More cruise traffic in Galveston, Texas, is good news for the local economy.
This year through April 25, there were 98 sailings with 243,248 total passengers embarking on the six Carnival, Disney and Royal Caribbean cruise ships homeporting in Galveston, according to the port.
And according to Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees. ship occupancy rates have climbed steadily each month. which is an indication that the port’s typically busy summer season will be strong.
“Passenger counts will take a big jump in the last months of 2022 when our third cruise terminal opens in November,” he said. “Royal Caribbean’s much-anticipated Allure of the Seas is scheduled for nine sailings in November and December. The Princess Cruises Ruby Princess arrives in December, with two sailings this year. Norwegian’s Prima sails twice in October before kicking off its 2023 seasonal sailing schedule.
“Several factors contribute to passenger growth. One is Galveston’s popularity as a cruise port and vacation destination. Another is pent-up demand after the 1 ½-year cruise sailing hiatus. A third factor is the success of safety protocols put in place by the port, the cruise industry, and state and federal agencies designed to manage and mitigate COVID. Cruise passengers can have confidence that the cruise industry and port have taken steps to protect passengers and crew,” Rees continued.
Rees said that the resurgence of cruising is positive economic news for the port and the region. It translates to increased work hours and incomes for the thousands of people.
“Labor union hours alone are estimated to be more than 200,000 based on the projected number of cruises and estimated work hours per ship. That’s an 11 percent increase over labor work hours in 2019, a record year for the port cruise business,” Rees explained.
The cruise uptick is already boosting the financial bottom line for our self-sustaining, citizen-owned port. Net cash flow for the first quarter of 2022 was $1.4 million over budget. We collect revenues from the port-owned cruise parking service, passenger head counts, and ship dockage and wharfage. The port reinvests these revenues in much-needed infrastructure improvements to grow the port’s business and the regional economy.”