The Carnival Radiance and Breeze will join the Vista and Dream sailing from Galveston year-round in May 2021, Carnival Cruise Line announced today.
“We’ve been undergoing steady growth in Galveston since we started sailing there in 2000 with one ship,” said Fred Stein, senior director of revenue planning and fleet development, Carnival Cruise Line.
The line went to three ships out of Galveston in 2015, with the Vista taking the place of the Breeze recently and adding more berths to the market.
“The next level of growth is adding a fourth ship,” Stein continued.
The four ships will mean Carnival is posting a 25 percent increase in berths out of Galveston, according to Cruise Industry News data, with over 13,000 berths based in the Texas port in 2021.
Demand comes via 37 million people within a 500-mile drive, according to Stein, and many who fly in from the West Coast to Houston.
The Radiance, which will be converted from the Carnival Victory after a $200 million drydock next year, is moving to Galveston from Port Canaveral, while the Breeze comes over from Port Everglades for her Texas return.
The Freedom will be redeployed elsewhere, with an announcement expected soon.
All told, Carnival could carry nearly one million guests from Galveston on 235 itineraries in 2021, ranging from five to 14 days.
Stein said the port’s infrastructure can handle the four ships, and parking capacity was more than sufficient.
The Radiance will concentrate on mainly five-day cruises, but three new nine-day options are available that depart on Fridays. Stein said these voyages were ideal as they offered a nine-day vacation, but for most guest, only a week off work.
One nine-day option will call at Cozumel, Limon (Costa Rica), and feature a partial Panama Canal transit or a visit to Colon (Panama), while another features Key West, Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau. The third voyage calls at Grand Cayman, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel.
“This is the most differentiated content we have been able to offer from Galveston,” Stein told Cruise Industry News.
The company is also offering two 14-day Carnival Journeys sailings, featuring eight ports each.
“Those offer a lot of differentiated port content you wouldn’t get on a short cruise,” Stein said.
The Carnival Breeze will move into the short cruise rotation, sailing year-round four- and five-day itineraries.
“The Breeze has been in Galveston for quite a while,” Stein said. “She is very popular in Texas and will take on the four- and five-day cruises that the Dream is doing.”
Four-day “weekend” cruises leave on Thursdays and call in Cozumel while five-day cruises depart on Mondays and Saturdays with calls at Cozumel and either Progreso or Costa Maya.
The Dream will move to a new six- and eight-day cruise schedule in May 2021 while the Vista will sail week-long cruises on two separate Western Caribbean itineraries.
Carnival plans to carry its 8 millionth guest from Galveston in early 2021.
2000 to 2020
Carnival started year-round cruising out of Galveston in 2000 with the Carnival Celebration, which was based in the port and offered four- and five-day Western Caribbean sailings at the time.
It was then the Miami-based brand was the first major cruise line to base a ship year-round out of Galveston. Carnival made a five year deal in 2000 and in return, the port invested in renovating its passenger terminal and building a parking facility for 1,100 cars.
It’s been all growth since then, with the Jubilee joining the Celebration in 2002.
The ships got bigger over time, and two ships became three in 2015, with 2021 set to see four ships sailing year-round for Carnival from Galveston.