Carnival Corporation has announced plans to increase cruise ship visits to Cozumel, Mexico, with the opening of a third birth to the pier at Puerta Maya.
With an investment of more than $20 million, the all-new “arm” was added to the company’s existing pier to allow three ships to be moored at the terminal at the same time. To mark the occasion, three of the company’s ships – Carnival Breeze, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Triumph – arrived at the pier and became the first trio of ships to use the new three-berth layout. The pier will accommodate any ship across Carnival Corporation’s 10 brands, including its next-generation ships.
Carnival Corporation’s extra capacity with the expanded pier will allow more ships to call on Cozumel. In 2014, about 1.5 million Carnival Corporation guests visited Puerta Maya on 25 different ships originating from eight homeports and two countries across six of the company’s brands, and the company expects this to grow over the years with the added capacity at the port.
While the new berth has been in the planning stages since 2005, work started on the new pier in May 2014. The existing two-berth pier was re-opened in October 2008, following an extensive $50 million reconstruction to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which included destruction of the original pier. The rebuilt two-berth pier and the all-new arm providing a third berth at the pier have been constructed to withstand a threshold category 5 hurricane, in addition to being able to accommodate any ship in Carnival Corporation’s fleet.
The Puerta Maya pier and welcome cruise center is located on the southwestern part of Cozumel, approximately five miles south of San Miguel, the island's largest city. The cruise center houses over 50 different outlets offering apparel, jewelry, artwork and other merchandise from retailers such as Milano Jewelers, Del Sol, Piranha Joe's, Dufry and Diamonds International. The facility also features 15 stand-alone carts where local merchants market colorful handmade crafts, costume jewelry and souvenirs.
In April 2015, the cruise center opened the world’s first underwater oxygen bar. Called Clear Lounge, the 13,000-gallon freestanding aquarium provides guests with a unique 20-minute experience underwater. Guests enter the bar wearing a Sea Trek helmet, a specially designed clear diving helmet, which provides a mixture of oxygen and aromatherapy. Bartenders serve up oxygen-enriched smoothies. The lounge also has an first underwater photo booth, complete with a variety of props, from sunglasses to martini glasses. Guests can play games such as Jenga, write on message boards and target practice with high-powered bubble guns.
On-site dining options within the Puerta Maya complex include the Tres Amigos Bar, a theme restaurant inspired by the 1986 hit movie “Three Amigos” starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short. The waterfront eatery offers traditional Mexican fare, along with an extensive beverage menu.
Also available is Pancho's Backyard, an outpost of the popular downtown Cozumel eatery with ocean views, as well as Fat Tuesday, a waterfront bar offering frozen drinks and light snacks, along with a DJ and dance floor.
The shore excursion pier, separate from the main pier, allows for access to water-bound excursions serving both the mainland of the state of Quintana Roo and island of Cozumel.
Puerta Maya, one of three cruise terminals in Cozumel, is owned by Carnival Corporation. Carnival Corporation operates five additional global ports, including the newly opened Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic; Palacruceros in Barcelona, Spain; Grand Turk Cruise Center in Turks and Caicos Islands; Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras; and Long Beach in California. The company also operates two private island destinations in the Caribbean, Princess Cays and Half Moon Cay.