Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas is so big it's the namesake for an entire class of super ships. It's 15 decks high, more than a thousand feet long, with room for nearly four thousand passengers, an ice skating rink, a full size basketball court and a nine hole miniature golf course. Galveston Deputy Port Director Mike Mierzwa says it's a floating city. Imagine Houston's Galleria with its ice rink and multi-floor atrium floating out to sea.
"They have all sorts of amenities on there, from, you know, spas and huge workout areas. They have these shopping areas, you know an atrium on a cruise ship. Who would imagine that? I mean you stand down on the deck and you look up five or six stories to a glass enclosed tower, and this is on a cruise ship."
Galveston has become a popular port of call for cruise ships and four cruise lines now do a huge business there. Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity all serve Galveston, some year round, some seasonally. Last year, more than half a million passengers took cruises out of Galveston, and Mierzwa says more than that will come through this year.
"We've grown phenomenally. It was five hundred and thirty thousand in 2005. It'll be over six hundred thousand this year."
The Voyager of the Seas will depart Galveston for the Caribbean every week from December of 2007 to April of 2008. To accommodate the increase in passenger traffic, the Galveston Wharves Board is spending one and a half million dollars to add a second loading bridge at the terminal. Jim Bell, Houston Public Radio News.