The Port of Galveston, claimed to be the fourth most popular cruise port in North America, held a groundbreaking ceremony on 14th August, to mark the start of construction of Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) new $125 mill cruise terminal.
Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO, emphasised the economic growth opportunities that this terminal and its partners bring to the region, as he addressed elected officials, port partners and community members.
“This new cruise terminal is a game-changer. This much-anticipated project will bring 800 new jobs, $1.4 bill in local business services revenue, $5.6 mill in state and local taxes, and incredible business development opportunities,” he said.
To be completed in autumn 2022, the port’s third cruise terminal is being built by RCI to homeport its ‘Oasis’ class cruise ship, ’Allure of the Seas’.
She will sail from Galveston on seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries starting November, 2022.
Currently, the port is home to RCI’s ’Independence’ and ’Liberty of the Seas’.
“We are excited to celebrate this special milestone for our new state-of-the-art terminal, which will have a stunning, bold architectural design and technological advancements that will significantly enhance the experience for our guests,” said Joshua Carroll, RCI’s Vice President, Destination Development.
“We appreciate our strong relationship with the Port of Galveston and the local community, and look forward to the growth of cruise tourism in the region.”
The construction project will generate an estimated 400 Texan construction jobs and 400 local operations jobs. The 161,300 sq ft terminal will cover 10 acres at Pier 10 in the easternmost area of the port on Galveston Island. The port will also build and operate a 1,800-space cruise parking area at the terminal.
Ceres Terminals Holdings will operate the terminal and support cruise operations with services, including stevedoring, passenger luggage services, and ship provisioning.
The port signed a long-term contract with RCI for the new facility in December, 2019. Through the public-private partnership, the cruise company will build the terminal, then lease it from the port for 20 years initially with four 10-year options.
The facility will feature new technology to enable mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guests’ arrival experience. The terminal has been designed to meet global LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) health, efficiency and sustainability standards.
Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel, Galveston Wharves has been a thriving maritime commercial centre since 1825.
Just 45 minutes sailing from open seas, the 840-acre port has infrastructure and assets to serve growing cruise, cargo and commercial businesses.
Galveston welcomed more than 1 mill cruise passengers in 2019.