Closed since being damaged by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Carnival Corporation's pier at Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico will officially re-open when the 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy and 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy dock at the facility on Thursday, Oct. 16. Representing an investment of more than $50 million, the new two-berth pier has been specifically constructed to withstand a threshold category 5 hurricane and can accommodate any ship among Carnival Corporation's various cruise brands. The Oct. 16 calls by the Carnival Fantasy and Carnival Ecstasy will be the first of 550 scheduled cruise ship visits at Puerta Maya over the next year. In addition to calling at Puerta Maya, vessels from Carnival Corporation brands will continue to utilize the other two piers in Cozumel. Collectively, these ships will bring an estimated 1.5 million visitors annually to Cozumel, who are expected to spend $126 million on the island each year.
In addition to the newly rebuilt pier, Puerta Maya's nine-acre cruise center, which features a wide variety of shops and restaurants, will also re-open, along with a four-acre transportation hub capable of accommodating dozens of taxis and tour buses. Four rental car facilities will be available, as well. Puerta Maya's expansive cruise center houses 42 different outlets offering apparel, fine jewelry, artwork and other merchandise from such recognizable retailers as Goodmark 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.
On-site dining options in the Puerta Maya complex include the Tres Amigos Bar, a new theme restaurant inspired by the 1986 hit movie starring Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, and Martin Short. The waterfront eatery, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, offers traditional Mexican fare, along with an extensive beverage menu. Also featured is Pancho's Backyard, a new franchise from the popular downtown Cozumel eatery featuring magnificent ocean views, as well as Fat Tuesday, a waterfront bar offering frozen drinks and light snacks, along with a DJ and dance floor. Other retail outlets at Puerta Maya include a pharmacy, convenience store, and international pay phones. There is also a newly constructed shore excursion pier, separate from the main pier, which allows for quick and convenient access to all water-bound excursions, as well as water-based transportation to and from the facility.
The Puerta Maya pier and cruise center is located on the southwestern part of Cozumel, approximately five miles south of San Miguel, the island's largest city. Before you go, check out CruiseDiva.com for Things to See & Do in Cozumel.