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#251076 - 08 July 16 8:57 am - America/Chicago Ferry service update
JohnP Offline

**

Registered: 26 August 11
Posts: 726
Loc: Michigan / Sittee River
Yea I know we have been hearing this for years. But lets hope this time it happens. Here is an update from United Caribean Lines webs site.

Service update from United Caribbean Lines

Cuba Ferry Service Status:

As of May 15 2016

We know everyone is waiting patiently for the start of ferry service from Florida to Cuba. Upon receiving approval from the US government in early May 2015, we had hoped to be able to start the service before the end of 2015. There are so many logistical issues in providing this service in a safe and secure manner on both the US side and the Cuban side that it is simply taking a lot longer to put everything in place than anyone originally had expected. This holds true for any company that has expressed interest, publicly or otherwise, in establishing ferry service to Cuba from the US. The main problem is that this service has not existed for over 50 years and the infrastructure required to handle the traffic is not in place. The US and Cuban governments are working towards this end and will be successful but it will take a bit of time. All of us at UCL will continue to work closely with the Cuban and American authorities to implement this service as soon as practical. I get asked all the time "when will the ferry begin?". My hope is we will find a way to get this started before the end of 2016. However, if you are planning travel to Cuba during the remainder of 2016 I would not count on any ferry service from any company being in place from Florida during that time frame. If you stay on Facebook often we will keep you updated. We will be sure to post the latest information on our website as the schedules are confirmed. Those of you that have signed up for our emails on this website will be the first to receive the information concerning the start of the ferry service to Cuba directly in your email account. We fully expect that the ferry to Cuba from Florida will begin no later than 2017 if not before.

Mexico Ferry Service Status:

Yucatan Mexico Ferry Service Status: For all my friends who have been so patient in waiting for the return of ferry service from Florida to the Yucatan, I have been working on this for quite some time and on several occasions thought we were ready to start. We have not given up and while it's been very disappointing to not be started already, there are signs that we still can get this going by the Spring of 2017. The peak season for all the snowbirds who go to Mexico for the winter is the fall for southbound trips and the spring northbound. Hopefully we will be able to get started for the peak Spring season in 2017. Keep close to the website for the latest updates. We will post them on Facebook as well.

Thank you - we all look forward to putting these services in place as soon as possible.

Sail with us to meet and experience the people and culture of Cuba, America's neighbor.

United Caribbean Lines expects to begin Ferry Service between Cuba and Florida starting late 2016 or early 2017 depending on when the approval of the Cuban Government is received.

Future service from Florida to Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is planned to begin Spring 2017.

Be sure to fill out our contact form to receive updates on this exciting new vacation opportunity.

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#251085 - 10 July 16 10:57 am - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
GZboat Offline

**

Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2435
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
We can only hope, but I won't hold my breath. I see an awful lot of "we plan", "we hope", and "we expect" in that press release. That's the same language they have always used and so far they have produced nothing concrete. I am very concerned that they admit they will completely miss the fall peak season for southbound trips to the Yucatan. Which means, of course, that their spring peak season would be weak at best. I can't imagine a serious business allowing that situation to occur. If a real cruise company couldn't commence service for the fall peak season of 2016, I'd think they'd skip the spring return season (because they'd have few returning customers), save themselves the expenses, and start up for the fall 2017 season. Florida, because of it's lax regulatory environment, has become a haven for unscrupulous and outright fraudulent companies that function only to suck up investor monies and spend them on outlandish corporate officers' salaries (thank you Governor Rick "Guacamole" Scott, facilitator of the pea-soup toxic algae sludge currently fouling south Florida beaches). United Caribbean Lines is beginning to look like one of "those' companies, but I hope I'm wrong. I'd love to see a ferry service to the Yucatan in my lifetime, but I wouldn't bet on UCL providing it.
Greg

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#251089 - 11 July 16 12:05 pm - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
Dave Bunk Online   embarrased

**

Registered: 02 September 05
Posts: 5152
Loc: Mine Hill NJ
Fairy tales and hopeful dreams never enough cars making that trip to make it financially feasible in my opinion.

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#251090 - 11 July 16 1:30 pm - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
patrocle Online   content

**

Registered: 08 November 02
Posts: 285
Loc: Washington Dc
Well there aren't any cars making that trip right now with no ferry. But there are many Americans who have retired in the Merida area or rent houses for a month or so as well as many people who now rent cars to explore the Yucatan region who would love to bring their own cars, trucks, & vans down. It may not be viable year round but I think that there would be plenty of demand in the winter months. I know I would do it in a heartbeat.

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#251092 - 12 July 16 9:38 am - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
GZboat Offline

**

Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2435
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
It was always my impression that the Yucatan ferry service would be seasonal. The prior one, the Yucatan Express that operated out of Tampa for one year, certainly was. May to November the ship ran from Maine to Nova Scotia. November to May, Tampa to Progresso and sometimes Puerto Morelos. Since Cuba tourism (after the initial rush) would tend to be seasonal too (who wants to vacation in the tropics during hurricane season?), a large national ferry operator, with popular summertime routes elsewhere, would be the best choice to actually provide the service and succeed financially. They'd definitely be a better bet than some fly-by-night Florida company with no ships and no track record.
Greg

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#251096 - 13 July 16 12:46 pm - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
Dave Bunk Online   embarrased

**

Registered: 02 September 05
Posts: 5152
Loc: Mine Hill NJ
A ferry has been tried before. The “Yucatan Express,” connected Progreso with Tampa in 2003. It was a a 36-hour ride each way on a vessel that was smaller and more modest than a cruise ship, reported the St. Petersburg Times. As few as 37 passengers occupied the ferry’s 322 cabins on an early cruise and the venture lost millions of dollars.

This is why it is not economically feasible and in 2003 the economy was in much better condition than iyt is now

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#251097 - 13 July 16 12:51 pm - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
Dave Bunk Online   embarrased

**

Registered: 02 September 05
Posts: 5152
Loc: Mine Hill NJ
Or an international airport in Placencia, do not hold your breath for either one.

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#251102 - 14 July 16 7:12 am - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
patrocle Online   content

**

Registered: 08 November 02
Posts: 285
Loc: Washington Dc
It was car ferry service, not a passenger ferry that I was hoping for and that I thought could fill a need.

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#251103 - 14 July 16 8:40 am - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
GZboat Offline

**

Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2435
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
The Yucatan Express was a hybrid cruise ship/vehicle ferry. Because of the length of the trip, it featured cabins, dining rooms and a casino (revenue streams). Here's an article about Scotia Prince Cruises (the Yucatan Express operator):
Scotia Price Cruises
And here's an article about that segment of the cruise ship industry:
Cruiseferry
I believe UCL intends to offer the same sort of service to Mexico. As it is a 36-hour crossing, it would be foolish not to. Cuba could be a different story as the crossing is so short, especially from some south Florida ports (Miami and Key West especially). The fact that this cruise ship type already exists and this type of service already exists makes me believe UCL is an undercapitalized fly-by-night. The business model exists and the ships exist. All that needs to happen is that they are leased and moved here. Tampa and other ports have the facilities. The only two questions are:
1. Do the port facilities exist in Mexico and Cuba? If they don't, stop saying you are starting service soon.
2. Does UCL have the money to lease ships and commence operations? That is a very, very, very good question.
Greg

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#251990 - 17 February 17 10:17 am - America/Chicago Re: Ferry service update [Re: JohnP]
GZboat Offline

**

Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2435
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
Sad news on this front. Carnival and Norwegian are currently booking cruises from Tampa to Havana. Actively booking. Their websites suck, so it's hard to tell when the cruises actually begin, but a local news story last night said Spring/Summer 2017 (that's right, this year). News from our little friend, United Caribbean Lines? De nada. In fact, their website hasn't been updated since May of last year. I am afraid there is no hope of a Tampa/Cancun ferry operated by those folks. I only hope they didn't clean out the bank accounts of some well-meaning investors (always a concern with fly-by-night, Florida-based companies).
Greg

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