In the middle of last month, the Port of Galveston signed a long-term contract with Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) for a new $100 mill cruise terminal.
Through a public/private partnership, RCL will build the terminal, then lease it from the port for an initial term of 20 years with four, 10-year options.
The new terminal will cover about170,000 sq ft on 10 acres of land in the southeast section of the Port known as Pier 10. The facility, which is anticipated to open in the Autumn of 2021, will feature new technology to enable mobile check-ins and facial recognition. It will be also designed and developed sustainably to meet LEED certification standards.
Improvements to the pier bulkhead and apron will be made to safely accommodate RCL’s largest vessels. In addition, a staging and loading area, bus and taxi staging areas and substantial parking will be added.
Construction for the new facility is expected to begin in April, this year.
The port will be responsible for maintenance, parking, and improvements to the dock so that it can accommodate the larger vessels. RCL will contribute to the cost of improving the docks.
“This is history in the making. This partnership will bring both larger class ships as well as more visitors to the City of Galveston and the region,” said Port Director/CEO Rodger Rees. “This long-term lease agreement represents Royal Caribbean’s confidence in the Port of Galveston’s efficient cruise operations and the ability to attract passengers on its current and future sailings. Galveston is on course for being a global destination for cruising and we are thankful for partners like Royal Caribbean.”
The port began a partnership with RCL in 2002 with the inaugural sailing of ‘Rhapsody of the Seas’.
Currently, the port is home to ‘Enchantment of the Seas’ and ‘Liberty of the Seas’, the largest cruise ship based in Texas.
In November, 2021, the new terminal will welcome one of the largest cruise ships in the world, ‘Allure of the Seas’.
“We are excited to partner with the Port of Galveston to develop a world-class facility which will allow us to sail our newest, largest and most innovative ships from Texas starting with ‘Allure of the Seas’, one of the largest ships in the world,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.
“The new terminal will allow us to bring over a million guests to the region driving a significant economic impact in the years to come.”
According to a national report, Galveston’s cruise business grew by 13% in 2018, resulting in $1.5 bill in cruise industry direct expenditures and 26,241 jobs with total wages of $1.75 bill in Texas.