Friday, November 11, 2011

Galveston Island Celebrates Arrival of ‘Carnival Magic’ this Weekend & More Ships in the Future

As Galveston becomes the homeport of Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest ship this weekend, officials on the island are celebrating what is expected to be a tremendous economic contributor to the island’s tourism industry.

The 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic, a brand new ship that will receive a celebrity-style U.S. debut from the GRAMMY Award-winning band Maroon 5 this Sunday in Galveston, has the potential to drastically increase the number of visitors to the island each year. Based on double occupancy, the ship can carry 24 percent more passengers than its predecessor, the Carnival Conquest.

If you add that to the increased capacity created by the arrival of the 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph in Galveston last month, Carnival Cruise Lines has the potential to bring approximately 100,000 more visitors to the island in 2012, creating a potential $10 million or more in direct economic impact to the island’s tourism industry.

“Quality cruise lines attract tourists, which spend millions of dollars at our hotels, attractions, restaurants and shops,” said Leah Cast, public relations manager for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We are coming off the best summer tourism season on record for Galveston and we believe the exposure and added value we’ll receive from the Carnival Magic being here is only going to help keep that momentum going.”

An economic impact study conducted by Angelou Economics in 2008 showed that, on average, visitors to Galveston spend $103 per person per day. For that reason, the island’s tourism industry for years has been working to capture the attention of cruise passengers by selling the island as a pre- or post-cruise destination.

It’s not just Carnival bringing new cruise ships to the island. Today, Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas arrives at the Port of Galveston for seasonal cruises. The ship, built in 2003, will replace the Voyager of the Seas that has sailed from Galveston for several years. The ships have the same passenger capacity.

Next year, Disney Cruise Line will begin sailing from Galveston with the 2,400-passenger Disney Magic that arrives in September. Also next year, Princess Cruises will return to Texas for the first time since 2007 with its 3,080-passenger Crown Princess sailing out of Galveston beginning in December. The Port of Galveston serves as the primary point of embarkation for cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean. In 2010, the port welcomed 869,347 passengers. For more information please visit Port of Galveston.

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