Port of Galveston Competition

A sightseeing boat carries tourists past cruise ships and tankers moored at the Port of Galveston on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018. Port of Galveston officials said they weren’t much concerned about efforts among other Texas ports to enter the cruise business.


The Port of Galveston and cruise company Royal Caribbean have agreed to partner in developing an $85 million cruise terminal, the port announced Tuesday.

The two groups are set to sign a memorandum of understanding Wednesday. The agreement will set out the general terms for a long-term deal to develop and operate the new terminal, which would be the third cruise terminal for the island.

The memorandum will allow the port and the company to negotiate the final details of the agreement. The Wharves Board of Trustees, which governs the port, could vote on a final agreement as soon as January, the port said.

Port officials have been pursuing a third cruise terminal since at least 2012, arguing that a third berth would allow for larger ships to cruise from the island more frequently.

The deal with Royal Caribbean was first raised this summer. The new terminal could cost $85 million, and be open by 2021, Port Director Rodger Rees said Tuesday.

Royal Caribbean would bear the $85 million cost of building the terminal on 10 acres at Pier 10, east of the existing cruise terminals at piers 25 and 27, Rees said.

“Royal Caribbean is going to be investing in Galveston,” Rees said.

The new pier would be next to the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and BMW vehicle processing plant, officials said.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics would move some of its operations to the west end of the port, Rees said. The BMW processing facility would remain where it is, he said.

Another 15 acres at Pier 10 would be turned into surface parking for the new cruise terminal, Rees said.

After the construction is completed, the port would be in charge of maintaining the new berth. Royal Caribbean would have an initial 20-year lease for the terminal, with options to continue it after the initial term.

The company would be able to use the site almost exclusively, unless it was needed by another ship in an emergency or if the port paid the company to allow another cruise line to use the spot, Rees said.

The Port of Galveston derives about 55 percent of its annual revenue from cruise-related activities. The port is a landlord port and generates much of its income from lease agreements with maritime tenants.

The port is home to three year-round Carnival Cruise Line ships, one year-round Royal Caribbean ship, one seasonal Royal Caribbean ship and a seasonal Disney Cruise Lines ship.

The port predicted it would earn about $37.4 million in total revenue in 2018.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; john.ferguson@galvnews.com or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


Senior Reporter

(5) comments

Ray Taft

Will the port install more warning signs that the streets around the port may flood?

Will the cruise line warn it’s passengers that they may have to wade out to their ship or that their parked vehicle might get flooded in the event of a storm?

Miceal O'Laochdha

The tremendous amount of vehicular traffic currently accessing Pier 10, and the very high dollar rolling stock ( earth moving equipment and elite automobiles) currently staged on Pier 10, seem to get by just fine without such warning signs.

David Schuler

Cruise ship passengers are inconvenienced by fog more often than flooding. We live on a barrier island at the boundary between land and sea and there will always be some interesting weather phenomena to deal with. All problems to be dealt with over time.

Brian Tamney

Would someone please tell who ever captioned the photo that there are NO tankers pictured. There are 2 cruise ships and 3 cargo vessels.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Someone probably told them that bunker barge alongside the Carnival ship was a "tank vessel"...they still repeat that the Pilots only bring handle foreign-flag ships in nearly every news story about the Pilots, despite over 2 years' of valiant efforts to the correct them.

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