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Major Changes for Royal Caribbean in Galveston

Royal Caribbean’s confidence in Galveston continues to grow.

Since first coming to the island, the cruise line has battled right next to Carnival to win the dollars of cruise passengers. Traditionally, this has led to bigger and better ships. Liberty of the Seas, currently sailing from Galveston, is the largest and newest ship that Royal Caribbean has put on the island.

Now the cruise line is making another investment. This time, however, it’s much smaller.

Starting in November, Royal Caribbean will bring Vision of the Seas to Galveston. Vision of the Seas is an older ship — it was first launched in 1998. As well, it’s much smaller than the Liberty of the Seas, holding just about 2,500 passengers.

So why is a smaller, older ship such a big deal for Galveston?

Until now, Royal Caribbean had only the Liberty of the Seas sailing from the island. The ship’s route includes only week-long trips to the Caribbean. Meanwhile, Carnival has had several ships sailing from Galveston, with some going on shorter four and five-day cruises. If a cruise passenger wanted to go on a cruise shorter than seven days, then their only choice was to sail on Carnival.

This move puts Royal Caribbean in direct competition with Carnival for those shorter cruises. When the Vision begins sailing, it will take four and five-day trips to Mexico, including ports in Cozumel, Costa Maya, and Progreso. It will continue to sail those trips until being swapped with the Enchantment of the Seas — a ship of similar size and age — in 2018.

For most cruise ports, having a 20-year old cruise ship come to visit may not make a big fuss. But seeing how this opens up a much larger number of cruises for those sailing from Galveston, and it shows Royal Caribbean’s continued commitment to growing it’s Texas cruise business, it’s welcome news.

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