There is big news in Belize’s tourism sector today, Carnival Cruise Lines has announced it is scaling back its stops in Belize this year by 14 boats. This is not a huge number considering Belize receives 350 stops per year between all the various cruise ship lines, but it is significant as the first cutting back in stops by a cruise ship line. The tourism sector is worried that more may follow from other companies.
The reason for the decrease in visits is Carnival complains that Belize does not offer enough quality experiences for cruise ship passengers, and that it is enormously expensive for the company and its passengers to do anything in Belize. The tours offered to its guests are actually doing well and passengers do rate them highly, but they are unusually expensive when compared to activities at other destinations. But the main complaint is that for passengers not wanting an expensive tour, Belize City itself just has little to offer and does not live up to the standards experienced at other ports of call. And the government of Belize has failed to act on the numerous complaints and requests by Carnival to upgrade its facilities, primarily by building a real docking facility rather than relying on expensive shuttle boats to transport guests to land.
Additionally, Norwegian Cruise Lines, one the biggest companies that stop in Belize, will soon have their own private port of call facility ready at Harvest Caye in southern Belize. This will further cut back on the number of ships stopping at Belize City, and will greatly affect the tourism commerce in this area.