The Port of Galveston plans to make significant investments to grow its cruise-related income over the coming years. The infrastructure of the fourth-largest cruise port in the United States is, in some cases, more than twenty years old and will benefit from some major upgrades.
Galveston is already in the process of building the new Terminal at Pier 10, together with Royal Caribbean. However, more investments are needed with the addition of Carnival Jubilee, Norwegian Prima, and Ruby Princess.
Spend money to make money
According to Rodger Rees, Port Director and CEO of Galveston Wharves, you’ve got to spend money to make money. And that is precisely what the port plans to do over the coming months and years.
Rodger Rees: “You’ve got to spend money to make money. This old saying certainly applies to the Port of Galveston’s cruise business. We’re investing an estimated $33 million in cruise-related infrastructure improvements now to reap many more millions in future revenues and economic growth for our community and region.”
The infrastructure investments of $33 million are either already being carried out or in the planning stages and include several cruise-related items that will make Galveston even more attractive to cruise lines and passengers.
The most significant investment is related to the ultra-modern new cruise terminal the port is building with Royal Caribbean. The cruise company is building the 161,000-square-foot terminal to homeport Allure of the Seas.
At 225,282 gross tons, the Oasis Class ship is one of the largest cruise ships in the world. The award-winning ship can host up to 6,780 guests at full capacity with 2,200 crew members.
For this new terminal, Royal Caribbean is investing roughly $110 million to construct the new terminal. The Port of Galveston is investing an additional $22 million for pier repairs, site work, utilities, and port-operated cruise parking for 1,800 vehicles.
The road network in the port is also being upgraded to handle the thousands of passengers and luggage that will need to be brought to and from the ships from the Harborside at 14th Street. Three grants from the Texas Department of Transportation helped fund the road network portions.
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It’s not just Allure of the Seas that will be sailing from Galveston – Adventure of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas will be sailing from the new terminal, and several other companies are planning to use the port extensively in the future.
Preparing for the Future
Perhaps the most anticipated arrival to Galveston will be Carnival Jubilee when she will homeport from Texas in November 2023. Several upgrades are necessary to make it possible for the massive 180,000 gross tons cruise ship to sail from the port weekly.
Galveston is therefore investing $11 million in improvements at terminals 25 and 28, better known as Cruise Terminals 1 and 2.
The port will build a second gangway and make internal modifications to process the massive increase in passengers; Carnival Jubilee holds 5,374 passengers at max capacity. The port will also need to provide the necessary infrastructure for bunkering LNG.
Besides Carnival Jubilee and Allure of the Seas, from December 2022 through April 2023, Ruby Princess will also homeport in Galveston, as will Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Prima, from the end of October 2022 through December 2022, and again at the end of 2023.
All this means a massive boost in cruise operations, which are already showing this year with 330 projected sailings through the end of the year. The growth means that Galveston will welcome significantly more cruise passengers in 2023 than the 1 million expected this year.