Everything is bigger in Texas and the next biggest thing in the Lone Star State is Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas. The largest cruise ship ever to be based in the Gulf Coast and to sail from the Port of Galveston, Voyager will sail seven-night itineraries visiting the Caribbean, South America and Mexico calling on Cozumel, Costa Maya and Yucatan, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and George Town, Grand Cayman through April 2008.

“Voyager’s arrival also marks the first time a Voyager-class ship has been deployed in Texas,” said Alice Norsworthy, senior vice president, Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “We are excited to offer more Texans the opportunity to experience our signature style of cruising right from their backyard.”

At a ceremony held onboard Voyager of the Seas yesterday, special guests, including local dignitaries, travel agents and media gathered to celebrate the arrival of the ship which was adorned with gigantic longhorns, 140 feet long and weighing 600 pounds. Following the ceremony, Royal Caribbean kicked off a week-long charity auction on eBay (www.ebay.com/longhorns) with proceeds benefiting the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation (www.starlight.org), which helps seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities. The highest bidder will win the longhorns and a seven-night cruise for two.

“In 2006, we welcomed 617,000 cruise travelers, making Galveston the Gulf Coast’s most popular cruise port.  With the arrival of Voyager of the Seas, the port will undergo a $3.3 million upgrade to accommodate a 50 percent increase in Royal Caribbean guests,” said Steven M. Cernak, port director, Port of Galveston.  “Hosting the most innovative ship in the Gulf will have a significant economic impact, adding to the success of 2006 when we saw $1.1 billion in direct spending, resulting in 19,341 jobs created and $907 million generated in new income in the state of Texas as a result of the cruise industry.”*

When she debuted in 1999, Voyager of the Seas introduced cruise-industry innovations such as an ice-skating rink, rock-climbing wall and the 308-feet-long Royal Promenade, a shopping, dining and entertainment boulevard.  Offering a vacation experience that can be tailored to suit all energy levels, Voyager also features a basketball court, miniature golf course, interactive golf simulator, three swimming pools, six whirlpools, the full-service Voyager Day Spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

In the evenings, guests can enjoy a myriad of activities from top-rated Broadway-style productions in the theatre to gaming in the Casino Royale and a variety of dining and entertainment experiences in 16 bars and lounges and seven restaurants, including a 1950s-style Johnny Rockets Diner and Royal Caribbean’s signature specialty restaurant, Portofino Italian Ristorante.

For the younger set, Voyager of the Seas also offers the line’s award-winning Adventure Ocean children’s program. Teens have dedicated onboard areas such as the Optix teen disco giving them their own space to meet, build friendships and relax with their peers.  They, along with other cruisers will experience the line’s hallmark Gold Anchor Service, which helps make each guest vacation a unique and unforgettable experience with friendly and engaging service from the staff and crew.