This could be the beginning of the end for the formerly uncrowded Honduran island of Roatan. As the Wall Street Journal reported in The Next Place in the Sun, the island could soon turn into just another tacky Caribbean cruise port.

Royal Caribbean just inked a deal to build a $30 million extension to the island’s cruise terminal, while Carnival is spending $50 million on its own port of call, which it says can handle as many as 7,000 passengers daily when it opens in 2009.

This scares some residents, but others are cackling with joy at the thought of getting some bucks off these short-stay stopovers, despite all the damage to the reefs and the island’s character. To me it’s just depressing to see yet another island with a lot going for it succumbing to the pressure to open up to mammoth ships. Mass tourism wins again.

Anthony's Key HondurasApparently this is all driven by the average Joe and Jane tiring of ports like Cozumel, which is “packed with 15 ships on busy days.” John Tercek, vice president of commercial development for Royal Caribbean is quoted in the article saying, “People like to brag at a cocktail party, I’ve been to some place you haven’t.” As if stopping in a cruise ship port for a few hours is “being somewhere.” Good god.

As for me, I’m going to try to make it down there in ’08, while I can tour the island and kick back on the beach without seeing a massive floating hotel right by the shore. I may be adding a new hotel or two to our current listing, Anthony’s Key Resort (pictured here).