And they said it would never happen.
The brand-new $81 million cruise terminal at the Port of Houston's Bayport terminal is finished and has been able to handle ships for a while now. Not so's you'd notice, because no cruise companies have signed up to use it, as the Houston Chronicle reported.
But thanks to Ike, the expensive bauble will actually be put to some use. Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that its two Galveston-based ships will operate out of Bayport until the island city recovers from the hurricane.
The company announced:
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The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy will resume its four- and five-day Mexico schedule from the Port of Houston starting with a five-day cruise departing Saturday, Sept. 20. Beginning with the departure of Sunday, Sept. 21, the 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest will depart Houston on seven-day cruises to the western Caribbean.
Both vessels are currently docked in New Orleans where they were deployed following the closure of the Port of Galveston. Carnival Conquest will arrive at the Port of Houston on Thursday, Sept. 18, and Carnival Ecstasy on Friday, Sept. 19, to disembark those guests who opted to remain aboard the vessels following their previous voyages.
The statement also noted that Bayport "is conveniently accessed from both of the city's airports," which is true in the sense that all of the Greater Houston Area is conveniently accessed from both the city's airports.
Carnival officials insist they will return to Galveston when the time comes; we'll see if the Port of Houston doesn't try to convince them otherwise.
-- Richard Connelly