Carnival Cruise Lines will add a third year round ship for Galveston next year. The Carnival Freedom moves to its Texas fleet starting in Feb. 2015, marking the first time a cruise line has deployed three year round ships in the state of Texas, according to a statement from the port. Together with the Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, the three ships will operate 170 four- to seven-day to the Western Caribbean and two 21-day voyages to the Eastern Caribbean in 2015, providing consumers with a variety of cruise lengths, departure days, and itineraries.
In the summer 2015 Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas will complete two consecutive years of homeporting at the Port of Galveston. In November 2015, the Liberty of the Seas will be taking over year-round, offering weekly Caribbean sailings from Galveston on a new and larger ship. The Liberty will sail seven-night Western Caribbean cruise itineraries, including Isla Roatan, Belize City; Cozumel; Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay and Costa Maya as ports of call.
In addition, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder will return offering holiday sailings beginning November 2015. Disney will sail a seven-night itinerary on the Wonder to the Bahamas, which will include stops in Key West, Nassau and and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
Galveston said it ranks as the fourth busiest cruise port in the U.S. based upon embarkations. The port welcomed 901,000 passengers and crew in 2013, which was a 4.4 percent increase from 2012.
And claiming more than $1.2 billion in direct spending and 20,271 jobs paying $1.16 billion in total income, Texas (that is mostly Galveston) accounted for 6.3 percent of the industry’s direct expenditures, 5.6 percent of the industry’s total employment impact and 6.3 percent of the income impact. The state ranking remains third following behind Florida and California. Galveston embarked approximately 605,000 passengers last year.
“The Port of Galveston is committed to remaining in the top 20 cruise home-ports worldwide. We are dedicated to strengthening our existing relationship with the cruise industry and increasing the economic impact to the local and regional communities.” said Mike Mierzwa, Port of Galveston executive director.