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The Port of Galveston announced that it achieved a new milestone in 2018, with 1,966,176 passenger movements, surpassing previous passenger volumes and setting a record as the busiest year since the port began its cruise business on September 30, 2000. In addition, the Port achieved another significant milestone in December; it welcomed its 10 millionth cruise passenger since beginning cruise operations.
2018 was also a record year for cruise ship calls. The 268 cruise ship calls recorded broke the previous record of 255 turnarounds set in 2017, a 5.1 percent increase.
With a projected increase in cruise ship calls to be 299, passenger volume is also projected to increase further in 2019, with approximately 1,034,000 embarking passengers. This will be an additional 9.1 percent in passenger embarkations year-over-year from year-end 2018 to year-end 2019.
“2018 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 2019. We look forward to continuing the success of our cruise operations with our cruise partners”, said CEO and Port Director, Rodger Rees. “I’d like to thank Port staff and longshoremen for their hard work and City council, the local business community, and tourism partners for their continued support. Their efforts have helped the Port of Galveston maintain the rank of 4th busiest cruise port in the nation, “Rees said.
The Port is anticipating another banner year for the cruise business in 2019 with the repositioning of both Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Dream and Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas in May. Additionally, in November, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder will once again return to Galveston for the holiday season with a total of 9 cruises.
The Port of Galveston maintains its ranking as the fourth busiest cruise port in the nation. Cruise activity generated approximately $60.8 million in local passenger on-shore spending and another $19 million in services provided at the port.
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 1.9 million passenger movements 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 $43.5 million. It does not rely on tax dollars for operations.