As Galveston struggles to recover from Hurricane Ike's hit in September, at least one part of town is back in business: the cruise port. Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Ecstasy resumed regular service from Galveston today -- and Carnival Conquest will return tomorrow. Both ships were temporarily redeployed after the storm to Houston's new Bayport cruise terminal.
According to a cruise line spokesman, Carnival Ecstasy arrived in Galveston today at 3 p.m. local time after dropping off the last voyage's passengers in Houston, and departed with new passengers at 6 p.m.
Carnival Ecstasy sails four- and five-night Western Caribbean cruises year-round, and Carnival Conquest alternates weeklong Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries. Carnival is currently the only line sailing from Galveston year-round. Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas is scheduled to begin a season of Western Caribbean sailings from the port in December.
In other news, Texas state officials have withdrawn a request to borrow money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to charter Regal Empress for emergency housing in Port Orange. According to media reports, the decision was made after officials discovered that silt deposits would make it impossible for the cruise ship to enter the port, 120 nautical miles from Galveston.
--by Melissa Baldwin Paloti, Managing Editor
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Carnival Ships Return to Galveston
November 1, 2008