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Nov 10, 2002, 4:56 PM

Post #1 of 9 (8803 views)



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I think the official website is since they have lots of more concrete information (insurance, taxes, tips, etc..) and prices. I just made my reservations departing from Tampa on December 20th to arrive at Progreso (near Merida), and comming back from Puerto Morelos (45 minutes South of Cancun) on January 1st.

If you're taking your car, you can buy an insurance to go to Mexico -very recommended. A good source is, they have lots of experience, and they will help you to set up a good plan. Not to mention the prices are pretty good!

Jim in Cancun / Moderator

Nov 11, 2002, 3:53 AM

Post #2 of 9 (8645 views)


Article from Orlando Sentinel Nov. 11, 2002

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Ferry trip links Tampa, Mexico

By Arline Bleecker | Sentinel Cruise Correspondent
Posted November 10, 2002

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THE CRUISE REPORT Planning on taking a cruise? Let the Orlando Sentinel and provide tips on getting the most out of your cruise including ways to save time and money. FALL CRUISES Getting ready to cruise the seas? Let the Orlando Sentinel and be your fall cruise guide for:
  • Information
  • Schedule
  • Port information
  • Contacts
  • Sanitation ratings

  • Considering the hassles you encounter and time you waste flying just about anywhere nowadays, a 36-hour ferry trip between Tampa and the Yucatan Peninsula sounds positively warp-speed. Now, the latest attempt to bridge the Gulf is about to become reality.

    The Yucatan Express, a new cruise/ferry service that begins operating this month, introduces a handy option to and from Mexico and it's a cruise, to boot.

    From Nov. 22 through April 2003, Yucatan Express will operate the 1,130-passenger vessel Scotia Prince, which will sail twice weekly between Tampa and Cancun and Merida, Mexico. The ship will leave Tampa on Tuesdays and Fridays, and Mexico on Wednesdays and Sundays.

    And the waterborne vessel doesn't just shuttle passengers. If you're so inclined, you can bring along your car.

    "The Yucatan Express cruise ferry is an entirely new type of vacation product for Florida and Mexico," says Jim Gamble, general manager for Yucatan Express.

    Well, not exactly. Several attempts by other companies to do likewise have failed for a variety of reasons, mostly economic. Meanwhile, the new entrant holds the promise of convenient and relatively inexpensive travel options to and from south of the border:

    You can go along just for the ride at round-trip "passage-only" fares that start at $75. If you prefer to linger longer landside -- say, stay for a night or more in Mexico on your own, then take the ferry back -- extended round-trip fares start at $120.

    Yucatan Express also offers vacation packages that combine round-trip ferry transportation with hotel stays in a wide choice of accommodations in Cancun and the historic colonial city of Merida. Seven-day cruise/hotel packages start at $229; lengthier packages of 11 and 14 days start at $359 and $469, respectively. You also can opt for motor coach tours of the Yucatan.

    A note about prices, though: The ship has 320 cabins, ranging from basic to luxury suites. Starting fares net you category 6 "economy" accommodations (which means washbasin only, no bath or toilet). But cabin upgrades are available. For instance, an extra $25 per person bumps you up to a cabin with lavatory and washbasin, and an extra $75 per person nabs an inside cabin with a sink, toilet and shower. And so on. The steepest cruise-only round-trip rate is $550 per person for a suite.

    Similarly, starting fares for Yucatan Express' cruise/hotel packages will include the most basic hotels.

    Fares are based on double occupancy and don't include port and security charges, meals, taxes or gratuities. Discounts for children and third and fourth passengers are available.

    Aside from providing a welcome contrast to the hassle and bustle of air travel, the Scotia Prince's 36-hour jaunt offers a small, intimate cruise experience. The eight-deck, 485-foot-long ship features a restaurant, Las Vegas-style casino gambling, entertainment and duty-free shopping.

    In addition to shuttling passengers who seek convenient transportation to Mexico, the Scotia Prince can accommodate 220 cars or a combination of vehicles that can include anything from your RV, motorcycle or boat to motor coaches and tractor-trailers. It even hauls freight.

    Ferrying your wheels can give you the freedom to independently explore the attractions and natural beauty of the Yucatan peninsula. Round-trip fares for a standard vehicle start at $298, plus a $7.50 fee each way.

    The company that divined the Tampa-to-Mexico cruise/ferry service, Scotia Prince Cruises, has operated similar service between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, for 33 years. In fact, it uses the same vessel. From May to October the ship resumes its customary New England/Canada circuit. For more information, call 1-866-466-3935.

    Jack Swift

    Nov 11, 2002, 5:55 AM

    Post #3 of 9 (8622 views)


    Re: Putting Puerto Progreso

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      Although the ship already boasts a Las Vegas-style casino, five-star dining and duty-free shopping — similar to big ship ocean cruises — the line will add an outdoor Tiki Bar and Tiki Sundeck area of approximately 2,200 square feet, offering mixed drinks as well as cappuccinos and espressos. A grill area serving light fare, additional areas for sun bathing, a stage for live entertainment, a dance floor and a new sound system will be installed as well. Guests can expect to see a new Jacuzzi area and a partially covered observation deck with lounge and deck chairs. A sundeck with a ‘mini’ bar also is scheduled to be added, as well as a sports area, featuring a golf driving range, computerized golf and other activities.

    Jack Swift

    Nov 11, 2002, 9:34 AM

    Post #4 of 9 (8633 views)


    Re: save your money

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    The Tampa Port Authority also told me that the Yucatan Explorer is scheduled to start operations in approximately January of '03. They will sail year around.

    Jack Swift

    Nov 11, 2002, 9:45 AM

    Post #5 of 9 (8611 views)


    Re: [Jack Swift] save your money

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    Just received a call from "Yucatan Express" peddling their car insurance, the gist though - it's a definite sailing date - for me 11/22 - and the ships still being outfitted and'll be leaving for Florida probably end of the week.

    PS - got my reservations weeks before Yucatan Express even knew they were sailing from:

    Jack Swift

    Nov 11, 2002, 10:00 AM

    Post #6 of 9 (8602 views)


    Re: correction

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    ship is already on its way to Tampa

    that's from my commisioned agent's mouth

    PS - commissions are built into prices and without travel agency support - airline & cruise operators would be sailing single-handed.

    Jacques Godard

    Nov 11, 2002, 10:10 AM

    Post #7 of 9 (8608 views)


    Re: [Jack Swift] save your money

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    In Reply To
    The Tampa Port Authority also told me that the Yucatan Explorer is scheduled to start operations in approximately January of '03. They will sail year around.

    Jacques Godard

    Nov 11, 2002, 12:18 PM

    Post #8 of 9 (8583 views)


    Re: [Jacques Godard] save your money

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    Not sure why my comment didn't show up on my previous post, but that message about the Yucatan Explorer is over two months old. I hope they don't start up this year because it would hamper the chances of Scotia Prince of being able to offer the same service again next year.

    Jack Swift

    Nov 12, 2002, 5:07 AM

    Post #9 of 9 (8557 views)


    Re: [Jacques Godard] Yucatan Explorer

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    Just got notice from Tampa Port Authority

    "We are not currently working with the Yucatan Explorer group."

    Manager of Public Relations
    Lori Rafter
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