Citing scheduling conflicts, Royal Caribbean won’t move a second full-time cruise ship to Galveston until 2019, delaying its anticipated arrival date and forcing the Port of Galveston to make financial adjustments.
But port officials say the decision doesn’t mean the cruise line is cooling on Galveston.
“It’s essentially just scheduling,” interim Port Director Peter Simons said. “In fact, that was the first thing they told me when they called — that this is not at all a lack of commitment to Galveston and that they definitely see four- and five-day cruises from Galveston as something that fits in well to Royal Caribbean’s itinerary.”
Enchantment of the Seas was slated to join Royal Caribbean’s other year-round ship, Liberty of the Seas, in sailing from the island starting June 23, after moving from Miami, company officials said in May.
Enchantment of the Seas will still arrive in Galveston, but its arrival will now either be in October or November or in the spring of 2019, Simons said.
The delay means port officials had to adjust their budget expectations for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Jan. 1.
“Roughly, we had to adjust the budget by about $400,000 to $450,000,” Simons said.
Galveston could miss out on about 65 ship calls because of the delay, said Ted O’Rourke, chairman of the port’s governing board.
The port depends heavily on revenues from cruise ships. The budget for the 2017 fiscal year anticipates about 62 percent of the port’s $38.6 million in revenues will be cruise-related.
The Port of Galveston ranks as the fourth-busiest cruise port in the United States.
The Port of Galveston is a landlord port, which generates much of its income from lease agreements with maritime tenants and fees related to ship calls.
Another Royal Caribbean ship, Vision of the Seas, began seasonal sailing from the island on Nov. 6, offering four- and five-day Western Caribbean cruises.
Vision of the Seas will remain in Galveston until April 16, but would return seasonally in October or November if Enchantment of the Seas is not yet sailing from the island, Simons said.
“Maybe we can muster up some things in Enchantment of the Seas’ place,” O’Rourke said.
When Enchantment of the Seas arrives in Galveston, it will give the island five year-round cruise ships.
The port is home to three year-round Carnival Cruise Line ships, one year-round Royal Caribbean ship, one seasonal Royal Caribbean ship and a seasonal Disney Cruise Lines ship.