Galveston Wharves is investing $53 mill in a major expansion at Cruise Terminal 25 to accommodate Carnival Cruise Line’s (CCL) ‘Carnival Jubilee’, which is due to arrive in December.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming the beautiful new ‘Carnival Jubilee’ to our improved cruise terminal,” said Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO.
“We’re proud to have Carnival Cruise Line, our long-time cruise partner, choose Galveston as the home port for its newest ship.”
With a capacity of 6,500 guests, ‘Carnival Jubilee’ is bigger than the CCL ships currently sailing from the terminal.
Construction plans include improvements to accommodate the ship, move guests efficiently during debarkation and embarkation, and update the 20-year old terminal, Rees said.
Improvements include gangway modifications, a ramp, two elevators and an escalator, as well as a new roof. The new gangways are being built in Spain. Rees confirmed that cruise operations will continue during the project.
The port will also make mandated improvements to facilities used by US Customs and Border Protection, which provides safety and security services at the terminal.
Rees added that these improvements are a long-term investment in the port’s future growth, more jobs and a stronger regional economy. As the fourth most popular cruise port in the US and the only home port in Texas, the port generates two-thirds of its revenues from its cruise business. The port reinvests net operational revenues in capital projects to grow its business, he said.
In 2022, the port’s cruise activity generated 3,500 jobs, $568 mill in local business revenue and $73.5 mill in local purchases by passengers and crew.
It is on track to set new records this year, as the result of more people cruising, new and larger ships sailing from Galveston, and the opening of a third cruise terminal in late 2022.
Funding will come from cash reserves, a proposed bond issue and an agreement with CCL.
“Carnival was the first major cruise line to homeport in Galveston more than 20 years ago. They believed in us then and believe in Galveston’s growing prominence as a top cruise port today,” Rees said.
Located at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel, Galveston Wharves has been a thriving maritime commercial center since 1825. Just 45 mins from the open sea, the 840-acre port has infrastructure and assets to serve growing cruise, cargo and commercial businesses, it said.