Time’s a-changing again!!!! For the past three years, Texans have enjoyed the benefit in the fall and winter of having the presence of four cruise lines cruising from Texas ports.
Carnival has been a constant, year around participant with 4 and 5 night cruises and 7-night cruises out of Galveston since 2006. Two years ago, Royal Caribbean joined them out of Galveston on a year around basis. Three years ago, Norwegian Cruise Line began 7-night service from a Houston port, and Princess also joined in with 7-night service from Houston. Great competition!!!....which resulted in great prices for the Texas travelers.
Just last week both NCL and Princess have notified Houston that they would not be sailing from there in 2016. The NCL Jade is going to be based in Tampa and the Caribbean Princess is porting in Ft. Lauderdale. South Florida ports provide large airports, well-developed terminals and infrastructure, and proximity to the Caribbean…not to mention the freedom from the fog that was so prevalent in Houston.
Winter months along the Houston ship channel are famous for foggy conditions. The Caribbean Princess was delayed in Houston three times in two months by fog; NCL experienced similar problems. That does not make those planning to catch flights home or those who were expecting to get on real happy having to wait for half a day or more.
That leaves Carnival and Royal Caribbean as the cruises of choice out of Texas. I think that the competition between the two will still be dynamic, but not as dramatic as when they were trying to get customers from the other two. That also makes our group quote out of Galveston next September on the Liberty of the Seas a real good bargain because we have already contracted our prices before those announcements were made.
Royal Caribbean is replacing the Navigator of the Seas next season with the Liberty of the Seas. Before she comes into service in Galveston she will go through a dry dock session in January. There will be Broadway show productions, Dreamworks characters on display, a Boomerango Water Slide added, along with many other attractions. We are anticipating great interest, and as we always say, the “early bird gets the worm”!!
Carnival is keeping pace. They are replacing the Magic which has been there for over 5 years with the newer Carnival Breeze for Sunday departures. They are also bringing in the Carnival Freedom for Saturday departures, so there are still going to be lots of staterooms available in the 4th largest cruise port in the United States.
Please consider allowing the experienced cruise agents at The Travel Factory guide you to the cruise line that fits you and your family. We can be reached at 698-1421 or toll-free 800-760-4040, or face-to-face at 4150 Southwest Drive, Ste. 120.