Texas cruise passengers just received an early Christmas gift.
Royal Caribbean has announced that it will deploy one of the largest vessels in its fleet — and the largest cruise ship ever to sail from Texas — to Galveston.
Allure of the Seas, an Oasis-class vessel that measures nearly 1,200 feet and can carry 6,800 passengers at full capacity, will begin sailing from the island in November 2021. The ship will sail 7-day cruises to the Caribbean.
This news coincides with more big news for Galveston cruising. Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston signed a long-term contract on the construction of a $100 million cruise terminal dedicated to cruise line.
Under the terms, Royal Caribbean will build the terminal and then lease it from the port for 20 years, with up to four 10-year extensions.
“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 of Royal Caribbean.
While the news is official, it doesn’t come as a surprise to those who have followed the discussion of the possible deal and tracked the growth of Galveston as a cruise port.
The island is now home to the fourth most-active cruise port in America, and the busiest outside of Florida. With multiple ships from both of the two largest cruise lines — Carnival and Royal Caribbean — the only thing missing was one of Royal’s largest Oasis-class ships.
Currently Enchantment of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas sail from Galveston. There is no word on what ships other than Allure of the Seas will sail in November 2021, although bookings for Liberty of the Seas are available on Royal Caribbean’s website through October 2021. Beyond that, Liberty is slated to sail from Miami starting in the winter of 2021.
Bookings for Allure of the Seas from Galveston are not yet open just yet, but will likely become available in the months ahead.