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.” 

Contact reporter Whitney Hodgin at 409-683-5236 or whitney.hodgin@galvnews.com

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(8) comments

Island Bred

Once again looks like Galveston got the short end of the contract stick.

Course you do have to spend money to make money in the business world. Hard to compete when other ports are paying bounties for business. Free market I suppose.

Well just a sad thing for the port.

1960BOI
Marine One

1st of all we already know lack of space had nothing to do with Princess - it was Houston offered the better deal and more money, so we lost. And secondly, yes, your job is to create jobs, and you're really doing a terrible job on both fronts.
A very successful local businessman hit the nail on the head. Our port receives zero dollars in tax revenue from the city. And we wonder why the port is sinking. Maybe we need to clean out the leadership and start with some fresh, new and bold ideas. The cobwebs ain't cuttin it.

Billie Burke
Billie Burke

I agree with the previous comment about needing fresh, new, and bold ideas. I also know I'm quite uninformed on this subject. So please excuse my naiveté when I ask:

Why have a "cruise" ship port at all anymore? I mean, $1.23 million annually per ship doesn't sound like all that much. What revenue and jobs might we generate if the entire area were converted to a channel-side destination area in-and-of itself -- with shops and dining, hotels and amusements, so forth and so on? The downtown area is a gem of a place, and imagine what we might be able to do with the valuable real estate that is the cruiseline terminals.

Again, maybe someone else already has these numbers, but my question is would replacing the cruise terminal business with a hotel/restaraunt/shopping business in the same spot be something better?

Yes, I agree we need vision here. Maybe becoming a perpetual parking lot for cruises that take people away from our tourist economy isn't quite it.

Timmothy1987

@Billie Burke/ First of all I work on the port and the cruise ships are my bread and butter, it does create job, it does bring money, and we don't need more dining we don't need more hotels and as far as the ships taking tourists away from our attractions what do you think they do before and after the cruise the bottom line is don't speak on the which you don't know about think of all the jobs that would be lost over it security, longshoreman, cruise parking, shuttle busses, people who work in the terminals such as cleaning and passenger checkin.

1960BOI
Marine One

I don't think billieburke is suggesting job loss, timmothy. I think it's more brainstorming. There's not a single job in Galveston anyone wants to see go away. Even the hookers are trying to make a buck, so cut BB some slack. The port has always been a diamond in the rough, with the wrong vision, direction and lack of bold leadership.
The city needs to begin talks immediately to include the port in receiving tax revenues as a minimum. The port needs to take a long hard look at the good-ol-boy mentality, then heave it overboard and start with fresh ideas. It aint moving forward because of all the dead weight sitting around in offices punching their time cards.

Billie Burke
Billie Burke

Yes, Timmothy. . .just trying to brainstorm. As I prefaced my statement, I'm quite uninformed about the port economy.

However, I for one would like to see something that would spawn a multitude of jobs of all sorts. I suspect that other than the technical aspects of tending a ship, cruiselines are just other members of the hospitality industry -- they are floating hotels, restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues.

I don't want jobs to leave -- I want people to move TO the Island, and quality of life is a key reason for business relocation. Perhaps, there is a win-win here for both people whose business it is to tend large ships, and those who would like to see something wonderful and different happen for Galveston job growth.

Imagine both the South and North sides of the Island hopping with business opportunities for everyone, and downtown Galveston retail growing in-between.

Steve Fouga

Right, Billie -- both North Side and South Side!

Galveston is blessed with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Port of Galveston on the other, but doesn't know quite what to do with either! It's amazing to me!

Imagine you were told of an island with 30 miles of sandy beach, a deepwater port, hundreds of historic buildings, a charming downtown, and excellent restaurants, just 50 miles from the nation's 4th-largest city. You would probably envision a thriving, bustling resort town -- clean, well-kept, well-run, and rich.

Instead, we can't get out of our own way in our long slide from prosperity to mediocrity, to irrelevance. I'm glad you're brainstorming; somebody needs to! It would be a lot easier if the GDN would reinstate the frickin' forum tab! I was lucky to even find your post!

Island Bred

Pitiful ain't it Jake!!

Last time I knew of anyone at the port doing double duty was when a friend of ours who worked for the port - wore the seagul costume at venues as well....... been a long time since the Port of Galveston was in daily conversations. The POG used to be very visable part of Galveston. Now not so much.

Some revamping is a very good idea. I remember as a kid we had all sorts of ships comming in from all over the world. Most loaded with goods but many with pasengers as well.

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