PortandTerminal.com, April 29, 2020
GALVESTON, TX – The Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees on Tuesday voted unanimously to adjust its 2020 budget under the assumption that no cruises will sail this year because of cancellations caused by the coronavirus.
The vote amended the Port of Galveston’s budget, lowering the amount of money officials project the port will collect by $14.8 million, projecting total net income of about $40 million. At the beginning of this year, the port projected total net income at $54.5 million.
Cruise lines more optimistic about restarting
The cruise lines are all over the map in terms of when they say they will restart their operations.
Carnival announced earlier this month that it was extending its cancellation of cruise operations until June 26th and will restart them on July 27th.
One smaller line, A-Rosa, says it will resume its river cruises in Europe as soon as May 13th, just two weeks from now. That seems unlikely to happen.
Disney Cruise Lines say that it has suspended all new departures through June 18, 2020. Holland America has said that all bookings are cancelled through June 30.
UPDATE: MSC announced Wednesday, April 29th that it plans to resume cruising July 10. Previously it had halted all new cruises until May 29. Affected guests receive a 125% credit for a future cruise to be taken before Dec. 31, 2021.
Cruise lines’ eagerness to resume operations is understandable. They are haemorrhaging money and desperately need to get back to work.
But resuming cruise operations require ports and local governments that are willing to accept cruise ships knowing their track record in handling COVID-19 outbreaks on their vessels.
The Port of Galveston is though is taking a more conservative approach to when it foresees a return normal cruise operations.
“We basically are saying the probability is we get no cruises this year, and this is the worst-case scenario,” Wharves Board of Trustees Chairman Albert Shannon said. “We basically are eliminating those items of revenue and also recognizing that we will be able to reduce some of the expenses related to cruises.”
No cruise ships have left the port of Galveston since March 13 because of a worldwide shutdown of cruises caused by the COVID-19 crisis. A no-sail order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has halted all cruises in the country possibly through the middle of July — although federal officials could lift the order sooner.
“We basically are saying the probability is we get no cruises this year, and this is the worst-case scenario,”Albert Shannon, Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees Chairman
Carnival Cruise Line has canceled all of its cruises worldwide through at least June 26. Royal Caribbean Cruises has canceled all of its cruises through June 11.
Together, Royal Caribbean and Carnival were scheduled to operate 304 cruises out of the Port of Galveston in 2020. Disney Cruise Lines was scheduled to offer another 12 cruises around the winter holidays.
To date, 64 cruises have left from the port this year.
The decision to assume a year-long shutdown was not based on any special information. If cruises do return this year, the port could readjust its budget upward, Shannon said.
PortandTerminal.com reached out to PortMiami, America’s largest cruise port, to ask how the cancellation of cruises has affected their budgets but received no response.
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