The Port of Galveston has welcomed its 1 millionth cruise passenger of 2023 months ahead of when the same milestone was reached in 2022, demonstrating the port’s amazing growth and popularity.
By welcoming so many passengers so much earlier in the year, Port of Galveston is on track to reach at least 1.3 million cruise guests before the end of the year.
Representatives from Port of Galveston, Carnival Cruise Line, and MSLBC Cruises (the port and cruise terminal staffing agency) greeted the De Graff family of Hudsonville, Michigan – southwest of Grand Rapids – to celebrate their status as the one millionth cruise passenger(s) through the port. The family set sail on Monday, August 28, 2023.
The family of five included Peter De Graff and his wife, Ashley; son Elijah (age 8); daughter Abigail (age 6); and mother-in-law Sheri Scroggins of Wylie, Texas – a northeastern suburb of Dallas.
“We’re very happy for the De Graff family and thank them for sailing from Galveston,” said Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO. “We’re also excited to celebrate this milestone with long-time cruise partner, Carnival Cruise Line. Thanks to the support of our cruise partners and loyal cruise customers, cruising from Galveston has never been better!”
The celebration included gifts and cake for the family before they set sail aboard Carnival Breeze for a 5-night Western Caribbean sailing to Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico. The voyage also includes two days at sea for the family to enjoy all the 130,000-gross ton Dream-class vessel has to offer.
Welcoming 1 million guests in late August is a tremendous leap from 2022, when Port of Galveston greeted its 1 millionth guest on December 22. This is a concrete demonstration of the port’s growth and the increasing popularity of Texas as a cruise homeport, great news for the local community.
“The port’s continued growth as a home port is great news for avid cruise travelers, for local people who work in cruise-related jobs, and for the entities that benefit economically, including suppliers, maritime services, hotels, restaurants, shops and other businesses,” Rees said.
As the port gains more popularity, cruise lines are positioning bigger and newer ships from Galveston. For instance, the port is now home to Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas – one of the world’s largest cruise ships – and Carnival Cruise Line’s upcoming Carnival Jubilee, which sports a Texas star on her bow to show her connection to Galveston.
More than 30 million people live within a 300-mile radius of Galveston, a decent (but not unmanageable) drive-in market for cruises. This includes the metro areas of San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and New Orleans.
Particularly with airfare prices and sometimes complicated flight schedules, more and more travelers are looking for driving options for their vacations, and cruises are a perfect getaway.
Furthermore, Port of Galveston is positioning itself for growth and expansion. Not only has Royal Caribbean International partnered with the port for its new terminal, but Carnival Cruise Line is partnering with the port for a $53 million (USD) improvement at Cruise Terminal 25.
MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line have also both been in negotiations with Port of Galveston for dedicated terminals through public-private partnerships.
The port is also heavily investing in infrastructure, such as expanded parking options to accommodate growing numbers of cruise passengers.
Port of Galveston is expecting more than 350 cruise sailings in 2023, compared to 324 in 2022. At the moment, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International all offer sailings from Galveston, with a variety of cruise lengths, itineraries, and destinations available.
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