'Tis the season for suns out, buns out, but if you’re attempting to plan the perfect getaway on the water, you’ll have to wait just a little longer.
Despite two cruise ships—the Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista—docking at the Port of Galveston for the first time since May 2, 2020, they aren’t allowed to sail with passengers from the United States just yet. They will be some of the first cruises to set sail after our nation's cruise ban lifts, but before that happens, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must update its cruise ship safety requirements, including testing guidelines for crew members and assessing the ship's ability to handle Covid-19 on board.
The Texas economy lost an estimated $1.2 billion in direct spending and 23,000 jobs due to the suspension of cruise travel, per the Port of Galveston. But, judging by the hundreds of people who showed up to welcome the ships to port earlier this month, it’s safe to say that Houstonians are itching to get on board soon enough, and it's possible the ships may depart on their first voyages back as early as July.
The Galveston Wharves has also just announced that Norwegian Cruise Line’s brand-new Norwegian Prima will set sail from the Port of Galveston in fall 2022. Its the first-ever Norwegian Cruise Line ship to set sail from Galveston and the 3,215-passenger behemoth (a whopping 140,000 tons) is part of the brand’s first new class of ships in nearly 10 years.
The Norwegian Prima will sail two roundtrip Western Caribbean voyages from Galveston: a three day cruise on October 27, 2022, and a four day cruise on October 31, 2022.
Port officials are in discussions with the cruise line about its long-term strategy as well.