Carnival Magic: Next Stop, Galveston?

June 15, 2010

(2 p.m. EDT) -- It was big news when Carnival Cruise Lines first announced that the 130,000-ton, 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic -- the second in its brand-new Dream class -- would debut in May 2011 with a series of Mediterranean sailings. But cruisers wondered: When and where would the ship arrive Stateside?

All signs today point to Galveston, a move that would 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.

Word first came via the Cruise Critic's message boards, with readers posting actual booking confirmations -- minus personal details, of course -- for a 16-night transatlantic cruise departing Barcelona on October 28, 2011, and arriving in Galveston on November 13. Travel agents have confirmed to Cruise Critic that the ship will indeed arrive in Galveston on November 13, and, further, that space is being held for a Caribbean cruise departing out of Galveston on that date. Cruise Critic was unable to confirm additional details beyond the November 13 departure.

The port of Galveston's Web site cruise calendar has yet to include the dates, and a representative from the port was unavailable for comment. A spokesperson for Carnival told Cruise Critic, "We expect to announce her North American homeport and her itineraries in the next couple of weeks."

John Heald, Carnival's Senior Cruise Director and mischievous blogger, also teased at a forthcoming announcement from the line. "I have been promising that PA 007 our super spy would be breaking the news on where your Carnival Magic will make her home port. Well...I think this week....may well be the week..." It was Heald who first revealed Magic's European itineraries when he posted a video of himself in January reading aloud a copy of a press release said to be obtained "from a spy."

Interestingly, a Carnival cruise vacation specialist told Cruise Critic that the transatlantic cruise was initially opened up in error -- they intended to serve only a group booking, but briefly opened the channel to public traffic. As of now, the mistake has been "corrected," and the line has nothing in the system (for booking) beyond October 16, 2011, when the ship sails into Barcelona to conclude a Mediterranean cruise.

Stay tuned.

--by Dan Askin, Associate Editor