(11:30 a.m. EDT) -- Texas has officially landed a sea monster. The 130,000-ton, 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic -- due out in May 2011 as the second in Carnival Cruise Lines' brand-new Dream class -- will homeport in Galveston, following its maiden season in Europe.
As we previously reported, the then-rumored and now-confirmed move will provide a massive boost to the mid-size Texas port, best known for homeporting "mature" hardware with a minimum of 10 years service at sea. Notably, though Carnival Magic is the largest ship to sail from the port year-round, it's not the largest ship, tonnage-wise, ever to grace Galveston; that title belongs to Royal Caribbean's 137,308-ton, 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas.
John Heald, Carnival's Senior Cruise Director and rascally blogger, broke the news last night via a video post, and Carnival Cruise Lines filled in the itinerary information this morning in a press release.
"It's a beautiful day here in the U.K.," Heald said into the camera. "And I just got off the phone with our super spy, PA007. He ... or she ... came out their cubicle to tell me that tomorrow there will be an official press release about the homeport for your Carnival Magic, and I'm breaking the news to you now, that it's going to be ... Texas. Congratulations Galveston." Heald went on to announce the homeports for three other ships (before telling viewers that he had to go change his infant's diaper).
Carnival Magic will operate a season of seven-night cruises out of Galveston beginning on November 14, 2011, and the ship will sail both Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries through April 2012. The Western Caribbean cruise will stop in Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel; the Eastern Caribbean cruise will visit Nassau, Freeport and Key West. Before that, the ship will debut in May 2011 with a full season of seven-, nine- and 12-night Mediterranean cruises out of Barcelona, followed by a 16-night transatlantic, Barcelona to Galveston, scheduled for October 28, 2011.
Also headed to Galveston for year-round service is the 102,000-ton, 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph, which currently calls New Orleans home. Triumph will sail year-round four- and five-night Caribbean cruises from Galveston beginning on October 6, 2011. Between the two ships, Carnival will carry some 450,000 passengers from the port annually.
To make way for Magic and Triumph, the 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest and the 70,367-ton, 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy, both currently stationed in Galveston, will move to New Orleans, where they will offer a series of four-, five- and seven-night Caribbean cruises. This will return the line's capacity in the Big Easy to pre-Katrina levels.
--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor
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