It took some time, but construction is finally underway for Royal Caribbean’s newest port in Galveston, Texas. The new terminal building has been delayed for more than a year; however, workers broke ground this week at the site of the newest cruise terminal in Galveston.
The new cruise terminal will be an important step for the port to cater to larger cruise ships and rival the major cruise homeports in Florida, including Port Canaveral, PortMiami, and Port Everglades.
New Terminal Will Be Suitable For Oasis Class Ships
The new terminal has seen delays for more than a year since it was first supposed to be built. Although the start of building is there now, it will be many months before anything resembling a building will start to arise.
The new terminal, which will cost the Port of Galveston and Royal Caribbean $110 million to build at the pier 10 location, will need a lot of ground to be broken up. Before upward construction of the terminal can begin, crews need to rip up acre upon acre of concrete at the pier. Work removing the old concrete marks a milestone for the terminal that once seemed likely to become a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Albert Shannon, the chairman of the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees:
“It’s finally started. After all the preparation, all the negotiation and the pandemic and everything else, they’ve finally started.”
The next few weeks will see significant disturbance for residents as trucks haul away demolition debris. Eventually, trucks will be hauling tons of dirt towards the building site to lay the groundwork for the building, measuring 150,000 square feet. The entire facility will measure more than 10 acres.
The end design for the new terminal will include a large, blue rotunda featuring a covered passenger drop-off area . A new paid parking area will also be built near the terminal building.
Terminal Has Never Been in Jeopardy
Despite news reports to the contrary, the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line terminal has never been in jeopardy. Although the cruise line lost $56.8 billion, according to the Port of Galveston Facebook page, the new terminal was never in danger during the pandemic.
Both Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston announced the new terminal building in 2018, during the height of the cruise ship boom. The agreements were confirmed in December of 2019.
The pandemic did cause a delay, but Royal Caribbean received a year-long extension on its due diligence period for the new terminal. The agreements were finalized this year, and now construction has finally started.
During a 2019 announcement, Rodger Rees, the Port CEO, said this:
“This long term lease agreement represents Royal Caribbean’s confidence in the Port of Galveston’s efficient cruise operations and the ability to attract passengers on its current and future sailings. Galveston is on course for being a global destination for cruising and we are thankful for partners like Royal Caribbean.”
The new terminal building will create at least 400 construction jobs, and when the terminal does finally open by late 2022, it will be able to welcome the larger Oasis-class ships.
In fact, Royal Caribbean announced in March of this year that one of the largest cruise ships in the world will homeport out of Galveston, Texas, from November 2022. Oasis-class vessel Allure of the Seas will sail 7-night Western Caribbean itineraries from the popular cruise port.
Allure of the Seas wil call in Roatan, Honduras, as well as Cozumel and Costa Maya. The first voyage will depart on November 27, 2022, and the last 7-day cruise will depart on April 23, 2023. All in all, the new terminal will be a welcome addition to the growing availability of cruises from the port of Galveston.