When it comes to announcing new Texas itineraries, cruise lines of late have been as busy as a one-eyed dog in a smokehouse, as a Texan might say.
Just months after Princess Cruises added its first Texas itineraries in years and MSC Cruises hinted it would soon start Texas sailings, Carnival Cruise Line has revealed plans for a major expansion in the Lone Star State.
The Miami-based line on Thursday announced it would begin “Texas-size” voyages of 9 to 12 nights out of Galveston, Texas, in the fall of 2024 as part of expanding its deployment at the port from three to four ships.
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The voyages will take place on the 2,200-passenger Carnival Miracle, which will redeploy to Galveston from San Francisco.
“We have always offered a great variety of cruises from Galveston, but by adding a fourth Carnival ship to homeport in Galveston and sailing these longer itineraries, we are giving our guests great new choices, especially for those who want to experience a wider variety of beautiful ports of call and more time to enjoy their time at sea,” Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said in a statement accompanying the announcement.
The announcement comes just months before Carnival is scheduled to position one of its biggest ships ever, the soon-to-debut, 5,374-passenger Carnival Jubilee, to Galveston for year-round sailings. The Carnival Jubilee sailings will be seven nights in length.
In addition to Carnival Jubilee, Carnival Miracle will join the 3,690-passenger Carnival Breeze and 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream in sailing from Texas.
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The Carnival Miracle sailings out of Galveston won’t be year-round but seasonal, lasting from fall to spring. There will be 19 sailings in all during the ship’s first season based in Galveston, including:
- A nine-night “Exotic Western Caribbean” voyage departing Oct. 16, 2024, that will stop in Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Mahogany Bay at the Honduran island of Roatan; Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico.
- A 10-night Panama Canal voyage departing Nov. 15, 2024, with calls at Cozumel; Limon, Costa Rica; Colon, Panama (with tours of the Panama Canal); and Mahogany Bay.
- An 11-night “Exotic Caribbean” sailing departing Nov. 25, 2024, with visits to Montego Bay; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos; Princess Cays, a private island in the Bahamas; and Nassau in the Bahamas.
- A 12-night “Carnival Journeys Southern Caribbean” voyage departing Jan. 26, 2025, that visits Grand Cayman, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Cozumel.
The long sailings out of Galveston are unusual for Carnival, which typically offers four-to-eight-night sailings from the port.
Carnival Breeze is currently dedicated to four- and five-day cruises from Galveston. Carnival Dream sails mostly six- and eight-day cruises from the port.
The Port of Galveston has recently seen a significant boom in the number of ships it hosts.
For this year, the port expects 362 cruise ship departures —the most in the 22 years it has hosted cruise ships.
As noted above, Princess recently began its first sailings from Galveston in several years, offering a mix of five-to-11-night Western Caribbean voyages on the 3,080-passenger Ruby Princess.
Allure of the Seas is one of the world’s five biggest cruise ships and the biggest ever to sail regularly out of Galveston.
These new ships join Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, which was already sailing from Galveston; three Carnival ships (currently Carnival Dream, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze; Carnival Vista will leave later this year when Carnival Jubilee arrives); and Disney Cruise Line‘s Disney Magic.
This is up from zero cruise ships based in Galveston as recently as 1999.
Carnival was the first cruise line to operate regular voyages from Galveston in 2000.
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