RIP, Bayport Cruise Terminal
Going on cruises is a remarkably convenient thing for people who live in a landlocked state to do if they want to kill a few days, or even a week at sea.
Galveston has long been home to cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, NCL and Princess over the years. As cruise ports go, Galveston is far from ideal. The pier is downtown meaning parking is facilitated mostly by area hotels, and one large parking company with a lot away from the terminal that requires a less than relaxing trip from the parking lot to the pier.
In short, Galveston is a bit of a mess and likely always will be due to the logistics, limited real estate to work with and other factors. But its popular and for the most part, does the job.
Meanwhile, Bayport's process is a dream. My wife and I recently went on a Princess cruise that left from the terminal. Between the time we parked and the time we walked onto the ship was less than 20 minutes, including security. We sailed from that port last year, and it was the same story. It took us about the same amount of time to disembark.
So why are NCL and Princess pulling up anchor soon, leaving the $100 million cruise terminal vacant at the end of this season?
1-Their government subsidies ran out.
2-The Houston shipping channel is narrow, making it trickier on windy days and also seems to be extremely fog prone. Fog has delayed arrivals and departures on a regular basis since the facility came online in 2012.
There doesn't seem to be much of an appetite for other lines to begin using the terminal, either, which means it will likely decay slowly after sitting empty for a long time to come.
That's a shame because it had a lot of things going for it, not the least of which was a process that made boarding a cruise ship a breeze.