20-year term with up to 40 years' extension
RCL will build the terminal then lease it from the port for an initial term of 20 years, with four 10-year extension options.
The two-story terminal will have a footprint of approximately 170,000 square feet on 10 acres in the eastern section of the port known as Pier 10. Construction is expected to begin in April with the opening anticipated in fall 2021.
Bermello Ajamil & Partners
The facility, designed by Bermello Ajamil & Partners which is also working on the port's 20-year strategic master plan, will feature the latest technology, including mobile check-in and facial recognition. The terminal is planned to meet LEED certification standards.
Improvements to the pier bulkhead and apron will be made to safely accommodate Royal Caribbean’s largest vessels. In addition, a staging and loading area, bus and taxi staging areas and substantial parking will be constructed.
The port will be responsible for items including maintenance, parking and improvements to the dock so that it can handle the larger ships. RCL will contribute to the cost of improving the docks.
‘This is a historic moment, not only for the port but for Galveston. This partnership will bring economic growth to the region and the state by generating new jobs, spending and tax revenues. It also will bring more visitors to the island, a popular tourist destination,’ Port Director/CEO Rodger Rees said. ‘Galveston is on course to become a global destination for cruising, and we are thankful for partners like Royal Caribbean.’
According to a national report, Galveston’s cruise business grew by 13% in 2018, resulting in $1.5bn in cruise industry direct expenditures and 26,241 jobs with total wages of $1.75bn in Texas.
Allure of the Seas
‘We are excited to partner with the Port of Galveston to develop a world-class facility which will allow us to sail our newest, largest and most innovative ships from Texas starting with Allure of the Seas, one of the largest ships in the world,’ said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. ‘The new terminal will allow us to increase our guests to the region by 50% generating a $100 million economic impact within the first year of operation.’
The port began its partnership with RCL in 2002 with the inaugural sailing of Rhapsody of the Seas. Currently, Galveston is home to Enchantment of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in Texas.
In November 2021, the newly completed terminal is expected to welcome Allure of the Seas. In a $165m amplification, Allure will add the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea with a 10-story plunge; The Perfect Storm, a trio of multistory waterslides; and more restaurants, including the introduction of Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar and returning favorites Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and El Loco Fresh.
Allure will sail seven-night itineraries.
The Royal Caribbean deal follows a memorandum of understanding signed one year ago.