The Port of Galveston welcomed its one millionth cruise passenger of the year on December 4, 2019, setting a new record for the port, according to a statement.
“Galveston’s growing popularity as a cruise homeport is great news for the port and the Galveston community,” said Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director and CEO. “In 2018, the cruise industry generated 3,638 jobs for Galveston area residents, and cruise passengers and crew spent $115 million on local goods and services.”
As the Port of Galveston’s cruise industry grows, 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.
The one millionth passenger was Mark Martin and his wife, Laurie Steele Martin, from Mission Viejo, California. The couple arrived in Galveston a day before their cruise to explore the island. After checking out of the Harbor House Hotel, the Martins headed to the cruise terminal where port officials greeted them with gifts before embarking on their four-night Royal Caribbean cruise, receiving the VIP treatment.
Port officials are also finalizing a long-term contract with Royal Caribbean International for a new $100 million cruise terminal at Pier 10, according to a press release. Through the public-private partnership, the cruise line would build the terminal then lease it from the port for the initial term of 20 years with four 10-year options. The port will be responsible for items including maintenance, parking and improvements to the dock so that it can accommodate the larger vessels. Royal Caribbean will contribute to the cost of improving the docks.