This September, the Port of Galveston will welcome Disney Magic, sailing the Caribbean into 2013. Its a move made possible for Disney by adding two new ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, doubling the Disney fleet. Already at the Port of Galveston, Carnival Cruise Line‘s Carnival Magic has already taken up residence. Its all part of a move to the Port of Galveston by a number of cruise lines and the people there couldn’t be happier about it.
“Quality cruise lines attract tourists, which spend millions of dollars at our hotels, attractions, restaurants and shops,” Leah Cast, public relations manager for the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau told us last year during a visit to Galveston.
Its clearly a case of keeping the horse before the cart as cruise lines have flocked to rabidly cruise-friendly Galveston. Last November, 3.690-passenger Carnival Magic made cruise history as the first new ship from Carnival Cruise Lines to homeport somewhere other than Florida during its inaugural season. About the same time, Royal Caribbean‘s brought 3,114-passenger Mariner of the Seas to the port. Just before that, 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph replaced 2,056- passenger Carnival Ecstasy at the Port of Galveston on four- and five-night cruises to Mexico. Rounding out the cruise offerings from Galveston will be Princess Cruises Crown Princess coming up in December.
Both Carnival vessels will operate year-round from Galveston. Mariner of the Seas is committed for the next two winter seasons. Disney Magic and Crown Princess will sail through the winter with additional cruises possible.
Indeed, Galveston is set up to handle the crowds. Those driving to town for their cruise can park their cars at a number of good hotels and the hotel will shuttle them back and forth from the port, no charge. Those flying in can enjoy that same shuttle service to and from the port at no cost and the hotel will make arrangements to pick them up from any of the airports that service the port.
A good example of hotels close to the Port of Galveston is the San Luis Resort, a beachfront property right across the street from the 17-foot seawall that has protected the island from storms for over 100 years. A 30-acre year-round beachfront hotel and spa resort property on Galveston Island, the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning resort features lavish accommodations, breathtaking Gulf views and personalized service. Great restaurants (wonderful burgers at the pool bar) , luxurious resort amenities and the excitement of historic Galveston Island make this a great place to stay even without a cruise on the front or back end.
Day trips in Galveston make for a great pre- or post-cruise vacation option too. Area landmarks like Galveston‘s grandest and best-known building, Bishop’s Palace or the Lone Star Flight Museum are good choices as is a Port of Galveston harbour tour.
The Port of Galveston itself has been getting ready too.
Galveston port director Steve Cernak told us a $12 million upgrade project at the port will triple the number of passenger seats along with adding more restrooms and crowd-control barriers. A new state-of-the-art gangway should make boarding faster and easier. New security screening stations also are planned.
When it is all said and done, travelers sailing from the Port of Galveston will end up with a good, well-rounded choice of cruise lines, ships and experiences. A lot of that has to do with Galveston residents, organizations and businesses that are in it to win it. and the Port of Galveston continues to look for more cruise business.
“We have open days for ships,” Cernak said. “And we have the ability to build a third terminal. If we have the commitments (from cruise lines), we’ll build it.”
Interesting observation via Editor Lisa: ” Weird that Magic and Magic will be in Galveston and Dream and Dream in Port Canaveral!”
- What Charleston South Carolina might learn from Galveston Texas (chriscruises.net)
- Galveston Island gets ready for Carnival Magic…and friends (chriscruises.net)
- Cruise event prep: Carnival Magic arrives in Galveston this weekend (chriscruises.net)
- Galveston pre-cruise: A tour of Bishop’s Palace (chriscruises.net)
- Port Canaveral welcomes latest cruise ship, gladly (chriscruises.net)