Cruise Ship Season Begins in Roatán

The season for Roatán cruise ship visits started this week with the arrival November 6th of the Carnival cruise liners “Liberty” and “Magic” to Honduras.

The cruise ship season runs through April of 2014, and brings visitors looking to enjoy the beautiful beaches and other attractions the Bay Islands offer.

Roatan - Mahogany Beach Entrance

Roatán – Mahogany Beach Entrance

Álvaro Antonio Durón, General Manager of the cruise ports of Roatán, reported that in 2013, their have been 150,000 total cruise passengers, and they expect to have a significant growth in 2014 thanks to the arrival of ships during the offseason.

Next year they expect to receive about 280,000 passengers. “This refers to the calendar year, not the season”, he said.

Roatan's Mahogany Bay Beach

Roatan’s Mahogany Bay Beach

Some 125,870 tourists will arrive in Roatán during the November-April cruise ship season, but according to the Ministry of Tourism, this figure will be low compared with 2012, when there were a total of 130,366 passengers.

This month 16 cruises with a minimum of 2,500 tourists are due to arrive, but in December the rate doubles with 30 vessels, of which arrive on an average of two per day.

The Mahogany Bay Cruise Center is where most of the visitors are expected to arrive. Duron said that each cruise is parked for about eight hours, “The port has car parking for tour operators and taxis, a commercial center with shops, bars, and restaurants, a business center and a variety of services for tourists.”

The Mayor of Roatán, Julio Galindo, said that, “For every passenger who decides to get off a boat and visit a restaurant, the local economy benefits.”

Magical Flying Beach Chair at Mahogany Bay in Roatan

Magical Flying Beach Chair at Mahogany Bay Cruise Center in Roatán

Winter in North America and Europe compels tourists find destinations in the Caribbean. “They come running from the cold, because during the summer they can go anywhere in the world they want, but the heat is permanent in our area,” Galindo noted.

Although ships arrive from all over the world, they are mostly from the United States, according to Mary Hougans, a tour operator with Roatan Island Tourism. The cruise tour industry is good for their business, she confirmed, as over 100 people at a time book various tours in Roatán while the cruise ship is parked.”

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