Official opening ceremony for third berth at Carnival Corporation's pier at Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico, the most popular cruise destination in the Caribbean. From left to right: Leon Sutcliffe (FCCA), Jesus Mendez (Puerta Maya), Jose Negron (Carnival Corporation), Micky Arison (Carnival Corporation), Arnold Donald (Carnival Corporation), Christine Duffy (Carnival Cruise Line), Giora Israel (Carnival Corporation), David Candib (Carnival Corporation), Ken Jones (Carnival Corporation), Carlos Torres de Navarra (Carnival Cruise Line), Armando Corpas (Carnival Corporation), Fernando Perez (Puerta Maya), Jeffrey Rannik (B&R Group) (PRNewsFoto/Carnival Corporation & plc)

Carnival Corporation today officially opened an expansion of its operations in Cozumel, Mexico, adding a third berth to the company's pier at Puerta Maya.

With an investment of more than $20 million, the all-new "arm" was added to the company's existing pier to allow three ships to be moored at the terminal at the same time. To mark the occasion, three of the company's ships – Carnival Breeze, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Triumph – arrived today and became the first trio of ships to use the new three-berth pier. The pier will accommodate any ship across Carnival Corporation's 10 brands, including its next-generation ships.

With 3.3 million cruise guests annually, Cozumel is the busiest cruise destination in the Caribbean.

Carnival Corporation's extra capacity with the expanded pier will allow more ships to call on Cozumel, increasing the number of guests who can visit the destination while also providing a significant economic boost to the local economy. In 2014, about 1.5 million Carnival Corporation guests visited Puerta Maya on 25 different ships originating from eight homeports and two countries across six of the company's brands, and the company expects this to grow over the years with the added capacity at the port.  

"Cozumel is the Caribbean's most visited cruise ship destination and consistently receives high ratings from our guests," said Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development for Carnival Corporation. "So the destination is in demand by our guests, and we are excited about officially opening the third berth to our pier, since it gives our brands greater flexibility for visiting Cozumel and more of our guests the opportunity to enjoy the island."

While the new berth has been in the planning stages since 2005, work started on the new pier in May 2014. The existing two-berth pier was re-opened in October 2008, following an extensive $50 million reconstruction to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 which included destruction of the original pier. The rebuilt two-berth pier and the all-new arm providing a third berth at the pier have been constructed to withstand a threshold category 5 hurricane, in addition to being able to accommodate any ship in Carnival Corporation's fleet.

"While this is a major milestone for our company, it is also a memorable day for our business partners in Mexico," said Israel. "Without their collaboration, this project would not have been possible, and we extend our appreciation for their openness and cooperation. We are looking forward to how the expansion of our pier will have an important economic impact on jobs and opportunity for locals. Cozumel, one of the jewels of the Caribbean, has come a long way since it was devastated in 2005 by Hurricane Wilma. It is rewarding to see the island flourishing. And now, with today's opening of our third berth, even more of our guests will be able to make Cozumel part of their vacation experience."