Cruises Return, Donate to Houston’s Recovery

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Port of Galveston, Huston.

Houston-based online cruise agency, Vacations to Go is donating one million dollars to six local charities, according to a letter sent to customers from CEO Alan Fox on Friday.

Fox reports that the company’s headquarters “suffered only minor water damage and never lost power.” Phone service was restored on Wednesday and many employees are returning to work.

Of the 800 Vacations to Go employees in the Houston area, 64 sustained serious flood damage to their homes, but all are safe and accounted for, according to Fox’s letter. Not all employees have been able to return to their homes to assess the damage, and others are still stranded in their homes surrounded by flood waters.

Cruise Lines Are Sailing Again

As water continues to rise in some Houston-area neighborhoods due to cresting of rivers and bayous, cruise operations from the Port of Galveston are expected to return to normal this week. Travel writer Cynthia Drake—who reported from Liberty of the Seas earlier this week as it detoured to Miami—reports now that the ship returned to Galveston on Friday, carrying approximately half of its original passengers.

Nearly 2,000 Liberty of the Seas passengers opted to make other travel arrangements from Miami when the ship docked there briefly on Tuesday. Royal Caribbean’s website shows normal operations for the September 3rd sailing.

The site does acknowledge that some passengers may still be having difficulty with transportation to the port. Both Houston airports are open but still at a limited capacity. Some roads and highways in the area are still closed.  The company encourages passengers having difficulty reaching the port or guests who “may not feel comfortable joining Liberty” to contact customer service at 1-800-256-6649 for assistance.

Carnival’s website shows normal operations for Carnival Freedom, Breeze and Valor resuming scheduled departures on September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. 

Vacations to Go Supporting Neighborhood Charities

The six charities Vacations To Go is supporting include Houston Food BankBakerRipleyStar of Hope MissionSecond Baptist ChurchMemorial Assistance Ministries and the Houston SPCA.

According to Fox, able Vacations to Go employees who are “donating and collecting food, clothes, water, toiletries, disposable diapers, blankets and sheets, toys and games at our Houston office (5851 San Felipe Street, Suite 500, Houston, TX 77057) for delivery to one of the shelters in the city.”

He added that customers should, “Feel free to ship anything here that you want delivered to a shelter and we’ll make sure it gets there.”

Fox concluded by thanking customers for their words of encouragement both to him personally and to Vacations to Go cruise consultants throughout last week’s storm.

Royal to resume New Orleans sailings

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Vision of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International said it will put a ship in New Orleans for the 2018-19 winter season, after an absence of three years.

The Vision of the Seas will sail 7-day itineraries to destinations in the Bahamas and the Yucatan Peninsula, Royal said.

In addition, the Enchantment of the Seas will move from Miami to Galveston, joining the Liberty of the Seas there. The Vision will offer two 16-day Panama Canal transits between Miami and Los Angeles before repositioning to New Orleans, the first time in three years that itinerary will be offered.

Photo credit Dawn Jones, Entrance of the first lock.

Royal also said that the Mariner of the Seas will return to Miami from the Asia-Pacific region to sail short cruises, the first time a Voyager-class ship has been assigned to that duty. The 3- and 4-day itineraries to the Bahamas begin on June 21, 2018, after a 32-day revitalization.

Royal’s Liberty of the Seas to undergo revamp

Royal Caribbean International’s Liberty of the Seas is set to undergo a major revamp.

The 3,634-passenger ship, which is sailing from Galveston, Texas, will go into dry dock for a month in February next year. During the transformation the ship will be given new water slides and new dining options.

The collection of water slides will include Tidal Wave, the first boomerang style slide at sea which features a steep drop that propels guests up a near-vertical wall where they’ll feel weightless and be sent into free fall.

The ship also features two new racer slides – Cyclone and Typhoon. The slides will be at the back of the ship, close to the Flowrider surf simulator that was initially introduced on the Freedom class ships.

A Splashaway Bay adult-free water park is also being added to the ship during the stint in dry dock.

New dining options on the ship will include Mexican restaurant Sabor and Italian venue Giovanni’s Table. A new cocktail bar, R Bar, is also being added.

A new cabin option will also be introduced on the ship with 26 panoramic ocean view staterooms, featuring floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

Liberty of the Seas will sail on seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries every Sunday from Galveston from November.