Royal Caribbean International and the Port of Galveston have signed a long-term contract for a new $100 million cruise terminal, which Royal Caribbean will build and then lease back and operate for 20 years, with four 10-year extension options.
The two-story terminal will cover 170,000 square feet on 10 acres in the eastern section of the port known as Pier 10, with construction expected to begin in April, 2020 and a grand opening the following year.
The port will be responsible for items including 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.
The terminal will feature state-of-the-art technology, including mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guest arrival and will be designed and developed sustainably to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) certification standards.
Improvements to the pier bulkhead and apron will be made to safely accommodate the cruise line’s largest vessels, such as Allure of the Seas in the Oasis-class, which will homeport in Galveston in the coming years.
“This partnership will bring economic growth to the region and the state by generating new jobs, spending and tax revenues,” said Port Director & CEO Rodger Rees. “It will also bring more visitors to the island, a popular tourist destination.”
As the Port of Galveston’s cruise industry grows (it’s now the fourth-largest in the US), so does its local and state economic impact. According to a national report, Galveston’s cruise business grew by 13 percent in 2018, resulting in $1.5 billion in cruise industry direct expenditures and 26,241 jobs with total wages of $1.75 billion in Texas.
“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 & CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The new terminal will allow us to increase our guests to the region by 50% generating a $100 million economic impact within the first year of operation.”
Royal Caribbean International has been homeporting in Galveston since 2002 when Rhapsody of the Seas started sailing cruises to the Caribbean from the city.
Currently, the port is home to Enchantment of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the state of Texas.
In November 2021, the newly completed terminal will welcome one of the largest cruise ships in the world, Allure of the Seas, fresh from her US $165 million amplification.
Allure will sail 7-night Caribbean itineraries from Galveston, the biggest and boldest cruise ship to ever homeport in the city.