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December 5, 2018: Members of the Wharf Board and Royal Caribbean Representatives are reviewing plans and illustrations for the New Cruise Terminal in Galveston, Texas.
Photo: Leslie Plaza Johnson, Contributor
Photo: Leslie Plaza Johnson, contributor
Royal Caribbean expects to bring some of its largest ships to Galveston after investing close to $ 100 million to build a new cruise terminal at the port of Galveston .
“When we invest heavily in the construction of a terminal and engage in long-term leases, it usually means that we will carry our ships as the Oasis class,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
The 200,000 square meter terminal is scheduled to open in the fall of 2021 and will be the third cruise terminal for Galveston, the fourth most busy cruise port in the country. Only shy of 1 million people will board a cruise ship from Galveston this year and the port is about to see its 10 million passengers since it began cruise operations.
RELATED: Galveston is the fastest growing US cruise terminal  Bayley and Rodger Rees, Port Director and CEO of the Port of Galveston, signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday to describe the terms of the deal. A final agreement must ultimately be approved by the Galveston Wharves Board.
Rees celebrated the milestone but said that the true work should begin. He hopes that the construction will start late next year.
“At least 11 months I’ve been here,” Rees said. “We’ve been working on this transaction.”
The new terminal will be located on 10 acres of land at Pier 10, located in the southeastern part of the harbor. Royal Caribbean will initially rent the terminal for 20 years. It will then be possible to extend this lease for another 10 years and can do it four times if desired.
The port of Galveston will be responsible for maintenance, parking and improvements to the bridge so that it can accommodate larger vessels. In addition, Royal Caribbean will help with the cost of improving the port.
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The new terminal is expected to generate another 1 million passengers within the first 10 years of the contract, perhaps one day driving Galveston’s rankings at cruise ports.
“Hopefully this ship will come in, we get to No. 3,” said Richard DeVries, a manager at the Galveston Wharf Board that oversees port operations.
And if the gate’s growth continues as planned, Bayley said it would be “a natural progress” to one day bring its LNG-fueled Icon class of ships that have not yet sailed. They are expected to be as big as the Oasis class.
Royal Caribbean currently has two ships sailing out of Galveston: Liberty of the Seas, the largest cruise ship sailing from Texas and Vision of the Seas. 19659012] Note! This article has been corrected to reflect that nearly 1 million people are boarding a cruise ship this year in Galveston. The nearly 2 million reported previously included the port’s number of passengers when they boarded the ship and then again when they came out of the ship.