As Texas slowly and partially opens for business — and its tourism industry welcomes guests with enticing deals — Galveston has seen throngs of visitors packing the beach and the Seawall. Now, with news of the return of a global travel giant, the port may see a whole new horde.
Carnival Cruise Line announced on Monday, May 4, that it will resume services from Galveston beginning August 1. Galveston is just one of three ports nationwide resuming service, including Miami and Port Canaveral in Florida.
Carnival Dream, Freedom, and Vista will offer cruises starting on August 1, according to the Port of Galveston's cruise calendar.
“We are focusing on three homeports where we have frequent service and which are easily accessible by car for many of our guests,” a spokesperson for Carnival tells CultureMap. “This will allow us to not only phase-in service, but to also focus our resources in properly rolling out the enhanced operational protocols that we are building.”
Meanwhile, the carrier announced that all North American cruises from June 27 to July 31 will be canceled. All other North American and Australian homeport cruises will be canceled through August 31.
Just how big is demand for cruise travel during the COVID-19 pandemic from Galveston? Carnival Cruise Line representatives did not immediately respond to CultureMap's request for comment.
According to Carnival, impacted guests and their travel advisors are being notified by email, including options for a combined future cruise credit (FCC) and onboard credit (OBC) package, or a full refund. Booked guests can make their selection online, alleviating the need to contact Carnival's customer service center, which is still operating in a work-from-home status due to locally imposed office closures in South Florida.
Carnival also announced that it will “use this additional time to continue to engage experts, government officials and stakeholders on additional protocols and procedures to protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve.”
The Port of Galveston was set adrift by COVID-19, seeing dozens of missed ship calls. As the Galveston County Daily News reported, the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees recently voted to adjust the port's revenue projections under the assumption that no cruises would return this year. The port adjusted its projected net income down by $14 million because of the cancellations, revenue losses and even lost cruise passenger parking.