Vista will take her inaugural voyage from the port on September 23 with more than 3,900 passengers onboard. Before that happens, the cruise port needed modifications. The terminal had to receive a longer gangway for guests. With the Carnival Cruise Line ship measuring 1,055 feet, Galveston's berth also needed extension. The cruise port lengthened the berth via installing new bollards (large chunks of metal to which the vessel is tied) atop pilings driven 125 ft below the ship channel floor.
The renovations came in under the US$3.5 million budget, and port officials also painted the cruise terminal and installed brand new LED lighting. Final touches were added in July.
Larger vessels mean more revenue for the cruise port. The docking rates of Galveston are based on the weight or length of a ship, and cruise companies must pay fees for each of their passengers. In 2017, the Port of Galveston saw around 1 million passengers, and expects to surpass 1 million in 2018, late September or early October.
Carnival Vista’s title of biggest cruise ship in port Galveston would be replaced in case a 3rd cruise ship terminal is built, allowing Royal Caribbean Line to bring its Oasis-class ships measuring over 1,180 feet long.