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Federal, state, and local officials join Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves Chairman Albert Shannon, Royal Caribbean International V.P. of Destination Development Joshua Carroll, and other industry leaders in turning the first sod during a groundbreaking ceremony held at the Port of Galveston’s Pier 10 on Aug. 14 to mark the start of construction on a $125 million new state-of-the-art cruise terminal.
Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO, emphasized 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 billion in local business services revenue, $5.6 million in state and local taxes, and incredible business development opportunities.”
To be completed in fall 2022, the port’s third cruise terminal is being built by Royal Caribbean to homeport its award-winning Oasis Class ship, Allure of the Seas. One of the world’s largest, most innovative cruise ships and the first of its kind to call Galveston home, Allure will sail 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries starting November 2022. Both the young and young at heart will soon have their choice from an array of signature adventures and experiences on board, including a zip line that flies across the ship ten decks high, a pair of Royal Caribbean’s heart-pumping FlowRider surf simulators, dedicated spaces for kids and teens, and unparalleled entertainment across four stages – air, ice, water and stage – including the unique open-air AquaTheater.
Currently, the port is home to Royal Caribbean’s Independence and Liberty of the Seas, the largest cruise ships homeported in Galveston today, the only cruise port in Texas.
“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, vice president, Destination Development, Royal Caribbean. “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 Texas construction jobs and 400 local operations jobs. The161,300-square-foot terminal will cover 10 acres at Pier 10 in the easternmost area of the port on Galveston Island. The port will build and operate a 1,800-space cruise parking lot at the terminal.
Ceres Terminals Holdings, LLC, will operate the terminal and support cruise operations with services, including stevedoring, passenger luggage services, and ship provisioning. Ceres is an international company with 60 years of experience in shipping, cargo and cruise operations.
The program also included remarks by industry leaders U.S. Congressman Randy Weber, Texas Rep. Mayes Middleton, City of Galveston Mayor Dr. Craig Brown and City Councilmember Marie Robb.
The port signed a long-term contract with Royal Caribbean for the new facility in December 2019. Through the public-private partnership, Royal Caribbean will build the terminal, then lease it from the port for the initial term of 20 years with four 10-year options.
The facility will feature state-of-the-art technology to enable mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guests’ arrival experience. The terminal is designed to meet global LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) health, efficiency and sustainability standards.
The port began its successful partnership with Royal Caribbean in 2002 with the inaugural sailing of Rhapsody of the Seas.
About the Galveston Wharves at the Port of Galveston
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 minutes from open seas, the 840-acre port has infrastructure and assets to serve growing cruise, cargo and commercial businesses. As the fourth most popular cruise port, in North America, it welcomed more than 1 million cruise passengers in 2019. Also one of the busiest in Texas, the port moved 4.3 million tons of cargo in 2020 and has an estimated annual state economic impact of $2.1 billion.
About Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean International has been delivering innovation at sea for more than 50 years. Each successive class of ships is an architectural marvel featuring the latest technology and guest experiences for today’s adventurous traveler. The cruise line continues to revolutionize vacations with itineraries to more than 270 destinations in 72 countries on six continents, including Royal Caribbean’s private island destination in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, the first in the Perfect Day Island Collection.