Royal Caribbean Ship Changes Itinerary for Unusual Reason

Voyager of the Seas won't be calling on Progreso because the cruise ship is too big for the world's longest cruise pier. Why is that?

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Royal Caribbean International has contacted guests booked aboard Voyager of the Seas about an itinerary change due to the ship’s size, removing a visit to Progreso, Mexico and instead replacing it with an overnight call to Cozumel. While just one itinerary has been confirmed as changed, it is likely this change may impact more sailings for the ship.

Voyager of the Seas Mexican Itinerary Changed

Guests booked on the February 5, 2024 sailing of Voyager of the Seas – a 5-night Western Caribbean sailing from Galveston, Texas – have been notified that their itinerary has been altered.

The original itinerary called for the ship to set sail on Monday, February 5, spend one day at sea, enjoy a port visit to Progreso on the Yucatan peninsula on Wednesday, enjoy Thursday in Cozumel, and then spend another day at sea before arriving back in Galveston on Saturday, February 10.

Now, guests have been informed that the call in Progreso will not be happening. “Unfortunately, Yucatan (Progreso) is unable to accommodate a ship of our size. We’ll now have an overnight stay in Cozumel instead,” the email read.

Voyager of the Seas Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

The original call on Cozumel was to have been on February 8 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but now the ship will arrive at the Mexican island at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 7 and will stay docked overnight, leaving at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

This overnight visit gives guests the opportunity to enjoy the vibrant nightlife of the port, as well as additional time for extra shore tours or shopping if desired.

Not all guests will be pleased with the change, however, because while the overnight call offers much more time in Cozumel, many of those hours are not the best. Longer shore tours to the Mexican mainland will not run in the evening hours, and not all guests will be interested in or comfortable with exploring off the ship later in the evening.

The earlier departure on Thursday – 4 p.m. instead of the original 6 p.m. – will also mean that longer excursions must depart earlier in the morning than originally planned in order to return to the ship on time.

Multiple Cruises Likely Impacted

Because the reason given for the itinerary change is that the port “is unable to accommodate a ship of our size,” it is possible that more than just the February 5, 2024, sailing may be impacted.

Voyager of the Seas will be homeported in Galveston from May 9, 2023, through April 30, 2024, offering 4-5 night Western Caribbean sailings, with the occasional 6-night sailing also on her upcoming schedule.

Most of the ship’s cruises, however, are not scheduled to call on Progreso. Instead, the 4-night itineraries only visit Cozumel, while the 5-night cruises also include Costa Maya.

Two other sailing dates have originally been planned to include Progreso: November 13, 2023, and November 27, 2023. Those itineraries may also be altered due to the restrictions in Progreso.

Does Ship Size Matter?

Voyager of the Seas is the first in Royal Caribbean’s Voyager class of ships, weighing in at 138,194 gross tons and with a capacity to welcome 3,114 guests at double occupancy, and as many as 3,840 guests when fully booked with all berths filled.

While this may seem like a large ship, the vessel is actually on the smaller end of the mid-sized range in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, which includes the largest ships in the world – the Oasis-class vessels – as well as the upcoming Icon of the Seas, which has been announced as even larger.

Voyager of the Seas Cruise Ship
Voyager of the Seas Cruise Ship

Progreso, on the northwest coast of the Yucatan peninsula, is a popular port of call and offers one of the longest cruise ship piers in the world, measuring 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) long.

At that length, the pier can accommodate even the largest cruise ships in the world, docking several vessels at once. So why is Voyager of the Seas changing the February 5, 2024 itinerary because the port “is unable to accommodate a ship of our size”?

The pier’s length isn’t the primary concern – it is the depth of the surrounding waters that also determines how safe it is for a larger vessel to dock. Most cruise ships visiting Progreso dock at the end of the pier and use free shuttle buses to transport guests to the town.

Larger vessels require deeper water to safely maneuver and dock, particularly when changing tides for a longer port of call visit are taken into account. Anchorage depth at Progreso is just 23-30 feet (7.1-9.1 meters). In comparison, anchorage depth at Cozumel is 36-40 feet (11-12.2 meters).

Voyager of the Seas and her sister ship, Adventure of the Seas, are the largest ships scheduled to make calls on Progreso in the next year. Guests booked on either ship, or any other large vessel scheduled to visit Progreso, should stay in close contact with their cruise line for possible itinerary changes and updates.

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