And what they will cost you
GALVESTON, TEXAS--The state of the cruise industry in North America remains in a state of flux. The major cruise lines that service U.S. ports of call are making serious plans to resume cruising under the CDC's guidance. The CDC officially lifted its No Sail order in November 2020 but replaced it with a strict set of standards that must be met prior to the resumption of cruising.
Those restrictions have been questioned repeatedly by the industry as the CDC has no such restrictions on either the hotel industry or airline industry. Obviously, cruising puts passengers not only in close contact with one another for an extended period of time but takes them away from robust medical care for the duration of the cruise.
It has not been the CDC's restrictions that have kept cruise lines from restarting, however. In most cases, it is restrictions related to the ports of call, particularly in foreign countries. Because the government of Canada has banned ships carrying more than 100 passengers from docking at Canadian ports for the remainder of 2021, the entire Alaskan cruise season has been canceled by the major lines, as have the fall foliage cruises on the east coast.
The primary reason those sailings had to be canceled is that in order to meet the long-standing Passenger Vessel Safety Act restriction, ships that are not American owned, American built, and utilizing predominantly American citizens for staff and crew, must call at least one foreign port before transporting citizens between U.S. ports.
Currently scheduled from Houston/Galveston
While there are no Alaskan cruises on the horizon this summer, the Caribbean and Mexico are expected to welcome the return of cruising. With that in mind, here's what Texas cruisers can book right now for cruising this summer from the Port of Galveston.
And for out-of-staters, the port is an easy trip via shuttle or rental car from either of the Houston airports: George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) or Houston Hobby (HOU).
Royal Caribbean expects to be operating four, five, and seven-night cruises from the port on Liberty of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas beginning June 2.
Explorer will alternate a 4-night route to Cozumel with a 5-night sailing that adds a stop at Costa Maya. Prices for the peak summer season from June to mid-August start at $678 for the 4-night cruise and $734 for the 5-night.
As hurricane season approaches and school resumes, the prices drop to as low as $361 for 4 nights and $448 for 5.
Liberty will operate a 7-night itinerary that includes Roatan, Costa Maya, and Cozumel with three sea days. Initial summer prices start at around $1000 but drop to as low as $473 in late August and September.
Carnival expects to have three ships based out of Galveston this summer: Breeze, Vista, and Dream.
Breeze will be sailing 4 and 5-night itineraries to Cozumel, with the 5-nighter adding a stop in Costa Maya. Prices begin around the $500 mark for either length and dropping into the $280 range by late summer and into September.
Vista will operate a 7-night route that alternates between a schedule of Cozumel, Roatan, and Belize with one that includes Cozumel, Jamaica, and Grand Cayman. Prices start at $779 early in the season but drop closer to $500 as the summer wanes.
Dream will be running 6-night schedules to Cozumel and Costa Maya, alternating Belize City and Mahogany Bay, Jamaica as the third port. Prices begin at $629 early in the summer, before dropping as low as $379 in late September.
All ports of call and itineraries are subject to change based on weather and/or COVID-19 restrictions imposed within individual ports.