(12:45 p.m. EST) -- Carnival Cruise Line is increasing its capacity in Galveston by bringing Carnival Dream to the island, while at the same time increasing the capacity of its short sailings program in New Orleans by replacing Carnival Triumph with Carnival Valor. Both changes will occur in 2019.
In a nod both to the importance of short sailings for its passengers and Galveston as a Gulf Coast cruise port, Carnival will replace 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor with 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream in May 2019. Dream will operate four- and five-night cruises to Mexico, making it the newest and largest Carnival ship to operate short cruises from Texas. Dream joins Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018.
At the same time, Carnival Valor, which is currently based in Galveston, will shift to New Orleans, replacing 2,758-passenger Carnival Triumph, to begin year-round four- and five-night cruises. (Carnival Triumph's new homeport will be announced at a later time.) This switch increases the capacity of Carnival's short sailings in New Orleans by about 200 passengers per sailing. But the line's capacity in the city overall will go down as 2,980-passenger Carnival Glory takes over the year-round seven-night cruises previously operated by the much larger Carnival Dream.
Though Carnival Valor will not be the largest ship to homeport in NOLA -- that honor will go to Norwegian Breakaway when it moves to the city in November 2018 -- it will be the largest ship offering year-round short cruises in New Orleans. (Norwegian Breakaway's shortest cruises will be a week long.)
From both ports, four-night long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-night sailings depart Mondays and Saturdays and call at Cozumel and Progreso. Some five-night itineraries from Galveston will feature Cozumel and Costa Maya, instead of Progreso.
--By Dori Saltzman, Senior Editor