Houston Bayport terminal loses Princess, NCL
News this past week that the fairly new Bayport Cruise Terminal in the suburbs of Houston will be without tenants after both Princess and NCL decided to no longer sail from the $100 million port that opened in 2008, but has only recently seen increased traffic.
Both lines are expected to pull out by early to mid 2016.
The cruise lines site the lengthy trip through a fairly busy Houston shipping channel to get out into the open water as one reason why they are leaving. Lines can't open up their casinos and stores when they are in US waters and the lengthy, multi-hour trek through the channel doesn't do much to boost revenue when people can't play slots or toss the dice.
The other reason is the fog problems the port must contend with. I was on a Princess sailing back in early March and we were stuck in port overnight because of fog, not leaving until noon the following day. Amazingly we didn't miss any ports, though I suspect we were very lucky there.
Princess says they are open to returning at some point, but since the port will always be deep inside the channel and the fog problems can't be mitigated by human intervention it doesn't look like much will happen to change their mind.
The terminal has turned into something of a boondoggle for local officials who battled controversy over the terminal's environmental impact, which is interesting considering the entire area is dotted with oil refineries as far as the eye can see. The facility's cost and questions as to whether or not Texas could support two ports have dogged the project from the beginning.
There's also not much to do in LaPorte or any of the other communities in the area, unlike Galveston.
So for now, Galveston is back as the lone departure point for cruises to the Caribbean which are popular with Oklahomans because of the relatively easy driving distance from here to Galveston.
That port has a lot of problems, not the least of which is that it is in a very compressed, historic downtown area that is quite a mess on port days. Officials have promised improvements, and some things have been made better since I first cruised out of the port 10 years ago, but overall Bayport was far easier to use and infinitely more pleasant.