The Port of Galveston and Royal Caribbean Cruises signed a memorandum of agreement in December to build a third cruise terminal.
Royal Caribbean is presently operating two ships from Terminal 2, but the new terminal will be designed to accommodate Oasis-class ships. While specific designs and costs have not been revealed, the port said that the new terminal will be about 200,000 square feet on 10 acres of land.
“The new cruise terminal to be built by Royal Caribbean allows the port to continue investing in our infrastructure while growing our cruise business exponentially,” said Rodger Rees, CEO and port director in a prepared statement. “This partnership will bring both a larger class of ships as well as more visitors to Galveston.”
With Terminal 3 expected to be ready in 2021 and Terminal 2 being freed up for other ships, Disney Cruise Line signed a 10 year contract to double their seasonal sailings from Galveston.
Also sailing from Galveston year-round is Carnival with three ships.
“The ships here are going out at 110 percent capacity,” Rees told Cruise Industry News.
For 2018, Galveston’s passenger count came in just 10,000 passengers short of 2 million.
Projections for 2019 call for the growth trend to continue.
“We have a good location,” Rees said. “We are in close proximity of Houston and some 20 million people live within a day’s drive. Seventy percent of our passengers drive to the port. We have 2,900 parking spots that belong to us and have just invited bids to build a new parking deck with 2,000 more spots by Terminal 1 and 2.
“With our plans for the new terminal, we will probably double our parking capacity.”
Already, the port spent $4 million to accommodate the recent arrival of the Carnival Vista.
Rees said that Carnival entered into a 10-year agreement with the port two years ago, and that the negotiations with Royal Caribbean could lead to a 60-year transaction: a 20-year initial term and four 10-year options.