Galveston poised to become second-largest Carnival homeport

By Tom Stieghorst
ABOARD CARNIVAL FREEDOM — Galveston will become the second-largest homeport for Carnival Cruise Lines, after relocation of the Carnival Freedom there early next year, said the line’s chief marketing officer, Jim Berra.

With three ships in the Texas port, Carnival will carry over 600,000 passengers from Galveston next year, Berra said. Miami remains Carnival’s top homeport.

One of the Galveston ships, Carnival Magic, will have a 35-day drydock at the end of the year. Berra said the scope of upgrades to the ship is still being decided. He said the unusually long drydock is due in part to technical and marine changes.

Berra said that the Texas market is a good fit with Carnival’s brand profile, which seeks to appeal to outgoing, fun-loving and unpretentious personalities.

In addition, Texans from the northern and western parts of the state are not averse to driving five hours or more to get to the port.

About half of Carnival’s customers in Galveston are from Texas, with Oklahoma, the Missouri River Valley and the Gulf Coast area around New Orleans being other source markets, he said.

With the three ships, Carnival will offer two western Caribbean itineraries from Galveston and one to Florida and the Bahamas.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly.
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