GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The terminals were empty Sunday morning, just as they've been for too long, according to locals and cruise ship industry insiders.
While Sunday's arrival of a pair of Carnival cruise ships at the Port of Galveston doesn't mean passengers will be boarding immediately, the occasion signals some hope.
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"Their intentions are to stay here, crew up, and do some work on the ships. So they'll be here when it's time to start cruising, and we're hoping that it's quick," Port of Galveston CEO Rodger Rees said last week.
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The Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista docked along the harborside Sunday, the first time since April 2020.
The CDC told cruise line operators last week that sailing from U.S. ports like Galveston could resume as early as July, provided most crew members and passengers are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Cruise ships have already resumed in other countries and will expand this summer in the Caribbean and Europe. Officials said in Texas $1.2 billion in spending is tied to the cruise industry, with 23,000 people connected to it with their jobs.
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In Galveston, there's $115 million in local spending, with 3,638 jobs tied to the cruise industry. While ships set sail in other countries, Galveston lots could remain empty for months. It takes approximately 60 days to ready ships for voyages, according to cruise industry officials.
For locals, resuming those voyages won't come a moment too soon.
"Try it out. Let's try it out," business owner Henry Robledo said. "Airplanes still function. There are still trains that are still operating. All I can say is let's try it out. Let's give it a try."
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Cruise ships return to Galveston, hopes to welcome passengers this summer
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