GALVESTON, Texas – On Saturday, history was made at the Port of Galveston.
A Carnival cruise ship set sail for the first time in 16 months.
Over the last 486 days, the cruise line industry had to suspend operations because of the pandemic.
Many people said they are glad ships are returning to the port and business is opening back up.
“Oh, my goodness, excited is not the word we have waited on this for so long,” one passenger said.
On the eve of the Fourth of July, the Carnival Vista set sail from the Port of Galveston.
“This is going to be the first cruise back for Carnival Cruise line and we couldn’t be happier,” said Carnival President Christine Duffy.
On Saturday, hundreds of people like Ronald Von-Gober unloaded their bags and checked in for a much-needed vacation.
“Well, it’s been a long time, people really want to blow off some steam,” Von-Gober said.
It has been 16 months since a ship left the Port of Houston Galveston because of the pandemic. Duffy said workers have been waiting for this day.
“They have been so excited as they’ve been rejoining the ships and you can feel the energy when you go on board,” Duffy said.
Duffy says passengers on the ship are fully vaccinated. People will not have to wear a mask or practice social distancing, but she reminds guests to be aware of the safety protocols.
Kelly Collins is happy things are getting back to normal.
“We’ve been vaccinated so that we can actually be on the ship,” Collins said.
Passengers are off to a seven-day cruise to Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Belize City and Cozumel.
“Hey, Vista! We missed you! We really did,” one passenger said.
In addition to Carnival Vista’s departure, Carnival Horizon begins sailing from Port Miami on July 4 and Carnival Breeze from Galveston on July 15. While Carnival Miracle kicks off the line’s Alaska season from Seattle on July 27.
Mardi Gras, the line’s newest ship, sets sail from Port Canaveral on July 31. Other ships in the Carnival fleet will begin service in August.
Carnival Cruise Line was the first cruise line to recognize the incredible potential of Galveston as a homeport, launching the port’s first year-round cruises in 2000.