On September 30, the Port of Galveston celebrated a major milestone as it marked the 15th year anniversary of the commencement of the Port’s year-round cruise business.
On September 30th of 2000, Carnival Cruise Lines’ vessel M/S Celebration made her inaugural voyage from Galveston Island. After 15 years of cultivating cruising from Texas, the Port of Galveston is grateful for the 2643 ship calls, 18 cruise ships, and the more than 7 million cruise passengers that have travelled through the Port, according to a prepared statement.
“A special ‘Thank You’ to Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises for choosing Galveston as a cruise homeport and for entrusting us with their newest and most innovative ships in order to offer our cruise guests a unique opportunity to visit exotic ports of call in the Caribbean and the Bahamas. In addition, I’d like to thank our cruise partners-the cruise lines’ shore staff, the International Longshoremen’s Association, Federal Agencies such as Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard and the tremendous support from the local community throughout the years,” said Mike Mierzwa, Port Director.
In 2014, Port of Galveston embarked approximately 640,000 passengers due to the largest-ever capacity commitment by the cruise industry to Texas. These deployments are expected to carry over 824,000 passengers in 2015, an increase of 28% more than last year.
With over $1.2 billion in direct spending and almost 20,000 jobs paying nearly $1.1 billion in total income, cruise related spending in Texas accounted for 6.3 percent of the cruise industry’s direct expenditures, and 5.6 percent of the industry’ overall spending nationwide.
“Today we celebrate the positive impact the cruise industry has had on our community. It is important that we recognize that not only is this business great for Galveston, but also for the entire state of Texas. The Port is dedicated to continuing to make improvements that will keep Galveston a top notch cruise port and keep the cruise business thriving for another successful 15 years.”, said Mierzwa.
To ensure that the Port of Galveston remains one of the top cruise ports in the world, the Port has invested more than $85 million in its cruise facilities since 2000.
The Port of Galveston continues to explore ways to expand its cruise business. The Port is looking at what improvements will be needed in order to accommodate three cruise ships sailing from Galveston on the same day.
Carnival Cruise Line will repositioning Carnival Breeze to replace Carnival Magic and Carnival Liberty to replace Carnival Triumph to Texas in 2016, joining Carnival Freedom which arrived in Galveston last February. With Carnival Breeze, Carnival Liberty, and Carnival Freedom, Galveston will be home to three of the line’s most innovative ships offering the widest array of cruise durations and itineraries to top destinations in the Caribbean.
Disney Cruise Line will return to Galveston for the holiday season in 2015. Starting on November 6, 2015, Disney Cruise Line will offer a seven-night itinerary on the Disney Wonder to the Bahamas, which will include stops in Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas; and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay through January, 2016.
Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas will be replaced by Liberty of the Seas on November 13, 2015. This larger vessel, the largest cruise ship sailing from Galveston at 1,112 ft. will offer an increased guest experience to passengers travelling out of Texas. The Liberty of the Seas will offer 7-night Western Caribbean cruise itineraries, including Isla Roatan, Honduras; Belize City Belize; Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Costa Maya, Mexico as ports of call.