GALVESTON — Mickey Mouse will not set sail from Galveston as often as originally planned.
The Disney Cruise Line, which started sailing out of the Port of Galveston in September, will not be returning to the port in 2014, the port’s director and a Disney spokesperson confirmed.
Disney signed a two-year operating agreement with Galveston from September 2012 until September 2014, which means Disney was scheduled to sail either the Magic or the Wonder from the Port of Galveston until May 2014, Port Director Mike Mierzwa said.
Rebecca Peddie, Disney Cruise Line’s manager of public affairs, said the cruise line’s contract with the port was until the end of 2013.
The company announced Dec. 4 the Disney Magic would be sailing out of Port Canaveral, Fla., beginning in 2014.
Mierzwa said he got the call from Disney in November.
“They hadn’t formally scheduled cruises out of Galveston for 2014, but we had a tentative schedule for 19 cruises during the first four and a half months of 2014,” Mierzwa said.
“There’s going to be loss of revenue to the port,” he said. “This was going to be a component of our 2014 budget. We will have to find other ways to make up for that.”
Losing approximately 20 cruises equals $1.234 million in operating revenue and about 8,000 hours for labor, Mierzwa said.
“We will have to find new ways to find work hours for the guys on the port,” he said. “We’re supposed to be creating jobs.”
Peddie said the cruise line had a good experience in Galveston but made the decision to try a different port based on guest demand for more options out of Port Canaveral.
“We’re very disappointed that they’re going to be leaving in January 2014,” Mierzwa said. “On the other hand, we’re pleased Disney chose to bring their product to the Gulf Coast.”
Had Disney called him sooner, Mierzwa said he might have been able to prevent the Princess Cruise Line from announcing it would move its Caribbean Princess from the Port of Galveston to the Port of Houston for the 2014-15 operational year, citing lack of space in Galveston.
That agreement with the Port of Houston was for one year, Mierzwa said.
“Certainly I would like to have them come back to Galveston after that,” he said. “I already reached out to them and said I’d give them the first option.”