Galveston prepping for arrival of Disney cruise

July 10, 2012 3:24:22 PM PDT
The Galveston Cruise Terminal is getting ready to play host to another ship. This September, the Disney Magic is coming to the island, and the port is preparing for the increased traffic.

There are two terminals here but with bigger cruise ships coming to Galveston, the port needs more room to fit the ships and the schedules cruise lines demand.

While the Galveston Cruise Terminal sits quietly today, when ships come in the place is packed. It's both good and bad news for Port Director Michael Mierzwa.

"The thing with the cruise industry is they're really interested. They seem to want to sail on either a Saturday or a Sunday," he said.

With three large ships planning to leave from Galveston within the same sailing dates, juggling schedules gets tough.

"We're not going to be able to accommodate three bigger ships that are coming in 2013 without doing some further improvements to the wharf; and then we have to look at the terminal configuration and see how we are going to workout with customs and folks getting their bags and all that," Mierzwa said.

Building a third terminal is also under consideration with plans in the preliminary stages right now.

"We have about 100 acres of undeveloped property over on Pelican Island, which is across the channel from the City of Galveston and I had a thought about possibly putting a cruise terminal over there," Mierzwa said.

Another challenge for the City, luring passengers into Galveston before they get on board the cruise ship.

"The great thing about Galveston is that in downtown, there's so much to do. So when you are at the terminal and you see everything just across the street, it's great that we have that visibility and that we can get people down here," said Leah Cast with the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau.

One plan aimed at enticing tourists is to offer free cruise parking with an overnight hotel stay.

"You leave your car at the hotel, you'll receive free parking while you are there and you'll get a shuttle to the port. So versus coming and paying maybe $70 or $80 to park somewhere anyway, you're getting a hotel stay with that and you get a chance to experience what Galveston has to offer while you're here," Cast said.

As for getting the Disney Magic, officials say they are ready, but did spend about an hour or so figuring out where exactly Disney characters will be doing the photo-ops with passengers.

Otherwise the terminal is ready.

KTRK is owned by the Walt Disney Co.

Load Comments