Posted on March 20, 2023
Cruising is making a big comeback. Cruise lines say bookings are rolling in like tall waves. And the Port of Galveston is welcoming new ships and terminal upgrades.
Cruise passengers are bidding a farewell to the pandemic, and saying ‘all aboard’ to deals that have been up to 30% off. But that high demand is already starting to drive prices back up.
“Now is the time to book for the best deals, because they’re going to continue to go up and sell out,” recommends AAA Texas Travel Advisor Ginger Davis.
The Port of Galveston is seeing a tsunami of growth. In November, Royal Caribbean opened a new $125 million, solar-powered terminal, with speedy check-in and check-out.
“It’s state of the art. It’s net-zero for electricity use. The first of any cruise terminal in the United States. It’s got facial recognition so when you come in they already know who you are,” said Rodger Rees, Director and CEO of the Port of Galveston.
This December, the Norwegian Prima will start sailing from Galveston, Carnival will replace its Vista ship with the new, bigger Jubilee. In 2024, the Carnival Miracle will offer longer excursions from the port.
“The Royal has been doing that, going as far south as Cartagena, Columbia, and those areas down there. And I think Carnival is seeing that,” said Rees.
The Carnival terminal will get a $40 million upgrade.
“The Jubilee is going to bring 2,000 more passengers with that ship. Now we have to enhance our embarkation areas, our check-in areas, to handle that many more people,” said Rees.
And MSC Cruises are in negotiations to add a fourth cruise terminal.
While cruise prices are starting to rise, a travel advisor can help you save money.
“If you’re flexible, we really have the ability to go in and look at different dates, and different cruise lines,” said Davis, suggesting September and early December as good weeks to save.
“Prepaying your gratuities, getting your shore excursions early, and buying your drink package early, because it’s at a discounted rate most of the time,” she suggested can also help you cut costs.
The Port of Galveston also offers a pre-paid parking discount and rewards program to save money, and license plate recognition which can save you time.
Travel experts at The Points Guy also suggest you can save big by booking a cruise while you are already on a cruise, using credits the cruise lines offer.