Editor’s Note: The results of the latest ferry questionnaire are in, and it seems that the promise of the ferry service between Yucatan and the USA might become a reality in 2015. Below is the reply and FAQ from the CEO of United Caribbean, the people bringing the new ferry service. And below that, the questionnaire that was sent out two years ago.
In early 2014, the investors in this project again asked for input and were happy to get over 2000 responses. Below are some of the questions that were posed and the answers from the head of United Caribbean. One very large remaining question is the US port and Yucatan port. United Caribbean is still in negotiations with the ports and is therefore not able to declare the ports at this time. As soon as the ports and confirmed, we will update you with that information.
Here’s Bruce Nierenberg, Chairman and CEO of United Caribbean:
We will have a nice introductory offer for our first time users when we start. We will also have discounts, which will be based on seasonality and time of travel. We intend to make it possible for those customers who use the ferry regularly to get the best prices, best discounts and the most benefits.
I will make sure that people who responded to our questionnaire or who send me their email addresses now will receive the introductory offers first as an appreciation for their help with the surveys. We hope to be ready to begin bookings in October 2014 for April trips. Those offers will include upgrades, special rates on cars and goodies on board.
We expect the round trip fare for the ferry, including a cabin and all food and entertainment on board, to start at $350 USD per round trip. Cars will probably cost $95 USD one way. Again, frequent users will pay lower rates. We have even discussed the idea of super special rates by buying ticket books in advance that will provide the lowest possible rates, guaranteed space on certain dates, and the lowest car rates.
Most Frequently Asked Questions:
- 1. Can we bring small pets? Yes.
- 2. Can I bring extra stuff for my residence in Mexico other than luggage and what fits in my car? Yes. We will have special personal cargo bins that can hold up to 1000 lbs, including bulky items like bedding, appliances, even a refrigerator. We will rent the bins one way for $95 USD.
- 3. Can I bring an RV? Yes.
- 4. Motorcycles? Yes.
- 5. Small boats? Yes.
- 6. When will the web site be up? It is already being prepared. We will have a preliminary site up by the end of August that will have show schedules and prices. We will send out an email to everyone when the site is ready.
- 7. When will bookings start? Our target is October 2014.
- 8. When will first voyage be? Our target is April 2015.
- 9. Will this be a year-round service ? Yes. We are planning 2 round trips per week between the U.S. And the Yucatan, 52 weeks a year.
- 10. How will we be able to book? Online thru the website, and through major online travel sellers like Expedia, Orbitz, etc.
For more information or to get on the mailing list, you can contact:
United Caribbean Lines
1369 Lexington Ave.
Davenport (Orlando) Fl. 33837
The Ferry Questionnaire 2012
The past year has not brought a lot of forward momentum with the ferry project in spite of the interest of three different ferry companies and many false start dates. The scandals which precipitated personnel changes at the Progreso Port Authority certainly didn’t help the situation. However, things have been happening behind the scenes and from what I understand a number of feasibility studies have been done in the Tampa area showing the ferry project is viable. So far, the inability to complete a feasibility study within the expatriate community continues to be a stumbling block, especially with investors.
Hopefully, we have learned from the mistakes of the previous ferry services in the area and responses from the previous expat surveys, and we have modified the original plans. Super high speed ferries are now being considered to shorten the crossing times. Other ideas include frequent user plans, and even free vehicle bonuses. A year round weekly crossing schedule with frequency based on use patterns and peak seasons is also being considered. As this service will take some years to become profitable, investor backing will be the key to success.
We know many of you have already completed one or both of the previous surveys but United Caribbean Lines is asking for your input once again. The results will directly influence investors and the more responses the better. Please forward this email and ask everyone you know who may travel this direction to answer the questions and forward their responses to United Caribbean Lines. If you have access to expatriate websites, blogs or travel groups, please have all your members respond and forward the questions on to any other websites and blogs you use anywhere in Central America. Even if you have no interest in using the ferry service please respond. We need to establish how many expats live in the Yucatan and Central America.
If you are comfortable letting UCL know how to reach you, they would like to extend some special courtesies, goodies, discounts and upgrades for helping them, when the ferry service begins. Just put your email address and mailing address in Central America on your answers to the questionnaire so UCL can reach you with the offers when they get started.
Please copy the following questions with your answers in an email and send your responses as soon as possible to Bruce Nierenburg at United Caribbean Lines.
Questionnaire for Expats living in Central America for new Ferry Service of United Caribbean Lines
- Where in Central America is your current home?
- How many family members reside in your Central American home?
- Do you maintain a second home in the U.S. or Canada?
- When you travel to go to the U.S or Canada to visit friends family etc. What is your destination?
- How many times a year do you make this trip?
- If you have more than one place you travel to in the U.S or Canada please list those additional destinations
- How often do you travel to these secondary destinations each calendar year?
- When you go do you drive or fly? If both what is the approx. % for each?
- Do you have pets? Do you take them when you return to the U.S or Canada?
- When you return to the U.S. or Canada do you shop for supplies etc. For your home in Central America?
- When you travel from your home in Central America to the U.S. or Canada are there times of the year you do most of the travel? If so, when?
- Do friends and family come to Central America each year to visit you? If so how often?
- Do you own an RV in Central America?
- Would you take it on the ferry?
- What would be the most important reasons you would take the ferry to Florida?
Please number the following reasons in order of importance for using the ferry. Number 1 is the most important and Number 10 is the least.
- Go back to other homes in U.S. and or Canada ____
- Visit family and friends ____
- Shopping ____
- Vacationing in Florida ____
- I can take my car or RV ___
- Go to Florida to use airports for further travel ___
- Go to Florida to get on a cruise ____
- Just to get away for a short trip ____
- Travel for medical purposes ___
- Other ( please name ) ______
Additional comments or things you would like us to know to help serve you better with our new ferry service:
Your Name and address in Central America:
Your email address:
Thank you from all of us at United Caribbean Lines