Tuesday, November 25, 2014

7 Great Close to Home Cruises From Same Port

I just returned from a meeting with Carnival Cruise Lines top sales personnel where I learned what is new for 2015 with Carnival Cruise Line. They really do have a lot of great things happening in 2015 and I could spend a lot of type talking about them. 

However, during the course of their presentation the VP for domestic sales said to this crowd of about 500 Travel Industry people meeting in Houston, "Thank you for making the Port of Galveston the number one cruise port for Carnival." 

 For more years than I want to remember I have been telling anyone who would listen at any cruise line I could pin down that Galveston would be a great cruise port. But every time I'd bring it up I'd get some kind of dismissive answer as to why it would not work. I was told everything from, "The Gulf Stream gets in the way" to "We tried that once and people just will not sail from Galveston" along with a lot of other prattle. 

But in my gut I knew I was right and they were wrong. I knew this for several reasons. First, I knew Galveston. The island is centrally located on the Texas Gulf Coast near the 4th largest consentration of people in the country and already has the infrastructure to support modern cruising. Second, historically (up until the terrible storm of 1900) Galveston was the largest port of the Gulf of Mexico including New Orleans. Third, I could read the tea leaves concerning the airlines and their increasing list of add-on charges, public dislike of flying in todays climate and the hassle of airport security . . .  and how people were going to want driving distance cruise ports. 

Well, for whatever reason, Carnival decided to send an old rusty bucket of a ship, the Carnival Inspiration, to Galveston. I remember vibrating all the way to Cozumel on one of its early sailings. With hard work by Travel Agents and Carnival BDM's cruising from Galveston began to take hold.  

A few others tried. Celebrity sent the "Galaxy" there for one season and Norwegian sent the old "Norwegian Dream" for a little while. But I have to had it to Carnival . . . they stuck it out and it has paid off in a big way.  Galveston has gone from a backwater port for all the cruise lines to Carnival's number one port with three ships sailing year round. The "Carnival Triumph" does short cruises, The "Carnival Magic" does a couple of 7 day itineraries while the newly refurbished sister to the Magic, the "Carnival Freedom" does 7 day and a few longer more exotic cruises. In addition Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and  Princess have seasonal sailings from the area. 

So, if your tired of going on the same ship to the same old places then check out what the Port of Galveston and the Bayport Cruise Terminal have to offer. You have 7 ships  from which to choose and a handful of itineraries some of which include paces like Bonaire.  

Let me encourage you to try a cruise out of Galveston and let me help you put it all together. I am anxious to book my 10 day exotic cruise aboard the Carnival Freedom and would love to have a bunch of my friends join me.  

Let me encourage you to arrive in the city a day or two early. Galveston is a great place to start your vacation a day or two early. Not many people know that Galveston has one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations in the country and if you time it right you can celebrate Dickens on the Strand. The Strand, Galveston's historic district is available year round. Additionally, there is the Lone Star Museum of Flight, Moody Gardens, the tall ship Elyssa and beaches everywhere.  

Personally, even though I live within easy driving distance, I like to spend a couple of nights at the historic Galvez Hotel (leave car there while on cruise), take in a seafood dinner at the world class Gaidos Seafood Inn  

I don't know if you figured it out or not but Galveston is my favorite domestic cruise port. Give it a try and I think you'll find it is your favorite as well.