Tampa Progreso Ferry to Yucatan Mexico

Coming soon: Tampa Progreso ferry! One of the retirement questions most often asked on chat rooms, Googled and researched is related to the transporting of possessions to Mexico, and more specifically, to the Yucatan. The choices have been limited.

Bruce Nierenberg, a cruise industry veteran, has been pursuing the initiation of United Caribbean Cruise Lines which would provide passenger and ferry service to Yucatan and, once permits are granted, to Cuba.

Yucatan has long been the avenue taken by many to get to Cuba during the last 50 years, Canada and other Caribbean countries being the others. The Federal government made travel to Cuba Illegal in 1962 but the Obama Administration has loosened restrictions and further loosening of restrictions could be forthcoming.

It is estimated that United Caribbean will charge approximately $350 for a round trip with a cabin and meals but the company has not revealed how much it will charge to bring a car into Mexico on the ferry.

Previous operators have provided ferry service between Tampa for short periods in 1998 and 2002 before encountering a variety of business problems. The last Mexico ferry from Tampa, the Yucatan Express, after only one winter season in 2003, terminated business. Business started slowly, with fewer than 50 passengers on one 36-hour cruise although the number of passengers grew as the season ended.

The Tampa Progreso ferry trip will take about 30 hours each way, while it would take 18 hours to sail between Tampa and Cuba.

The Yucatan Express (a.k.a. Scotia Prince), ran in Maine during the summer months and made the Tampa-Mexico run during the winter months but when the Morelos Port became too restrictive for safe entry they were left with a once a week trip to Progreso making it impossible to cover expenses let alone make a profit.

The Yucatan Express lost about $5-million during its initial season and executives said that they were committed to bringing the ship back to Tampa the next fall for another five months from its summer home in Maine but that never happened.

In the years after the termination of the Yucatan Express service, driving through Mexico to Yucatan was literally the only choice for the expat to transport their retirement possessions.

With the ensuing war on drug cartels along the northern border of Mexico and the smuggling of guns from the US into Mexico, safely crossing the border and traveling south has been daunting yet relatively safe. Mexico has greatly improved its highway system in the last 20 years and the highway greatly reduces the travel times and difficulties of the old days but fear of trouble on the highway has been a continuous drone in the US news.

Most recently, accusations have been made that the News’ exaggeration of violence along the border exists throughout Mexico is merely an attempt to keep tourist dollars home in the US and instill fear into travelers. Travelers to Mexico seldom encounter any difficulties.

Tampa Progreso, Yucatan Ferry Advantages

Retiring to the Yucatan from Canada, the Mid West, or East Coast, has left expats with the choice of driving and hauling their possessions across the border or shipping their possessions via Linea Peninsular.

Linea Peninsular regularly runs container ships from Panama City, Florida to Progresso, Yucatan every other day. Various manners of shipping exist but basically require the packing of your possessions into a container plus shipping your vehicle. An import broker is required and there are various brokers in Progreso that will oversee the entire process. Brenda at Linea will put you into contact with reputable brokers and explain the process of importing your possessions into Mexico.

While utilizing the Tampa Progreso ferry would allow you to accompany your possessions, the short term tourist should not experience much delay upon arrival. The retirees planning to live in the Yucatan should apply for their appropriate visas and contact a broker well before the planned move as there are specific rules for declaring all possessions within the boxes in the container.

The news of the possible restart of the Tampa Progreso Ferry is exciting! Its running would once again simplify retiring to Yucatan for many expats and make travel with a vehicle much shorter and easier. Only time will tell since this tale periodically keeps popping up.

We can only hope!


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