Agreements with Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line will result in the Port of Galveston expanding by one cruise ship terminal and increasing the number of Disney sailings from the port in the coming years. The agreements also leave room for Galveston to welcome other cruise ships in the future.
These new agreements are going a long way toward making Galveston one of the pre-eminent ports in the United States, and a leader outside of the state of Florida.
Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas, Vision of the Seas, and Liberty of the Seas currently offer seasonal and year-round sailings out of Galveston. In an agreement announced last December, Royal Caribbean will build a third Galveston cruise ship terminal designed to accommodate Royal Caribbean’s larger vessels.
The new terminal is scheduled to open in 2021. The new agreement, in addition to expanding the port, will free up room in Terminal Two, currently used by Royal Caribbean.
Cruise Industry News quotes Rodger Rees, CEO and Port Director, saying, “The new cruise terminal to be built by Royal Caribbean allows the port to continue investing in our infrastructure while growing our cruise business exponentially. This partnership will bring both a larger class of ships, as well as more visitors to Galveston.”
Then, this January, Galveston announced a 10-year agreement with Disney Cruise Line that will double Disney’s sailings from the port. Disney Magic and Disney Wonder have already used Galveston as a seasonal port since 2012. Galveston will remain a seasonal homeport for Disney, with the potential of additional Disney vessels also sailing from the port.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Rees was also optimistic about Disney’s place in Galveston. “They [Disney] want to continue and they stopped short of obligating a year-round ship here, but I do know they have three ships being built, so I think it’s a good chance to get a full-time ship here.”
Galveston currently handles 1.8 million cruise passengers annually. In addition to Disney and Royal Caribbean ships, Carnival Freedom, Valor, and Vista also sail out of Galveston, offering eastern and western Caribbean cruises, as well as Bahamas itineraries. The agreements with the two cruise lines have the potential to increase the number of annual passengers sharply.
All of this sounds like good news for cruise fans who live within easy driving distance of Galveston (or who find it easier to get to Galveston than to one of the busy Florida cruise hubs).
What ships would you like to see sail from Galveston?
For more on the new Royal Caribbean terminal, you can see its location and more here.