Big Growth At Major US Cruise Port, Busy 2023 Expected

It has been a busy yet successful 2022 for the Port of Galveston as the port's CEO reflects on what will be coming to Galveston in the future.

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The Port of Galveston, Texas, is celebrating a year of growth and achievements, according to CEO Rodger Rees. The port managed several achievements throughout the year, cementing its position as the fourth-largest cruise port in the United States while setting itself up for further growth in the future. 

One of the port’s major accomplishments was opening the $125m Royal Caribbean International cruise terminal, which will allow the port to expand its cruise business and create more port-related jobs and revenues. The port also welcomed back Princess Cruises and is in talks with MSC Cruises for a dedicated cruise terminal.

More Ships, More Cruise Lines

Throughout 2022, the Port of Galveston has worked hard to regain the business levels it experienced before the global pause in operations while also setting itself up for further growth down the line. 

A mission that has been accomplished according to Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees: “Never has the port, in its 22-year history as a cruise port, seen such strong interest by cruise passengers and the cruise industry,” said Rees. “With the addition of newer and larger ships and more diverse offerings, the port is more popular than ever.”

The port opened the $125m Royal Caribbean cruise terminal, welcomed the Allure of the Seas to Galveston, and welcomed back Princess Cruises, and Ruby Princess homeported in Galveston for 16 sailings. The port also welcomed its one millionth cruise passenger of the year.

Royal Caribbean Galveston Terminal
Royal Caribbean Galveston Terminal

“On December 22, we celebrated our one millionth cruise passenger of the year, a major milestone demonstrating that the Galveston cruise business has recovered from the 15-month suspension that ended in July 2021. This is the first time we’ve exceeded 1 million cruise passengers since 2019,” Rees continued.

The port also spent $32m on capital projects and exceeded projections on end-of-year cash flows for operations and cruise parking. One of the sore points around the Galveston Port has also been alleviated as interior roadways have been opened up to decongest the traffic on Harborside Drive.

It has also begun shore power project discussions with stakeholders. All that work has been done to welcome more cruise passengers to Galveston in the coming years. 

From December 2023, Carnival Jubilee will be homeported in Galveston, the first time an LNG-powered cruise ship is based in Texas and the second mega-cruise ship together with Allure of the Seas. Together, the two significantly expand passenger numbers sailing from the port. But it doesn’t stop there.

MSC Terminal Could Be Coming to Galveston

The Port of Galveston is currently in discussions with MSC Cruises to develop a fourth cruise terminal at piers 16-18 through a public-private partnership. This partnership would allow MSC Cruises to invest in the construction and operation of the terminal, while the Port of Galveston would provide the land and infrastructure for the project.

Who owns MSC Cruises
Photo Credit: Massimo Todaro / Shutterstock

If the partnership is approved, the new terminal would significantly boost the Port of Galveston and the local economy. The terminal would accommodate the larger ships that MSC Cruises operates, bringing more tourists to the area and generating more revenue for local businesses.

Read Also: Galveston Cruise Port – Essential Guide for Your Cruise

Additionally, the new terminal would create jobs in the construction and operation of the terminal, further boosting the local economy.

While the partnership details are still being negotiated, it is clear that this would be a win-win situation for both parties involved. MSC Cruises could expand its operations in the United States, and the Port of Galveston would attract more cruise traffic to the area.

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