It has been a long wait, but now the US’s fourth most popular cruise port is a step closer to actual passenger cruises. In Texas, the Port of Galveston will be among the first ports to relaunch cruises since suspensions first started back in March 2020.
It comes after Carnival Cruise Line recently received approval to restart out of three ports and the port has been busy making preparations.
Port of Galveston Ready to Restart Cruises
The popular cruise homeport is ready for cruising this summer, starting with Carnival Cruise Line in July. On May 25, the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees, Galveston County Health District, and Carnival completed a 40-page agreement for a safe return of cruise operations.
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The agreement follows the guidelines as part of the Conditional Sailing Order by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On May 26, the Port of Galveston was also near the completion of an agreement with Royal Caribbean. The agreements with the cruise lines cover the following:
- Simulated passenger cruises
- Compliance with port COVID safety procedures
- A tabletop exercise with cruise line and port staff on port COVID safety procedures and protocols
- An emergency response plan in the event of an outbreak
- A plan for medical evacuations at sea coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard
- Cruise terminal and transportation vehicle cleaning requirements
It now means Galveston is ready for the first Carnival cruise out of Texas, which is currently scheduled to be the Carnival Vista on July 3. This won’t be a test sailing, it will be a regular cruise but with new health and safety measures in place.
The CDC approved Carnival Cruise Line’s restart plan out of three homeports including PortMiami, Port Canaveral, and Port of Galveston. The cruise line is expected to release further details on its restart plan at a later date.
The cruise restart is long overdue in the US, and the issues between the cruise lines and the CDC have not helped. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the US cruise industry is moving forward, and cruises will be setting sail this summer.
The Port of Galveston is an important part of the comeback and in 2019, more than 1 million cruise passengers generated 26,900 jobs along with a statewide economic impact of $1.6 billion. The cruise suspension has cost the post $44 million by the time cruises resume in July.