The City of South Padre Island is looking to attract cruise line ships in order to attract more visitors. Efforts continue to bring a cruise line industry to South Padre Island. A public briefing on the progress was held this morning.

It’s an initiative South Padre Island Mayor Dennis Stahl has been passionately advocating for, researching, and soon negotiating. The reason is that SPI has what is commonly referred to as the “Off Season”; a slow season between the end of summer and March.

Mayor Stahl says, “November and December which were terrible months for us, are peak cruising months. But I would like to reduce seasonality.”

Don’t expect to see a cruise ship on local beaches anytime soon. The city has not released an official timeline on when we can expect the first ship. In part, it has to do with location. The city’s recommendation: Isla Blanca Park. Not city property.

“We started this with the county. There is city property available, but it would require significantly more dredging.” Says Mayor Stahl.

The four companies are looking to settle in SPI are Carnival, Caribbean, Disney, and Norwegian. When asked the mayor says the cruise line industry is interested in what the area has to offer. Community members and business owners show support of the initiative, even if they may not directly benefit from cruises.

Courtney Hayden – Island Cinema, “I’m not going to get these cruise passengers to get off a ship and come to a movie. But it would be so nice for the whole community to see some traffic, people moving around.”

Gayle Hood – RE/MAX Elite, “They may not spend a huge amount of money or stay in the hotels when they’re first here. They will come back.”

The mayor says it’s up to county leaders now. The Cameron County Judge has expressed support for the initiative. The mayor says that some of the top attractions pointed out by cruise line representatives include: Sea Turtle, Inc., SPI Birding Center, the Port Isabel Lighthouse, and Gladys Porter Zoo

Alfredo Cuadros