I'm going to assume that none of you complaining have ever been to Belize. ...not to insinuate that Belize isn't a great place; I love it.
But Belize is a tender port. A lo-o-o-o-o-o-ong tender port. The trip in by itself can take anywhere from 22-26 minutes. That's one-way. That's not including time loading the tender with fat people who can only waddle at a waddling pace, and old people who shuffle along at an old person pace. Loading one tender can take 20 minutes. Unloading at the dock can take another 5-10. It can be damnear an hour all tolled.
And Belize isn't blessed with enough private contractors with high capacity tenders so that there's a virtual ribbon of tenders from ship to shore and back again. It takes hours to unload ONE cruise ship. Two ships in port seems to be about the max they can handle. If there's more than that, youve got the limited supply of tenders working multiple ships and it only makes the process a nightmare. I was there once when there were two Carnival and a Norwegian in port. It was horrendous getting off, it was horrendous getting back on, and the excursion vendors also have a limited capacity themselves and horseback riding through the jungle was more like a stampede ... in shifts.
When they say "port congestion" for Belize it is not a minor or trivial thing. It is a serious issue. It came to a full rolling boil two years ago when Belize City - made popular as a cruise stop and thus lucrative to Belize, by the way, by Carnival alone - balked at getting more and BIGGER tenders to handle all the cruise traffic that Carnival inspired. Carnival started going to Costa Maya rather than put even two ships in the harbor, the Belize Tourism Ministry got the point, and handed out more business licenses, the tender operators got the point and bought bigger boats and Carnival went back to spending its money there.
Belize complained that the move was Carnival blackmailing them, Carnival's passengers complained that Belize was a PITA port because of the mess involved in getting off and on the boat.
Yes, it would be a good idea for the group which decides to juggle ports of call to have direct access to the booking and customer service people so that information can get out, and yes it's disappointing to plan to go somewhere and get that destination changed on you. As I said, I love Belize. I'd be disappointed myself.
But I'll have to be honest here: knowing what I know of the people who come through this message board, there'd be a helluva lot more people griping about the misery of going all the way to Belize with the massive lines to get tendered into town only to have to turn right around and take the tender back because there's too few tenders servicing too many cruise ships. The ones who gripe about not going there in the first place - you people - will be far outbumbered by them.
Make the best of it. Costa Maya's a great place too. Cab down to Majahual and pull up a hunk of beach. Make your own Corona commercial.
SIG: If you're going to create the drama, at least supply the popcorn.