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Progreso merchants not seeing benefit of cruise calls

by Yucatan Times

Entering Progreso on Wednesday April 20th, I was interested to see two cruise ships at the end of the pier, and expected to see good size crowds enjoying the town and its facilities.

I approached the malecón a few blocks away from Calle 80, and was surprised to see no one on the street, the beach, or in the restaurants and palapas. Walking west, the foot traffic increased slightly, however even at the intersection with Calle 80, the heart of the tourist area, there were not many people to be seen.

There was a moderate crowd at Eladio’s and a similar moderate number at Los Henequenes. Beyond that though, I was wondering “where is everyone”?


The ships were the Carnival Liberty, carrying 3,376 mainly US passengers, and the P&O Oriana, with 2,000 mainly British passengers. Apparently the vast majority chose to purchase tours onboard the ships, which took them to the archaeological sites, and to the city of Mérida.

Merchants in Progreso had anticipated an influx of at least 2,000 passengers to the town, however reported no more than 500 ever appeared on the streets, a very disappointing result for the shops, bars, and restaurants.


Progreso, Yuc. (Photo: Google)

It’s been alleged before that the cruise lines use the “Mexico is dangerous” line with their passengers in order to sell organized tours (at great profit to themselves of course) and to discourage passengers from making their own way into the port towns. Wednesday in Progreso would seem to support that allegation.

by Stewart Mandy

Questions or comments? Join the discussion below, or send an email to [email protected]


Stewart Mandy
Freelance Journalist and Writer


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Rob T April 24, 2016 - 7:38 am

Feedback from cruise passengers would suggest that Progresso needs to make some changes if it wants to keep the cruise passengers there. Cleaner streets, garbage pickup, paint, dealing with derelict buildings, a local small business association, etc.

Rafael Martinez April 24, 2016 - 12:39 pm

Progreso wants business buy does little to tackle it’s dirty streets, trash, packs of sick stray dogs leaving excrement all over public walkways, etc. The image people get visiting Progreso is not to return.

Cheryl C April 24, 2016 - 7:00 pm

We talk on a regular basis to passengers that are off the ship. They say the ship tells them it is not safe, that they should do tours here.
They definitely have negative remarks about the smells and dirty streets here.

Jay S April 26, 2016 - 6:32 pm

Went to Progresso out of Houston a few months ago and it was quite a dissapointment. Our cruise trip to Merida was canceled due to a visit into town from the Cuban President, so we decided to just explore Progresso.

Took an open air bus tour which was nice and not too long. Then went to a nice beach restaurant, and unfortunately that was the problem. No less then 20 or 30 walking vendors hasseled us from the minute we sat down. They were selling clothes, massages, souvendiers, and you name it.

Our waiter I wished had warned us and we would have ate inside. Maybe that would have been more peaceful.

Couldnt wait to get back on the ship. That said, some day, I think Progresso could be nice if they cleaned up the place.

Sharon B September 9, 2017 - 4:10 pm

This is a problem in a lot of ports in Mexico and the Caribbean and also in Europe. I understand the situation, but it does get very tiring after a while. Every port has the same cheap crap, only difference is the name of the port written on the item.
Many passengers have been on dozens of cruises and are returning for the 5th or more time to a port. Someone has promised these people they will make a living off cruise ship passengers and it is just not true.
I have tried to visit Progresso on a ship only to have the port cancelled…one time I was set to fly there with Delta, and a few weeks before my trip they cancelled the route. Someday I may get there…but currently I am exploring S America as I can, Mexico has gotten a little tired…having said that I will spend Christmas this year on the Riviera Maya,which is a total tourist trap..


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