EDITORIAL: Port Of Galveston Upgrades

From Mikey’s Cruise Blog:

the Port of Galveston is considering spending $12 million dollars to put towards terminal renovations and possibly a new terminal. Later this year, the port will host three cruise ships at once on nine separate days. The Port of Galveston currently only has two cruise terminals. So as a temporary solution, the port has decided to set up a large tent that passengers will be processed through. This “tent” is very similar to the one found at Civitavecchia, the port for Rome, Italy. The port is considering building a third terminal, but the only problem is getting those cruise ships to commit to long-term deals.

First off, horrible job by Galveston having to use a layberth and convert it into a temporary embarkation/debarkation point. Considering they most likely will be using gangways from the ships lower decks, its not the best first impression to make on a ship. Common sense would tell you; Why not schedule the ships properly to arrive 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday.

Roland Bassett, chairman of the Wharves Board of Trustees recently said, “The ships are not willing to make long-term commitments, which is a problem…It’s a problem in Fort Lauderdale, New York, Tampa Bay or wherever you look. They’ll commit for the next year or two, but that’s it.”

This is how the cruise industry works Mr. Bassett. Always has been. Its rare to get a long term commitment from a line. That’s the benefit of managing a fleet of cruise ships; you go where the market is. If its Europe, you uproot your ships out of the US and place them in Europe for the season. If its Alaska, you sail them there and keep them on the West Coast. This is how it works. I know Carnival is essentially committed to Galveston for a while, but they have their large fleet to play around with. They’ll pull from Mobile [which they did] or Charleston before they hit Galveston. NCL or Celebrity, the next lines that have yet to recently call Galveston don’t have the flexibility in fleet numbers.

The problem I feel, is a problem that Fort Lauderdale, New York, Tampa Bay don’t have to deal with. Well maybe Tampa does, it’s the Itinerary offerings. Carnival first tested this with going beyond the western Caribbean and offering the Bahamas, and Disney will follow suit. So we have the western Caribbean and the Bahamas only reachable out of Galveston. Ft. Lauderdale can reach any part of the Caribbean in 7 nights. New York can literally go anywhere and there’s probably going to be a market for it. If you want more ships, you’ll have to wait for a market change, however the Gulf has always been tricky for itinerary planning.

I wonder how a 14-night proper Caribbean route would fare?

photo via CruiseLineFans