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Ferry Yucatan to Florida

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:

Bruce Nierenberg
Chairman CEO
United Caribbean Lines
1369 Lexington Ave.
Davenport (Orlando) Fl. 33837
(321) 427-0332

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 Ferry From Yucatan, Mexico to Florida, United Statesthree 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.

BNIERENBERG [at] AOL [dot] COM

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

—Tamara Magnusson


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86 Responses to “Ferry Yucatan to Florida”

  1. As a former online Marketing specialist, my experience is that you will get far more responses if you make this form easy to fill out online and send to you vs. copying and emailing it to you.

  2. We agree, but we’re just the messenger… if they want an online form, they’ll have to create one and we’ll be happy to link to it.

  3. This survey seems to be directed to those who live in Mexico already. What about those of us who would like to reply, but still live in the US? We would love to use that ferry!

  4. I filled this out. I would really like to use a ferry to bring all my belongings to Merida when I move there!

  5. My wife and I have driven to Merida / Progersso area many times and are quite serious about retireing there. Lately my wife does not want to drive there and I hate to fly. Its to inconvenient and I miss my own PU while there. We have many friends who feel the same and refuse to drive because of the games being played for the first 50 miles south of the border. So we stay stateside or travel elseware

  6. I am from Yucatan. I use to travel there 3 to 4 times a year. I used to drive. Now the northern route has become prohibitive, too risky. The ferry from Florida is the ideal solution. To travel by plane and rent a car there, for the length of time I stay there, it is very expensive. To buy a car there is also very expensive. I am for the ferry.. Francisco Colome

  7. I looked into a ferry service from Florida to Yucatan, using a high speed trimaran that can make the trip in 16 hours, eliminating costly overnight cabins. The manufacturer is Australian. From what I can remember, the boat can carry 600-800 passengers and about 100 cars and trucks. I understood at the time that Fonatur might be interested in supporting such a project, but supported a very slow ferry and a service that went bankrupt within a year. The service should likely be between Naples and Progreso where docking and customs services exist. Those ships are not cheap, but occasionally one comes up as a used sale, and one is all you need.

  8. Tamara Magnusson at United Caribbean Lines may have the right idea but doesn’t have any idea of how to gather needed information or to create a questionnaire. To start with, a ferry service needs business at either end of the trip, something that is not addressed. The other is that Mexico is not in Central America, I hope her captains have a better idea.

  9. I think the ferry would be very beneficial in a multitude of ways.. We are currently gathering information on retiring in Yucatan and the Ferry would certainly be a delight for other travels from Florida or ease in going back to the US for a visit… But that survey isn’t for people like us. That ferry would be another check mark on the positive side of moving to the Yucatan!

  10. I agree with Claus Mohr, above, and I can’t imagine that any investor would part with cash on the strength of the mishmash of anecdotal “evidence” that such an ill-conceived survey would gather. Nevertheless, I wish them luck.

  11. Of course, we all know that Mexico is not part of the “isthmus” called Central America.

  12. This survey is only for those who seem to live in central america. I believe the ferry would be of great benefit to everyone who loves to travel and to those like me, who is looking to retire to Merida for various reasons including travel to and from US and Mexico to visit friends, to bring our vehicle, etc. the list can go on.

  13. We are moving to merida soon and really need this.

  14. I think this is a great idea. I am in Florida and plan to retire in Merida Mexico soon, and would love to be able to bring my vehicle and personal household items, this would be great if the price could be kept reasonable.

  15. My family is from Yucatan. I used to drive to Mexico but I am not willing to drive so many hours any more. I love the ferry idea.
    Many people would use it. We just need to send mass emails to let people know.

  16. I love Merida & would visit there quite often, if there were a ferry. I just moved to the west coast of Florida & the ferry would be very convenient. Input from US residents would be helpful to United Carribbean Lines.

  17. Ferry is a great idea, I would use it to visit family

  18. A survey aimed at people living in the USA who frequently travel to Yucatan for business or pleasure could also be helpful to prospective backers of the ferry service. Please suggest this to United Caribbean Lines.

  19. my wife and i are very interested in this travel option. We would like to reduce our carbon footprint by avoiding air travel wherever possible.
    if you are successful in re-instating this route – Tampa to Progresso, Naples/progresso, whatever, we would like to be on an email list to be notified. We are already booked on flights this coming February – returning mid March – but are already planning for future trips.
    16 hours would be great, but we would be okay with 30 hours as well – a cruise across the gulf would be lovely I imagine…

  20. I should add that we are from Canada and are looking to travel by train to florida from ontario – another interesting trip!

  21. We are very much in favor of the ferry. We moved here for a year starting Nov. 2013 and are returning to the US Nov. 2014 and hope that the ferry is a viable option. We have pets, household goods, and a car. (Hoping that the customs situation has been worked out when passing through Tampa). Additionally, I have many family and friends in the Tampa area that would love to take the ferry over and visit us! Let’s hope you can get the ferry up and running before the end of summer 2014.

  22. Kari, don’t hold your breath. There are many roadblocks to this ferry and even though many of us want it to happen, it doesn’t really look promising.

  23. I tried to use Mr. Nierenberg’s email address but it was rejected by the system. How else can I send in this survey?

  24. Has anyone heard of any other updates regarding the service?

  25. James, the fact that it isn’t working probably means that this idea isn’t being pursued any longer.

  26. Seems as though there is a lot of interest in this ferry happening. What problems exist that are insurmountable? Politics, money (investors), location? Aren’t there enough people that want to see this happen that have resources to invest to get this underway? Or are there people with a lot of resources that do NOT want this to happen? Myself, my family and many of my friends would certainly be repeat customers.

  27. Quisiera saber si esta activo el servicio de ferry de Florida a Yucatan o si es que existe alguna otra línea en la que me pueda trasladar con mi motocicleta?
    Desde ya muchas gracias.
    Pablo

  28. Many people would like to see such a ferry operational, but the current information does not look promising. The picture of the giant ship begs the question of who would fill it. The unitedcaribbeanlines.com website is a holding company at GoDaddy with no corporate or other information. We would love to see a ferry operational but the few thousands of expats would not be likely to provide a sufficient revenue source unless as part of a much bigger cruise operation. Let’s hope that somehow it comes together and listen for some substantive announcements supported by the governor and the relevant authorities. It would be wonderful news!

  29. Friends, family and ourselves would love a Tampa ferry. Would allow us to have a car here (Playa del Carmen) without driving across the border in Texas.

  30. My wife and I maintain a home in Tampa, FL and in Isla Mujeres, Q.Roo. She is retiring this June and we will be spending more time in Mexico but would like to travel back and forth more often since kids and grandkids are in FL. Having made the drive twice and encountered the crooked city cops. I will not do it again but it would be nice to have a car down there.

  31. I got an answer to a text message asking when the ferry was going to start service from Mr. BNIERENBERG saying November 2014! I am beginning to doubt if it will ever start service.

  32. i read somewhere that the ferry itself is the current issue. they are supposedly built in europe and production is delayed or postponed

  33. I am of Mennonite background and was born in Belize. I have been waiting for this to become a reality for about 10 years now. I can tell you if someone starts up a ferry and keeps it running for a year news will spread and you will have lots of Mennonites taking it simply to get to Belize from North America. In fact rumor has it that chartered flights to Cancun had to be cancelled due to too many Mennonites taking these flights simply to get to Cancun in order to take the bus from there to Belize and the touring companies were not getting the benefit of tourist resorts being filled. You could easily see daily usage from Mennonites alone. Due to the dangerous situation in northern Mexico, most don’t risk the drive anymore.

  34. We would spend so much time in Merida if there was a ferry. I hate to fly. Why can’t they bring it back??

  35. I would be one of your first passengers if it ever sails. I have driven from Fort Myers Florida to Progresso and back three times and won’t do it again. Please get it going!

  36. We would be very interested in this ferry, especially if we could bring our dog.

  37. Here’s the thing…..one of the biggest headaches long term visitors (2-6 months) have in the Yucatan is transportation. Renting a vehicle is expensive and inconvenient. Some of us have chosen to drive to the Yucatan but this is a lonnnngggg drive. I am not sure what the numbers of long term visitors are to the area but I would guess it would be in the thousands. If there were a way to get your car to the Yucatan from Canada or the US without having to go the long way around, i.e by ferry, then I am certain most of us would take it. Not to mention all the other US / Canada expats who live in the Yucatan full time and most certainly would take advantage of the quick access to Gringoland. Anyway, all this to say, this should be a “no-brainer”. But please hurry….I am 62 now and don’t want to croak waiting for a ferry service. Thanks for all your efforts.

  38. I have been waiting to move to Merida but refuse to do it until there is a way to safely get there with my son and dogs. I am semi-retired so i want a way that I can use my car to come and go there when I need to return for meetings etc. That would be the only way this would make sense for us. I really do hope that some billionaire finally get this going. I know that it would definitely be a good investment!!!!

  39. I would like to come across the Gulf using the ferry as I would need to travel home to Tulsa to check on the home front and family members. I might like to bring some furnishing from home for the Yucatan home. Using the ferry will make any of this move so much easier. Please let me know if it is a viable plan. My friend Lynette Setzkorn from Tulsa used your service to bring her car to the USA. I am not sure when I want to make this trip. Maybe before the holidays or after. Keep me informed, please.

  40. Has anyone heard anything definite regarding the August date for the Ferry’s opening?

  41. We have not…

  42. We are planning to move early next year. We want to bring car with dog and some personal items. Been watching to see if and when the ferry will begin to make such a move possible.

  43. Bryen, don’t hold your breath :-)

  44. Looking forward to visiting Mexico with many R.V. friends. This would be a dream come true. We travel from Canada to Florida every year for 5 months.

  45. When will it be real? We are all ready for it. It is a necessity!

  46. With the dangers of driving, and the hassles of flying I can’t wait for a ferry service to bring my car back and forth when we go to our home in Yucatan.

  47. Then you will be happy to read our latest update about the ferry service!

  48. They know the rates and schedule without knowing the ports of departure and arrival? Both ends will need passenger-ready customs and immigrations offices with staffing.

    Also, for all the “Yes” answers the ferry line provides, be sure to check with Mexico as to what’s allowed along with customs duties for importing expensive or large items.
    We’ll see……

  49. Would love to see a ferry from New Orleans. I live in Texas, and I think NO is a good compromise for those of us who live west of the Mississippi. I won’t drive to Florida, I’ll fly to Merida first. On a ferry, I’d take deck passage to save $, and spend them when I arrive.
    Does United Caribbean really exist? This sounds a little like vaporware.

  50. Please consider using a survey site such as surveymonkey to to get better results. Yes the ferry would be super convienent to all the expats in the Yucatan. However, would this operation truely be profitable ferrying baby boomer expats for only $350; with a car for $95? Raise the price to a minimum of $1000 so you can sustain your operations and weather the lowns and highs of a global economy for awhile.

  51. A more central US port would be more practical for the majority of travelers.

  52. Would not love to see this. Sure, future ex-pats and retirees could utilize a ferry service for transporting their personal belongings with better ease, however the tremendous impact it could have on the region as more US touring motorists ferry their cars on vacation is a consideration that needs to be taken in account here.

    I don’t see how the company could sustain their operating costs in the first years based on the the proposed introductory passage. In order for it to sustain, it would still have to maintain below standard airfare especially for those relocating say from Florida or Texas. Seems like the costs would have to be passed to those using the ferry for vacationing purposes.

    Attempts of this kind were made in Hawaiian Islands recently, and for reasons mentioned, the locals fought against the proposal and won. Hopefully it remain enforced in as much as this capitol venture carefully considers what it’s selling.

  53. Aloha, we are getting serious about retiring in the Yucatan so a ferry would be a big plus for us, especially to visit the USA for hospital visits etc. It would be easier for family to visit bringing their own car to drive around in. It has so many good things going for it, we hope it will become a reality. Unfortunately the same idea was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands a couple of years ago and sadly to say politics and the ‘Greenies’ got the whole thing shut down, even though they had the support of most people and had the boats built. To this day we don’t have a ferry service between the Islands. In the meantime one airline Company has the monopoly and many locals can’t afford to fly between Islands. We hope a ferry does operate to the Yucatan soon and we can all avoid overpriced airlines making a killing on excess baggage. Mahalo for listening.

  54. My husband and I are planning a move to Merida in January 2015 and would love to make the trip by ferry. We would love to take our car and we have a pet,flying is a pain and driving is out of the question. I am sure if this truly happens they will have more people using it then they can handle. I know we would use it to come back to visit family and friends and I know they would use it when they come to visit us. We think it is a wonderful idea and really hope it happens ASAP !

  55. Great idea! Have homes in Merida and Santa Clara and would love to see this happen.

  56. First of all, list all the reasons why you find the potential ferry beneficial. Secondly, ask yourself why you think it is an attractive option for other travelers. Now, think of as many reasons as you can as to why you enjoy traveling to Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and points beyond. Will making these places more accessible enhance your traveling experience? Do any of you have a negative vision…something like Chichen Itza on acid?

  57. I think this ferry will be the perfect vehicle for transporting my unicorn back and forth from the United States. Seriously, are we really going to go through this ferry charade again? There is no way it is viable, yet we resurrect the prospect of a ferry every year.

  58. How and where can (will) the required paperwork be completed for a foreign plated car to board the ferry for Mexico.

  59. We have a rental property in Merida and whenever we are able to use it ourselves, it requires airfare, usually to Cancun, plus the expense of a rental car. If we stay for 30-45 days, the latter item can be quite costly. Driving our own car to Florida would be much more practical and presumable less expensive. Hope it happens!

  60. This ferry service will be a refreshing change in travel to the Yucatan. I look forward to being one of the first aboard.

  61. As an online Spanish instructor for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee I can bring my laptop and teach from anywhere as long as I have reliable internet access. Our plan is to bring students every June-July from Tampa Bay area to Mérida. A boat ride would be quite the treat vs the boring plane flight to Cancun and then 4 boring hours on the bus. Vámonos! Since Sarasota is a sister city we have many people interested in visiting the Yucatan. We have 35 signed up for our first visit in Jan 2015. Too bad the ferry won’t be ready. Keep me posted. We have lots of interest from this Southwest Florida area. Since Dec 2009 my next trip, (Sept 30 2014) for a Study Abroad Forum in Mérida, this will be my 9th trip.

  62. If and when it is up and running, we will probably take it… but would prefer to leave our car with Mexican plates in a secure parking area in Progreso and then rent a car once we get to Tampa.

  63. I would like to contact Bruce…but you do not list a e mail address for him!

  64. Because he didn’t send one :-) However, I think you can contact Tamara at tamarainprogreso [at] gmail [dot] com, and she is somehow working with him.

  65. Would love to see a ferry between the Gulf Coast and the Yucatan but the U.S. port should be New Orleans or Galveston

  66. I also think that New Orleans would be the better U.S. port. It would draw a lot more customers who don’t wish to drive to, literally, the end of the United States. It’s a better middle compromise, and New Orleans is one of the biggest ports in the U.S., as well as a great place to visit. Thanks.

  67. Hi Bruce,

    I called you this morning from Vancouver, BC.. Sorry to have personally disturbed you – thought I would get a office.

    Anyhow, very excited about the possibility of ferry service between Fla and Progresso. There are more and more
    people interested in the area, but detest the airline connections.

    I know many who are from Vancouver BC which surprised me. Many own homes in
    Merida or are thinking of doing so.

    I suggest at some point you contact the Vancouver Sun and the Province newspapers so they are aware. I happened
    upon your project in the Yucatan Living site. I had not heard about the plan, however, before doing so. I had often
    asked, why would there not be a ferry?

    I will certainly take the ferry.

    The boats look similar to those used by BC Ferries. We all love them!

  68. For anyone wanting Bruce’s e mail….

    BNIERENBERG [at] AOL [dot] COM

  69. Thank you, Ron!

  70. My parents are going to retire in Cozumel. The ferry would be wonderful not only for the move but for traveling back and forth for appointments and visits. It would also be a great option for those of us who have rental property in the Yucatan and would like to take their own transportation. I do agree that to be profitable the rates would have to be higher for those taking advantage of onboard storage to move items.

  71. We were on the last Tampa to Progresso ferry and loved it! We are very interested in the new route.

  72. Is the ferry up and going yet? What are specifics? Thank you.

  73. No, the ferry is still in the planning stages.

  74. Sign us up! We live in Mexico and would like to take a road trip to the US. Thanks!

  75. My wife and I live in Santa Clara Yucatan and being we drive to Yucatan from New York, it would be a dream to have the ferry from Tampa to Progreso running….Please let us how how to sign up as regular customers….Thanks!!! YEAH !!! Yucatan!!!!!!

  76. This will be great! I may use the ferry several times a year!

  77. It’s October 2014…any news if the ferry will begin bookings! Anxiously awaiting news! Thanks so much!

  78. Nope, nothing yet!

  79. This is just what we have been waiting for! I am the owner of a small hotel in Santa Clara, Yucatan called Kame House. My husband and I travel between Mexico and the USA often, and this is just a better way to enjoy both worlds without the headaches of flying.

  80. I’d love to know when the ferry starts running. My husband and I have been waiting to travel on the ferry.

  81. Stay tuned to Yucatan Living, then! We’ll let you know as soon as it does!

  82. Is this for real? I have been reading article after article saying that it will begin but there is not even a website up for the cruise line with information on the ferry.

  83. Evan, what is real, really? Based on what we know about this and what we’ve seen in the past, we are not planning to take anything but planes and automobiles for the foreseeable future. But dreams are important!

  84. It would be awesome if they do. Cause I am getting married in Merida in March and it would be great to take the ferry back to the states.

  85. Let me know if the Ferry is going to be for real in my live time…………….I’m waiting for for 5 years.

  86. Eager to see this come into being. I represent two families and we just might be on your first boat load.

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