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Port of Galveston
News Release
Friday, January 12, 2018

Port of Galveston Ends Year with Cruise Milestone
Sets Record for Most Passengers and Sailings in One Month

GALVESTON, Texas - The Port of Galveston announced on Wednesday that it achieved a new milestone in December 2017, embarking 113,488 passengers, surpassing previous passenger volumes and setting a record as the busiest month since the port began its cruise business on September 30, 2000. In addition, the Port achieved another significant milestone in December; it welcomed its 9 millionth cruise passenger since beginning cruise operations.

December 2017 was also a record month for cruise ship calls in one month. The 33 cruise ship calls recorded in December broke the previous record of 29 turnarounds set in December 2005.  

“The month of December was the most successful in terms of both passenger throughput and cruise sailings in the seventeen year history of cruise operations from the Port of Galveston, and all indications suggest that we will continue to surpass records throughout 2018. Thanks to the strategic direction provided by the Wharves Board of Trustees, we look forward to continuing the success of our cruise operations with our cruise partners”, said Interim Port Director Peter Simons. “The Port’s success is also due in large part to the hard work of the longshoremen and cruise terminal staff and the support of the local business community, Park Board and Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and City council. Their efforts have helped make Galveston Island an exciting destination to cruise from, “Simons said.

The Port is anticipating another banner year for the cruise business in 2018. Carnival Cruise Line will further bolster its fleet in Galveston by repositioning Carnival Vista to Texas in September, joining Carnival Freedom and Carnival Valor.

With Carnival Freedom, Carnival Valor and Carnival Vista, Galveston will be home to three of the line’s most innovative ships, offering the widest array of cruise durations and itineraries to top destinations in Mexico, Belize, Isla Roatan and the Bahamas. In 2018, these three ships are projected to carry more than 650,000 passengers annually from Galveston – more than any other cruise operator.

Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas repositioned to the Port of Galveston in November 2017, joining Liberty of the Seas, the largest cruise ship to sail from the State of Texas. The ship offers 4 and 5 day itineraries to Mexico, with most trips stopping in Cozumel and Costa Maya.

The State of Texas receives annual economic benefits from cruise operations in the form of $1.42 billion in direct spending and 25,166 jobs generating $1.62 billion in income. Texas accounted for 6.6 percent of the cruise industry’s direct expenditures, 6.5 percent of the cruise industry’s total employment impact and 7.9 percent in income impact.

The Port of Galveston maintains its ranking as the fourth busiest cruise port in the nation. Cruise activity generated $58.4 million in local passenger on-shore spending, and another $19.1 million in services provided at the port in 2016. Cruise operations also created 1,232 direct jobs, according to a 2016 report produced by Martin and Associates.

About the Port of Galveston
The Port of Galveston is the region’s gateway to the Gulf for cruise ships and international trade. Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay, the Port leases and maintains facilities on both Galveston Island and Pelican Island. The Galveston Island operations are a diversified mix of cargo including roll on-roll-off cargo, dry bulk, export grain, refrigerated fruit, general cargo, and project cargo. In addition, the Port currently handles over 1.8 million cruise passengers annually. The Port’s Pelican Island facilities are comprised of a combination of an active ship and rig repair facility, a liquid bulk operation, facilities that support the offshore exploration and production business, and two parcels of undeveloped property. The Port is a self-supporting enterprise utility of the City of Galveston with operating revenues of approximately $34.5 million. It does not rely on tax dollars for operations.

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