Major US Homeport Expects Record Number of Cruise Ship Calls

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The Port of Galveston has developed itself steadily over the last 22 years, and is currently the fourth most popular cruise port in the US.

With a new Royal Caribbean cruise terminal, Carnival Cruise Line’s third LNG-powered ship homeporting in Galveston, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Prima stationed in Galveston, the port is firmly on track for a record year. 

The port expects to welcome 362 cruise ships through 2023, bringing more than 1 million cruise ship passengers to Galveston.

Port of Galveston Expects 362 sailings in 2023

The recovery of the cruise industry is perhaps best shown through the record number of cruise ships that will call on the Port of Galveston next year. Currently, the port expects to welcome 362 cruise ships, a new record in the port’s 22-year history as a cruise homeport.

While airlines and airports struggle to provide a hassle-free travel experience, having a cruise port nearby is a welcome travel option. Including Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Little Rock, more than 30 million people live in close proximity to the Port of Galveston.

Cruise Ship at Port of Galveston
Photo Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

No wonder all major cruise operators are placing more importance on homeporting ships in Texas. Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean all have ships scheduled to sail from the Port of Galveston in 2023.

These ships are expected to bring more than 1 million cruise ship passengers to Galveston, coupled with thousands of crew members. Together, this means a substantial financial benefit for Galveston’s local economy and businesses. 

Galveston Becomes Major Homeport

Next year, Royal Caribbean will operate five ships from Galveston. Allure of the Seas will sail from Texas between January and October, and Adventure of the Seas between January and May.

Radiance of The Seas will operate from Galveston between January and April, Voyager of the Seas between May and December, and finally, Harmony of the Seas in November and December.  

All will be sailing from the new state-of-the-art Royal Caribbean International terminal, which will open in November at Pier 10. The 161,000-square-foot terminal is in the final stages of construction. 

Carnival Cruise Line has four ships based in Galveston. To start, these will be Carnival Breeze, Carnival Dream, and Carnival Vista. Carnival Jubilee will replace the Vista in November. Carnival Jubilee will be Carnival Cruise Line’s third LNG-powered cruise ship and the first to homeport in Galveston.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Galveston
Photo Credit: BUI LE MANH HUNG / Shutterstock

With the increase in passengers that the arrival of Carnival Jubilee will bring, the ship can handle up to 5,400 guests at double occupancy, along with 1,700 international crew members, which does mean that Galveston will need to make improvements to its infrastructure. These are scheduled to be completed before the first call on November 25, 2023. 

Rodger Rees, Ports of Galveston Port Director and CEO: “We’re planning renovations to the renamed Cruise Terminal 25 (formerly Cruise Terminal 1) to handle the increased passenger counts associated with the Carnival Jubilee’s arrival in 2023.” 

“These renovations will include two new passenger boarding bridges with enhanced boarding areas and expansion of check-in areas and screening, as well as an updated and expanded U.S. Customs and Border Patrol area.”

Norwegian Cruise Line will bring its newest cruise ship, Norwegian Prima, to Galveston for the first time in October. From December 2023, the ship will use the port as its homeport.

Norwegian Prima is the first of six cruise ships that Norwegian Cruise Line has ordered under the Project Leonardo-class ships, which Fincantieri is building in Italy. 

Lastly, both Disney Cruise Line and Princess Cruises have seasonal cruises scheduled from Galveston. Disney Magic and Ruby Princess will operate between January and April, while Regal Princess will sail from Galveston in November and December 2023.

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