Port of Houston Suddenly a Hit

| Friday, 16 Nov 2012

Bayport is less than half the distance from Downtown and Hobby Intl. AirportWe all we are living in a tough economy, but one state that has managed to avoid many of the economic hits that are giving other states like California a bloody nose is Texas. Over the last six years we have seen the number of cruises departing from California drop by 60%. Meanwhile in the same time period, cruises from Texas have grown by a greater number.

But up till now the more popular cruise port was Galveston - the shore side community on the barrier island just off the coast of the city of Houston. But as of yesterday the city of Houston has staked its claim on the cruise business and has persuaded at least two cruise lines to commit to the more centrally located Bayport Cruise Terminal located at the Port of Houston, actually in Pasadena, a suburb of Houston and closer to downtown Houston and Hobby International Airport than the port of Galveston.

Have you ever sailed out of Texas? Tell us here: Cruise Forums

First we got news from Norwegian announcing they had reached an agreement with the city of Houston to sail from Bayport at least 75 times over the next three years, with the cruise line holding the option to extend that by two additional years. The ship will be the Norwegian Jewel, one of Norwegian's mid-sized ships carrying 2374 passengers. Norwegian actually sailed out of Houston back in 2007 with the smaller Norwegian Dream.

The Bayport Cruise Terminal located is a 96,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility said to have visual appeal, convenient passenger amenities, accessibility for the physically challenged and innovative security systems. Passenger drop-off areas are immediately adjacent to the front of the terminal and covered walkways connect the building to bus and private passenger drop-off and taxi stands. The cruise terminal also has close proximity to some of the city's finer restaurants and hotels.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, Norwegian Jewel will sail seven-day Western Caribbean cruises from the port. The 93,500 gross-ton Norwegian Jewel offers the largest suites at sea with the 5,000 square foot, three-bedroom Garden Villas. The ship has 14 dining options including French, Asian, American, Norwegian's signature steak house, Cagney's; and the line's newest restaurant, Moderno Churasscaria, a Brazilian-style steakhouse.

There is a casino; 10 bars and lounges with "world-class entertainment," a full-service spa and fitness center and for the kids exclusive Nickelodeon programming. Norwegian's cruises from Houston will go on sale to the public in mid-December 2013. To book a cruise, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 or visit www.ncl.com.

Princess Cruises Also Coming

Princess also announced it will bring the Caribbean Princess to Bayport beginning in November of 2013. A total of 26 departures have been firmed up for the 2013-2014 cruise season. The inaugural Nov. 5 cruise is a special event to support U.S. veterans expected to raise $1 million for two U.S. veterans organizations, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and Operation Homefront.

Caribbean Princess began sailing in 2004 and introduced the now signature Princess feature "Movies Under the Stars," a giant poolside movie theater featuring first run movies, concerts and sporting events, Onboard is an Italian-inspired Piazza, outdoor cabanas at The Sanctuary, and premium steak house the Crown Grill.

Both cruise lines said that economic activity from each cruise line is expected to generate $50 million annually, based on a study by independent consultant Martin Associates, including local purchases of $3.6 million. Over a four-year period, this is expected to result in a $200 million dollar economic impact to the greater Houston region over the four year period.

A total of 222 jobs will be touched, including the creation of almost 100 new jobs. An estimated $941,000 annually in state and local taxes is anticipated.

Have you ever sailed out of Texas? Tell us here: Cruise Forums

Recommended Articles