HOUSTON - Carnival Cruise Lines hopes to launch what could be the first cruise from the U.S. since the pandemic started in Galveston on July 3rd. And Norwegian Cruise Lines will start sailing from Galveston next year.
Many vacationers and workers are rejoicing that some cruises and jobs are coming back to the Port of Galveston.
The Port of Galveston confirms Norwegian Cruise Lines will sail from Galveston for the first time ever, in the Fall of 2022, as it debuts its new ship Prima in several major ports.
"Norwegian is coming out with what they're calling the Leonardo Class ship," said Port of Galveston CEO Rodger Rees.
Rees says the 3200-passenger Prima will set sail on a 3-day cruise from Galveston on October 27th, and a 4-day cruise from the port on October 31. And Galveston may see more of Norwegian after that.
"We are talking. They are looking to come in here in 2023 with a new ship, I can tell you that. That will be the second Leonardo Class to be delivered," said Rees.
Meantime, Carnival Cruise Lines confirms to FOX26 that it hopes its ship Carnival Vista will launch from Galveston on July 3rd, and Carnival Breeze will sail from Galveston on July 15th.
"July 3rd will the be first cruise ship that takes off with passengers in the United States. So we will work very hard to have all the infrastructure in place to make this happen," said Rees.
Three Carnival cruise ships have recently sailed into Galveston to vaccinate crew members to meet CDC requirements to sail.
"The CDC came out and said 95% of passengers and 98% of the crew have to be vaccinated," explained Rees.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has joined a lawsuit with Florida and Alaska against the CDC's requirement that passengers be vaccinated.
Rees says the Port of Galveston lost nearly $40 million during the shutdown, but now hopes to start rebuilding old infrastructure, such as some old docks that were built in the 1930s.
And he expects more cruise lines to return soon.
"I think you're going to see over the next couple of months, Royal Caribbean coming back in. Disney will still be here in the Fall. You may see some other cruise lines coming in here for servicing and crewing up," Rees said.
The Carnival website says cabins start for that July 3rd cruise at $879.
Be sure to check the cancellation or change policies of any cruise before you book.