With six cruise ships calling the port home regularly, the Port of Galveston sees a healthy return to cruising. The port welcomed 100 departures in the first four months of the year, with over 200.000 guests setting foot ashore.
The positive numbers the port is seeing are not just creating a healthy environment for the cruise companies; it is also doing wonders for the local economy.
There won’t be any let-up either. In the summer season and through the end of the year, the number of cruise passengers visiting Galveston will steadily increase. It is expected to increase significantly when Royal Caribbean’s new terminal opens for service and more ships homeport in Galveston towards the end of the year.
Busy Summer Season for Port of Galveston
According to the port director and chief executive officer for Galveston Wharves, Rodger Rees, the port can expect a hectic summer season. As cruise ships increasingly sail near full capacity, the port has seen increased passenger numbers embark and disembark.
Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean have a total of six ships that call Galveston home. From January 1 through April 25, 100 sailings occurred by the six cruise ships that homeport in Galveston. During those calls, 243,248 total passengers set foot in Galveston. The port is looking forward to a busy summer season with occupancy rates increasing.
The expectation is that those numbers will continue to climb throughout the rest of the year. Besides the increasing occupancy levels, several other factors will contribute to rising passenger numbers.
Galveston Expecting More Ships
Towards the end of the year, passenger numbers in Galveston will significantly increase as the long-anticipated, state-of-the-art, $125 million Royal Caribbean cruise terminal finally opens up. The 5,484-passenger Allure of the Seas will sail from the new terminal. She is scheduled for nine sailings in November and December, potentially adding nearly 50.000 passengers to the Galveston Wharves totals for this year.
Besides that, Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess will sail from Galveston twice in December, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest cruise ship, Norwegian Prima will be sailing twice from Galveston this year as well, starting in October.
And it’s not just more ships that are causing cruises to be more popular than ever. Rodger Rees believes it to be a combination of several factors.
“Several factors contribute to this 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,” said Rodger Rees.
“I believe a third factor is the success of safety protocols put in place by the port, the cruise industry and agencies to manage and mitigate COVID. Cruise passengers can have confidence that the cruise industry and port have taken steps to protect passengers and crew.”
Everyone Benefits From A Succesful Cruise Industry
The successful return to service that Galveston is experiencing is not just great news for the cruise lines. The port itself and its employees benefit from the increase in working hours.
Income has risen for the port’s employees, including onshore staff, terminal security officers, parking shuttle drivers, ship suppliers, dockers, and many more.
In 2019, cruise passengers and crew spent nearly $125 million in Galveston. A number that could be matched or even surpassed this year. This doesn’t account for the port’s income, which is already over budget on net cash flow for this year to the tune of $1.4 million.
Galveston is not alone either; several popular cruise destinations, such as Antigua and Nassau, reported solid results and forecasts for this year, showing that the cruise industry is recovering much faster than previously expected.