To kickoff the launch of the new Carnival Magic cruise ship's year-round schedule of departures from the island city, the Grammy-award winning band will play a dockside concert at the Port of Galveston Sunday afternoon. The event is private but CultureMap has secured 10 pairs of tickets that will be given away in a drawing. To register, go to the CultureMap Facebook page and sign up by 6 p.m today. (You'll be a CultureMap Insider.)
The new 3,690-passenger ship will set sail on its inaugural voyage from Galveston on Monday, with two different week-long itineraries to Caribbean ports throughout the year. Carnival officials are touting such features as an on-board Water Works aqua park with 312-foot-long water slide, the RedFrog Pub, featuring Carnival's private label draft beer and the first-ever ropes course at sea.
With the additional ship, Galveston has cemented its spot as the state's cruise ship capital.
Carnival and the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau will preview the boat to national travel media, travel agents and group tour operators on Sunday. Tourist officials on the island expect a big boost since the new cruise ship will carry 24 percent more passengers than the previous Carnival ship that sailed from Galveston, the Carnival Conquest.
Along with the 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph, which regularly docks in Galveston, tourism officials estimate around 100,000 more visitors will come to the island next year. An economic impact study conducted by Angelou Economics in 2008 showed that, on average, visitors to Galveston spend $103 per person per day.
With the additional ship, Galveston has cemented its spot as the state's cruise ship capital. Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas kicks off its seasonal cruises out of Galveston on Friday. The ship, built in 2003, replaces the Voyager of the Seas that has sailed from Galveston for several years. In September 2012, Disney Cruise Line will begin sailing from Galveston with the 2,400-passenger Disney Magic. In December 2012, Princess Cruises will return to Texas for the first time since 2007 with its 3,080-passenger Crown Princess sailing out of Galveston.
There are currently no cruise ships sailing out of the Port of Houston, even though officials built a massive terminal in an attempt to get a piece of the lucrative cruise business.