With the addition of the [Disney_Magic] to the Port of Galveston the port had a little problem, they had just enough berthing space to accommodate 3 ships at any given time. The temporary plan was to squeeze the 3 vessels into the port with a mere 60 feet of clearance between them.
It looks like one cruise line was not satisfied with this plan according to an article posted by The Galveston Daily News. Princess Cruises has decided that they are not interested in dealing with the tight fit at the Port of Galveston along with the potential passenger bottleneck at the terminal. Princess Cruises informed port officials that it was not willing to sacrifice their customers’ satisfaction. As a result Princess Cruises will be moving to Houston’s Bayport Cruise Terminal for the 2013-14 season. Carnival Corp, which owns Princess Cruises, has an exclusivity agreement with the Port of Galveston that prohibits them from sailing from any other Texas ports unless there is not enough berthing space to accommodate one of its ships.
The Port of Galveston is a victim of it’s own success according to Port Director, Mike Mierzwa. The port has invested $65 million over the last 12 years, but without long term commitments they cannot justify borrowing additional funds to expand. Back in August, Disney Cruise Line was only willing to commit to a 2 year operating agreement. Carnival Cruise Lines has committed to a 5-year agreement, but this came at a cost as the Port of Galveston invested $15 million to improve the terminal, the pier and loading bridge for the Carnival Magic.
While this is a loss for the Port of Galveston, it should have a positive impact for Disney cruisers sailing from Galveston. There is now potential for Disney Cruise Line, if they were interested, to make Galveston a true second home port akin to Port Canaveral. Personally, I do not see this happening, but it does merit some consideration given the Port’s willingness to expand. Thus giving Disney Cruise Line an upper hand in any negotiations.
Do you think it would be worthwhile for Disney to make a long term commitment to the Port of Galveston?