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Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

Greensboro NC
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Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

My wife and I are thinking about coming to Roatan during Christmas but I'm worried that it will be one of those tourist trap locations where the cruise ships dump thousands of people every day who buy their trinkets and clog the restaurants. Is Roatan one of those cruise boat disasters?

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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1. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

Nope. It depends on where you go. It's a fairly large island and it's easy to get away from the crowds. Check out the Camp Bay Beach and Sandy Bay sets in the most recent collection here:

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Happy trails!

Burlington, Canada
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2. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

Here is the December schedule for cruise ships that will be docking in Roatan.

cruisett.com/ports.php?PortID=606&date=40

The cruise schedules don't seem any different the Christmas week then they would be in prime time in Feb,March, April. I've been to Roatan twice staying in West Bay and I certainly wouldn't say it fits the bill of what you are describing above...I've never had any problem with cruisers clogging restaurants??...they are not there at night anyway....there are lots of restaurants for everyone....it's more about wonderful off shore snorkeling,diving, a very interesting island to explore, very laid back casual environment, calm crystal clear waters with white sand beaches and very friendly locals.

Minneapolis...
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3. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

not yet... but just give it time. Most weeks in February and March have ships four days a week. On two of those days each week, seven ships and over 19,000 people will dock.

The impending cruise ship disaster is not the short-term crowds of tourists on the beaches interfering with the pleasure of other tourists. The real disaster will happen below the surface - literally. The direct pressure of hoards of divers and snorkelers, and the immense pollution produced by short-term visitors, will do immense damage to the fragile coral reef. The pressure on the fishery will increase and the rampant poaching will increase to meet the demands.

The financial pressure on the local economy will drive most of the young people into dead-end jobs providing services to tourists. No need for an education and advanced skills when the best paying jobs on the island are variations on bringing drinks with little umbrellas to sunburned tourists. What is left of an island "culture" will disappear under the pressure.

The reasons we love to go to Roatan will be damaged, and perhaps destroyed, in the next few years. Enjoy it while you can. We only need to look at other ports of call to see what the inevitable progression is. Just ask people what Cozumel was 20 years ago, and what it is today. We can't wait to go back... but we won't be buying real estate. I think it would hurt too much to watch the inevitable destruction.

Saskatoon, Canada
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4. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

I agree with Idiots about the pressure on the island (although he does exagerate with ships: maximun four boats and 9814 passengers). The demise of the reef at Half Moon Bay between 2010 and 2011 was quite shocking.

Minneapolis...
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5. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

I wasn't exagerating, but guess I phrased that poorly...

most weeks there are two days back-to-back that have three ships and four ships docking respectively, for a total of 7 ships and over 19,000 people on those two-day combinations.

I was trying to indicate just how concentrated the visits are. It is bad enough to say that the first full week of March (our last week on the island in 2012) will have over 27,000 cruise ship visitors. It gets worse to know that those are all in a four day period, and still worse to know 19,000 will be in a two day period.

I wander the world
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6. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

I saw a photo taken from I don't know where... it was of the cruise ship decks and Mahogany Bay... I was truly surprised just how many people stay on the boat. Add the people that don't leave the bay and how many are left roaming the island? Perhaps not as many as you think.

This is not to suggest there is not impact on the island I am just saying it may not be seven full ships in two days. By the by ~ are the ships always chock a block full, or are we working with capacity numbers not true numbers of passengers.

I would bet those people with dead end jobs are thrilled to death to have a jobs.

Just a few thoughts.....

Saskatoon, Canada
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7. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

When we're quoting these cruise ship numbers, we're just refering to the ship load that is shown on a Port of Call website. The site shows the names of the boats and their maximum load. Their arrival and departure times are usually quite staggered, so that spreads the crowds out a bit too. It does keep the highway pretty busy all day long though.

Those real heavy cruise days are good days for a couple of dives, maybe a round of golf at Black Pearl, head up to Oak Ridge for a Cat day on the Free Radical, etc. You just have to plan around them.

Burlington, Canada
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8. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

Totally-agree-with-Idiots&McGosler-re-real-estate&reef

Visited-2010&2011-still-a-great-place-however-go-ASAP!!!!!

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9. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

What you mean .. Is a disaster yes or not..?

Saskatoon, Canada
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10. Re: Is Roatan a cruise boat disaster?

I'll sum up my opinion of Roatan and you can judge how disasterous I feel it is. Our first eight Caribbean vacations were to eight different destinations, all of which we enjoyed. The ninth trip was to Roatan, the tenth trip was to Roatan, the eleventh trip will be to Roatan.......Cruisers are almost everywhere, but nowhere else have we found the charm of Roatan.