Royal Caribbean, Port of Galveston Move Forward with $100M Cruise Ship Terminal in Texas

GALVESTON, TEXAS — A public-private partnership between Royal Caribbean International and the Port of Galveston, located in Southeast Texas, is moving forward with development of a new $100 million cruise ship terminal.

The partnership will develop the two-story property within an eastern section of the port known as Pier 10 and will harbor one of the Miami-based cruise line’s largest ships, the Allure of the Seas. Construction of the facility, which will span approximately 170,000 square feet and 10 acres, is set to begin in April for completion in fall 2022.

The project was originally announced in December 2019. At that time, construction was expected to begin in April 2020 and wrap up in fall 2021. Those plans were significantly delayed by the outbreak of COVID-19, which hurt the cruise industry as part of the larger hospitality sector.

The facility will feature state-of-the-art technology, including mobile check-in and facial recognition platforms to expedite guests’ arrival. The plans also include a staging and loading area; bus and taxi staging areas; and substantial parking space. The terminal is designed to meet LEED certification standards.

The partnership between Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston dates back to 2002, when the luxury cruise line launched 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 harbored in Texas.

Albert Shannon, chairman of the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees, which governs the port, told the Galveston County Daily News that the project would “not only benefit the port, but also labor, hoteliers and others, and be a great boost to the economy.”

According to a 2021 outlook report from industry research organization Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), in 2019, the global cruise industry generated over $154 billion to the global economy and created 1.8 million jobs worldwide. The organization estimated that between mid-March and September 2020, the industry suffered losses of 518,000 jobs and $77 billion in global economic contributions.

However, CLIA also stated that the industry has resilience in terms of the loyalty of its former customers, known as cruisers. According to the group’s research, two out of three cruisers would be willing to take to the seas again in 2021, and that 74 percent of cruisers would be likely to do so within the next several years.

Taylor Williams

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