HOUSTON -- Texas travel agents said they are thrilled with
Norwegian Cruise Line's decision to base its Norwegian Star in
Houston for year-round, seven-day western Caribbean sailings.
"It's great news," said Darby Trovato, Transamerica Travel,
Houston. "We've been doing a lot of bookings for cruises from New
Orleans, and this will be just great."
Trovato was especially pleased with the ports of call -- Cozumel
and Calica, Mexico, and Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras --
because she said they are unusual enough to entice veteran
Agents said the cruises from Houston should attract Texas
residents who easily can drive to the Port of Houston, which is
investing $1 million to promote the NCL cruises.
There is a large Texas population base to draw from, and the
convenience of Hobby Airport, a 30-minute drive from the port, is a
plus, they said.
And, they added, the sailings should draw those who already have
sailed from Miami or who find the Houston sailings less expensive
and more convenient because air fares tend to be lower and flights
generally more available to Houston.
Betty Ng of TravelNet, in Houston, said the cruises should
appeal to "older people who want to save a bit of money and don't
want to fly to Miami or drive to New Orleans."
William Gonzalez, of Daly Travel, Houston, said the NCL move was
"big news" for Houston. "We get the [Royal Olympic's] Stella
Solaris sailing from Galveston once a year, and it does really
well, as do the cruises from New Orleans. I'm sure NCL will do even
better," he said.
However, Marilyn Astor, Carol's Travel, Orland Park, Ill.,
questioned how many of her clients would choose Houston over
"People are programmed that for cruises they go to Miami, and
everyone's heard from their friends that they've got to take a
Caribbean cruise from Miami," she said.