultimately inconvenience the guests visiting Belize. It seems the only real answer for Belize is to have the tender companies expand their fleet, which is obviously difficult, but it seems to be the only way to keep up with the demand.
Anyway, that’s my two cents on the issue.
Photos: Mike Faust