Tampa to Mexico Ferry Steaming Ahead

January 31, 2012

In November, we wrote about the planned Tampa, FL to Mexico ferry service. All indications point to the fact that the ferry service is moving closer to becoming a reality. Por Esto!, the main daily paper in the region, reported today that the permits to add facilities to accommodate an international ferry service in the port of Calica, just south of Playa del Carmen, have been filed. If everything goes well, the article goes on to say, the ferry could be in service early as June/July 2012 in early summer 2014 October 2014 (updated 3/6/14).

Knowing how long these type of projects take in Mexico, a June/July completion date is likely aggressive. But, this is exciting news nonetheless. Each year in Cozumel, we get lots of visitors who make the car trip down the coast of Mexico from the US or Canada. A ferry service that can get these visitors, and their car/pets/belongings, here in 1/2 the time that the overland trip takes, would be oh so convenient.

Not to the mention of course the convenience of being able to travel back to the US/Canada for the thousands of expats who make this region of Mexico home.

Update 3/16/12: The Tampa Bay Business Journal is reporting that the ferry service will be delayed until early 2013. We’ll see if it ever happens now.

Update 5/10/12: We’re on an email update list for news about the ferry. Below is text from the most recent email. It contains some good info about recent developments.

“The past year has not brought a lot of forward momentum with the ferry project in spite of the interest of three different ferry companies and many false start dates.  The scandals which precipitated personnel changes at the Progreso Port Authority certainly didn’t help the situation either, however, things have been happening behind the scenes and from what I understand a number of feasibility studies have been done in the Tampa area showing the ferry project is viable but the inability to do a feasibility study within the expatriate community continues to be a stumbling block especially with investors.

Having learned from the mistakes of the previous ferry services in the area and responses from the previous expat surveys, the original plans have been modified.  Super high speed ferries are now being considered to shorten the crossing time, frequent user plans, and even free vehicle bonuses are being considered.  A year round weekly crossing schedule with frequency based on use patterns and peak seasons will be offered.  As this service will take some years to become profitable investor backing will be the key to success.

The past year has not brought a lot of forward momentum with the ferry project in spite of the interest of three different ferry companies and many false start dates.  The scandals which precipitated personnel changes at the Progreso Port Authority certainly didn’t help the situation either, however, things have been happening behind the scenes and from what I understand a number of feasibility studies have been done in the Tampa area showing the ferry project is viable but the inability to do a feasibility study within the expatriate community continues to be a stumbling block especially with investors.

Having learned from the mistakes of the previous ferry services in the area and responses from the previous expat surveys, the original plans have been modified.  Super high speed ferries are now being considered to shorten the crossing time, frequent user plans, and even free vehicle bonuses are being considered.  A year round weekly crossing schedule with frequency based on use patterns and peak seasons will be offered.  As this service will take some years to become profitable investor backing will be the key to success.

Update 1/14/13: 

Earlier today, we spoke with Bruce Nierenberg, CEO of United Caribbean Lines. Here’s what he said about the progress of the ferry:

“Project still very much alive. We had hoped to be announcing our start date in specific by now but we have had a few delays. We are still shooting for the last months of 2013 to have the first voyage…”

Bruce went on to say:

“The ex-pats will be our best customers and we intend to make them feel very much at home with the best prices and favorable arrangements to make it an enjoyable and affordable experience.

We will have multiple trip discounts and specials on transporting cars and RV’s as well as specials for family members who are coming to visit ex pats at their Yucatan homes.

We know who our most important customers will be…the ex-pats.”

At lease the project is still alive, despite the delayed start date!

Update 3/11/13: 

Earlier today, we received an email from Bruce Nierenberg, CEO of United Caribbean Lines. Here’s what he said about the progress of the ferry:

Its taken much longer than I had hoped it would as a result of many thing International that are out of my control. But I feel we are getting to the finish line and will be establishing the start date  soon.
I know you all plan as far in advance as possible so while I wont have the start date for awhile let me give you and your friends down there some info as to what they should be planning.
1. The ferry will not start until 2014.
2. It is being targeted for a winter start hopefully by February.
If you all are planning to travel I would not delay any other travel arrangements in any way before these dates… We also will have some special rates and deals for all of you that have been so patient.
You and your friends who live in the Yucatan and Q.R. will be our most important customers and be assured we will treat you all as special guests everyone you sail with us. We will have special rates for all of you that go frequently that will significantly reduce the cost of travel and of course make it safer as well. I know you will all miss going to the airport to be abused!!
Thanks again for being so helpful and patient. Feel free to share this info with you associates in the Yucatan and Q.R.

 

Update 11/17/13: 

 

Earlier today, we received another update from Bruce Nierenberg, CEO of United Caribbean Lines. Here’s what he said about the progress of the ferry:

 

We are still chugging ahead on the task of getting this new service up and running. We are still targeting the summer of 2014 October 2014 (updated 3/6/14) for a start date.
I am in the middle of the acquisition of ships for our various cruise/ferry services and one of them will be used in the service from Tampa Florida to the Yucatan.
We still plan for the ship to hold a minimum of 1000 passengers and probably closer to 2000. It will carry cars, RV’s, containers and even passenger cargo bins that the seasonal residents of the Yucatan coming from North America can use at a very low lost to bring their larger personal items that will not fit into their personal vehicles. Bedding, furniture, electronics etc. All will be a lot easier now to bring.
So with a little more patience I hope to have some very positive results and announcements to make to all our loyal followers for this new service.

 

If you wish to be added to our VIP information list so that you’ll be the first to know about the ferry when plans are finalized, please leave a comment below.

{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Woodhams January 27, 2014 at 7:10 pm

I’m in! We have driven thus several times from Georgia. Taking thus ferry will save lots of time. Keep me posted! I will be booking it as soon as 8th available!

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MOISES January 27, 2014 at 9:41 pm

ALL MY FAMILY IS FROM CANCUN MEXICO SO IM JUST WAITING FOR THIS TO GET STRATED SO CAN TRAVEL BACK AND FORTH TO SEE FAMILY!! ADD ME TO THE LIST PLEASE FOR UPDATES

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J January 28, 2014 at 8:56 am

Please add me, we’re being deported from the USA in April and are really hoping to catch this ferry by then.

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Bernard February 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm

We’re very excited to see this ferry service start. As a tour operator, we run several overland expeditions from the USA thru Mexico into Belize and Guatemala. Having the opportunity to take a ferry will save a tremendous amount of time by not having to drive thru the USA and will get our clients to the Yucatan and beyond quickly. We’re looking forward to hearing that this is going to happen soon and we will be your first customers.

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Kent Fast February 6, 2014 at 7:16 am

Please keep us posted.
Kent Fast
Tampa, Florida

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robin nord February 6, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Please let me know when the ferry service starts our panned destination is chetumal.

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andre girard February 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm

i would like to ship my car in mexico during the summer is there any fresh news about the ferry.. Thank you

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Tony February 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Count me in

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Merilyn February 12, 2014 at 9:22 am

Please keep me posted. Thank you.

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julie clairin February 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm

We have been waiting for years, always sounds like it’s going to happen. Hope this is true, will be great(:

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Andrea Cucina February 15, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Yes, I too would like to take my car to Florida and not have to drive through northern Mexico…Please keep me posted

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Laurie February 23, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Please add me to your VIP information list – look forward to good news soon!

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Rita February 24, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Please keep me posted as to the ferry service

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jennifer griffin March 2, 2014 at 10:04 am

Interested! We take the ferry to bahamas but really want to go back to cozumel for an extended stay!

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Michael Mitchell March 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm

I took the ferry to Merida way back when and have been waiting for it’s resumption ever since.
I drove down twice and hate the crooked city cops.

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Samantha Swan March 4, 2014 at 6:27 pm

I’d love to use the ferry to drive down with pets and save a few days driving to the Yucatan. I’d happily be added to an update or email list, thank you.

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Mohamed el badaoui March 11, 2014 at 7:13 pm

The truth is somthing we missed for long time it will be good for everybody to Hans this to the people . Thank you

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Anthony March 17, 2014 at 6:06 am

I a m part of a large Adventure bike riding community. A ferry from Florida to South America would be a tremendous help for those of us wanting to do Adventure riding in South America.

Get this ferry going.

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Kristie Whitmore March 19, 2014 at 1:56 am

Please add me to the list

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Jim griffin March 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Please include me in any updates. Would love to
see a ferry. Thanks

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Steven March 21, 2014 at 7:33 am

Would love to take the ferry. Please keep me posted on the updates.

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Russell March 22, 2014 at 1:51 pm

This is a great idea. Keep us posted.

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Jacqueline Szorady March 22, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I have been wintering in the Yucatan for 17 years and intend to continue.
I would most certainly use your service , my winter guests would likewise use your sercices.
Jacquie

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Peggy Bowes March 23, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Please add us to your e-mil list. We would love to take the ferry next November.

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Paul March 24, 2014 at 6:58 am

I would use this service In Jan and March/Apr.

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Merida Mikey March 25, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Please keep me ‘posted on this “Ferry” tale! :-)

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Ed April 15, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Keep me posted please!

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Patricia Scruggs April 18, 2014 at 10:15 am

Please add me to the list. Tennesse to Tampa is not that far!

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Goordon April 23, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Is there a phone number and talk to someone regarding this event we will be driving from New Brunswick to Tampa and hope that this will happen someone can e-mail me gordon.flynn@yahoo.ca

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ronald sitar April 28, 2014 at 2:27 pm

will be among the first for the ferry .have house in costa maya will be able to come down for a few weeks at a time. drive is to long can’t weight for it

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James Mann April 30, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Yes please add me to your VIP update list & keep me in the “ferry” take loop!

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Jared Lopez April 30, 2014 at 9:32 pm

My sister and her husband are stationed in Belize, My brother and I want to visit them. This service would allow us to take our motorbikes and enjoy a ride in central America. Thank you for the opportunity, and keep a spot open for 2 people and 2 motorbikes. Lopez bros.

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John-P May 4, 2014 at 9:42 am

I drive down and back to Belize every winter from Michigan. This would be awesome, it would probably save me 2 to 3 days

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Ron May 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm

I’m ready for it would like to be on first sailing, keep me posted to when and where to book.

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Rob May 26, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Please hit me up as soon as this dream becomes a reality!

Thanks!

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Larry May 27, 2014 at 10:13 pm

Put me on the list. I hope that this is up and running by October 2014.

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Nicole Vanderwolf June 2, 2014 at 8:14 am

Please add my name to the list. My parents live in Costa Maya and we are very interested in utilizing the ferry! Thanks!

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tona klein June 8, 2014 at 9:43 am

I want to be there in october

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TAMMY June 17, 2014 at 9:39 am

I am very excited about the Tampa to Progreso Ferry Service.
Please let me know when Ferry Services will begin ASAP!!!

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Joe Delecki June 19, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Keep me informed
Thanks!

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Rebecca June 29, 2014 at 11:42 am

I just posted on the other entry, but in case this is the one you all check, please keep me posted. Thank you!!!

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Wanda Williams July 18, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Please keep ME in the loop. Planning to use the route as alternative to driving thru Mexico to Placencia, Belize and back to U.S. in my car – DANGEROUS! Let me know if I can be a part of this; who do I contact for opportunities? Most exciting news since the paving of roads… What is most recent timeline estimate? Thanks, Wanda

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Dawn Strickland July 22, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Please keep me in the loop! I did hear that Gulfport could be the U.S. Port instead of Tampa, but I’d like to suggest both….start in Gulfport and pick up some in Tampa before heading to Calica. That’s our desire for easier travel to/from East Coast and Belize.

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Jim Gildersleeve July 31, 2014 at 11:37 am

This has been a pipe dream on for the almost 11 years I have been here (Chelem) in Mexico!
Maybe you should try working with the Mexican government to get one going.
Because all you’re doing now is just blowing smoke up our asses!

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