Royal Caribbean signs agreement with Galveston Wharves for US$100m new cruise terminal

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Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (RCL) has signed a long-term agreement with the Port of Galveston, Texas—the fourth most active cruise port in North America—for a new US$100m (€89.9m) cruise terminal, as part of a public-private partnership.

RCL will build the terminal, then lease it from the port for an initial term of 20 years, with options for four 10-year extensions.

The two-story terminal will be located on the eastern section of the port, known as Pier 10. It will have a footprint of approximately 170,000 ft² on 10 acres of land.

Construction is expected to begin in April 2020 with the terminal’s opening planned for the fall of 2021.

The facility will feature state-of-the-art technology including mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guest arrival. The terminal 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. In addition, a staging and loading area, bus and taxi staging areas and substantial parking will be constructed.

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.

“This is a historic moment, not only for the port but for Galveston,” ” said port director/CEO Rodger Rees. “This partnership will bring economic growth to the region and the state by generating new jobs, spending and tax revenues. It also will bring more visitors to the island, a popular tourist destination. Galveston is on course to become a global destination for cruising, and we are thankful for partners like Royal Caribbean.”

Galveston’s cruise business grew by 13% in 2018, resulting in US$1.5bn (€1.34bn) in cruise industry direct expenditures, and creating 26,241 jobs with total wages of US$1.75bn (€1.56bn) 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 and 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.”

The port began its 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.

Image: Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. 

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Marisa has been writing about transport design and the passenger experience since 2013 and is also a contributor to sister titles Aircraft Interiors International and Business Jet Interiors International. She has travelled the world extensively by car, plane, train and cruise liner.

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