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The Port of Galveston Continues to Break Records

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The Port of Galveston continues to shatter its own records.

Photo via Heather Baxter.

Just this past December, the cruise terminal embarked 113,488 passengers, the most since its first opening in September 2000. In the same month, the port also welcomed its 9 millionth cruise passenger as well as celebrated 33 cruise ship calls, beating the previous record of 29 set 12 years prior.

“The month of December was the most successful in terms of both passenger throughout and cruise sailings in the 17-year history of cruise operations from the Port of Galveston, and all indications suggest that we will continue to surpass records throughout 2018,” said interim Port Director Peter Simons in a press release.

READ MORE: 13 Things to Do in Galveston

Galveston was the 4th busiest port in the country by cruise embarkations in 2016, with its number of embarkations up 35.4% that year over 2014. This largely had to do with the fact that the Port of Houston closed its doors to cruise ships in mid-2016. The Port of Houston ultimately closed to cruises due to fog issues, the difficult navigability of the ship channel, and the length of time it took ships to reach international waters, meaning closed shops and casinos for the first few hours of the cruise. The port’s closure also meant the departure of Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises from the Texas market. In turn, the Port of Galveston as well as cruise lines Carnival and Royal Caribbean were left to flourish in the wake.

In addition, just months after the closure of the Port of Houston, the Port of Galveston debuted renovations to Terminal 2. The main update allowed the port to be able to accept larger ships than before, notably those with a carrying capacity of up to 5,000 passengers. The terminal updates were made at the request of Royal Caribbean, who wanted to place one of its Freedom-class ship in the expanding Texas market.

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Who Is Sailing?

The Port of Galveston is home to five ships year-round: three Carnival and two Royal Caribbean. Disney Cruise Line operates one ship with seasonal sailings out of Galveston for a few months each winter.

For Carnival, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Freedom operate 7-day sailings, each with the capacity to carry 3,690 and 2,974 passengers per sailing, respectively. Carnival Valor operates 4 and 5-day sailings with the capacity to carry 2,974 passengers.

For Royal Caribbean, Liberty of the Seas operates 7-day sailings with a maximum capacity of 4,960 passengers, while Vision of the Seas operates 4 and 5-day sailings with a capacity for 2,435 passengers.

The Port of Galveston’s cruise passenger traffic is only expected to increase, as larger ships will soon be swapped in for what’s currently there. As of right now, Carnival Vista (3,926 passengers) is set to replace Carnival Breeze in September 2018, Carnival Dream (3,652 passengers) is set to replace Carnival Valor in May 2019, and Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas (2,446 passengers) is set to replace Vision of the Seas in June 2018.

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June Special: Kids Sail Free to the Bahamas

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With summer around the corner, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has a special deal for families traveling with kids. Valid for all June cruises, those 16 and under will sail free if they’re staying in the same stateroom with two paying parents.

With the school year wrapping up and Father’s Day on June 17, it’s the perfect time for a quick escape to the Bahamas. Both of the line’s ships, Grand Classica and Grand Celebration offer a number of activities for guests on their way to the island. There are youth clubs divided by age, swimming pools, multiple dining options, a mini movie theater, mini rock climbing wall, a ball pit, and more.

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There’s also a number of shore excursions that families can take part in once they arrive, including snorkeling, a beach day, cruising the beach in an open-top Jeep, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, kayaking, glass-bottom boat tours, and more.

For more information, visit bahamasparadisecruiseline.com.

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Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Take Annual Photos on Cruise Ship

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The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders have officially wrapped up their 2018 annual photo shoot, and this year a Miami-based cruise ship was the backdrop.

Over 20 of the cheerleaders sailed to the sunny Caribbean this month aboard MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside, donning a number of clothing styles for the photos while capturing the ship’s iconic design. The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Annual is set to be released at the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Fashion Show this fall.

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The cheerleaders also took part in photo shoot in ports along the way, including St. Maarten, San Juan, and Nassau. During the voyage, the cheerleaders engaged with guests throughout the cruise during a variety of activities, including at the sail away party, hosting youth cheer clinics, posing for photo ops, and doing special performances to entertain guests. To kick off the cruise, they provided a warm Miami Dolphins welcome by taking over the terminal with mascot “TD” to cheer guests into their vacation.

The annual photoshoot onboard MSC Seaside came on the heels of the Dolphins’ first ever Fan Cruise onboard the same ship in March. The voyage included football legend guests of honor including Kim Bokamper, Terry Kirby, Sam Madison, Nat Moore, Joe Rose and Patrick Surtain, for a week of themed activities. The team will be hosting their second cruise in 2019.

The Miami Dolphins and MSC Cruises are in the midst of a three-year partnership, which resulted in the Fan Cruise. It will be hosted annually over the next three years.

Photos: Miami Dolphins

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Carnival Horizon Makes Inaugural Call in Canadian Port

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Carnival Cruise Line’s brand new Vista-class ship Carnival Horizon made her first-ever call in Halifax, Nova Scotia yesterday.

The day was a welcome change for cruise passengers; it was the first port stop after six days at sea crossing the Atlantic Ocean from the Mediterranean. Ship officers as well as local officials held a traditional plaque ceremony in the Library onboard, where a plaque was given to the ship by the Port of Halifax and other tokens were exchanged, including a model of the ship given to the port by Carnival Cruise Line.

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Carnival Horizon is the sister-ship to Carnival Vista, which pioneered a number of new concepts for Carnival including the SkyRide bicycling attraction and the Dreamscape LED sculpture in the atrium. Some of Horizon’s unique new features include a sit-down barbecue smokehouse and brewery as well as a Cat in the Hat themed WaterWorks water park.

Click here for a video of the ship headed into the Port of Halifax.

Click here for our article on all of the free food found aboard Carnival Horizon.

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