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Mexico outlines port improvements


Puerto Vallarta on Wednesday welcomed the first ship, Holland America Line’s Oosterdam, to its new 984-foot pier. Also opening was Pier 3, which is 780 feet but will be expanded to 984 feet next year, said Astrid Castaneda, marketing manager for the port.

The same day, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Pride docked at Pier 1, making it the first simultaneous docking of two cruise ships at Puerto Vallarta.

The event was heralded at the Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami Beach during a press conference held by the Mexico Tourism Board that provided an update on the country’s cruise ports.

Also at the press conference, Mazatlán announced it is building another 300-meter pier for scheduled completion in summer 2008. The seaport now can handle three ships at once between both cruise and cargo vessels.

‘Business is increasing so we need to expand,’ said Alfonso Gil Diaz, director general of the Mazatlán port. A fifth pier is on the drawing board for completion in 2010, he said.

Mazatlán also is expanding its terminal to ease a bottleneck of disembarking passengers leaving to explore the town on foot or by taxi. It is hoped to be completed in September in time for the busy winter season.

The news conference also revealed that the Port of Progreso invested $70m in infrastructure improvements, including the dredging of the navigation curve for more safety. Progreso expects to welcome its 1 millionth cruise passenger within the next two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority of Guaymas is formalizing a project earlier reported here to become a destination on the Sea of Cortez. The port plans to build a cruise terminal by year’s end along with a marina complex in the historic downtown that will include 1,000 dock spaces, a fishing club, recreational areas, cultural centers, parks, hotels, restaurants and other services.

The port wants to receive ships of up to 300 meters and has a commitment for its first-ever arrival, by The World of ResidenSea, in March 2009. Port officials also are talking to other cruise lines about calling in the region known for colonial and indigenous heritage as well as a biological reserve with 359 species.

And Puerto Costa Maya, the second most popular port in Mexico, unveiled a new logo and website at www.costamaya-mexico.com. The logo features a yellow and orange sunburst and the words ‘The Land of Adventure.’ It is designed to reflect Costa Maya’s future growth from a cruise port to a full tourism destination with boutique hotels. The development will be environmentally friendly with hotels no more than three stories high and a maximum of 10,000 total guest rooms.

Costa Maya officials plan to promote the region’s natural beauty and Mayan history to adventure travelers, including divers, as the area boasts the second largest coral reef system in the world.