Disney Cruise Line inks 10-year deal with Port of Galveston
Disney Cruise Line is getting more comfortable away from Florida ahead of its fleet expansion.
The Port of Galveston signed a 10-year agreement for an increase in presence from the cruise line, which has sailed seasonally there since 2012.
Disney Magic or Disney Wonder, the line’s smallest and oldest ships have dabbled in Galveston sailings almost yearly since then, but often for only a couple of months.
The agreement, which was discussed at the port’s Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday and is back-dated to Nov. 1, 2018, calls for a large increase in sailings from the port over the first five years. This year, the line will sail only 12 times from the port and the agreement calls for 26 sailings in the future.
“They want to continue and they stopped short of obligating a year-round ship here, but I do know they have three ships being built, so I think it's a good chance to get a full-time ship here,” said Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees.
The deal is a replacement of an existing preferential berthing agreement and has an option to renew for two more five-year periods. It features an increase in tariffs from the current rate of $4.15 to $7.50 per passenger and a minimum commitment of $1.1 million annually whether Disney sails from the port or not.
“Our guests have loved visiting Galveston and setting sail from this historic port to the western Caribbean, Key West and the Bahamas,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Signature Experiences and Disney Cruise Line in a press release. “As we plan to expand our fleet and introduce new experiences and entertainment aboard our ships, we couldn’t be more excited to extend our commitment with the Port of Galveston.”
The cruise line is set to bring three more ships online from 2021-2023 growing its fleet from four to seven. Its more recent ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have always sailed from Port Canaveral, while Disney Magic and Wonder have handled the touring duties, sailing to Europe and Alaska in the summer and trying out other ports including PortMiami, Los Angeles and even New Orleans in 2020.
Port Canaveral officials have stated that at least two of the three new ships will be sailing from the Orlando-area port, which has been the primary base for each of Disney’s ships when they debut.
The Port of Galveston agreement, though, calls for a shared terminal that can accommodate ships the size of Disney Magic and Wonder or larger. When the new ships begin sailing, Disney may let Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy try out new homes.
Disney is set to sail fall 2019 from Galveston, but has yet to announce fall and winter itineraries for 2020-2021. Expect those in May.
“We are thrilled to be able to continue to give Texas and the southwest region of the United States the opportunity to experience Disney cruise vacations from their own backyard,” said Rees said. “We are proud to be one of the few selected homeports for Disney Cruise Line.”