Galveston Continues Expansion of Cruise Products

The Liberty of the Seas sails year-round from Galveston

For the Port of Galveston, the major news for 2018 is the continued expansion of cruise products and related services available, according to Interim Port Director Peter Simons.

Carnival Cruise Line is moving the Carnival Vista to Galveston later in the year replacing the Breeze. The Vista will sail alongside the Liberty and the Freedom.

“To accommodate the Vista we are in the process of doing some infrastructure upgrades in Cruise Terminal No. 1,” said Simons.

Last fall, the port also welcomed the Vision of the Seas, and Simons explained that while she was originally intended to be a seasonal product, she is replacing the Enchantment of the Seas on a year-round basis.

“We will have three Carnival and two Royal Caribbean ships year-round, and Disney seasonally from October to January,” he added.

The current scheduling has two ships in port on Saturdays, two on Sundays, one each on Mondays and Thursdays, and Disney on Fridays.

Terminal Expansion

“We have completed the expansion of Cruise Terminal No. 2, and when we did the design for that, we planned for larger ships and more passengers. Both of our terminals are able to handle bigger ships and more capacity,” he said.

“What we are doing though on the channel side is adding mooring structures to accommodate the longer Carnival Vista, and we are also finishing a mooring improvement project at Terminal No. 2 that will enable us to handle even larger ships in the future. We are upgrading the main mooring to be 200-ton bollards – the longer dock will also allow us easier access to the loading doors.

“We are also in the conceptual stage, looking at the designs and options for a third cruise terminal. There is definitely demand to sail from Galveston on weekends and we want to be able to accommodate what we see as future growth in that market.”

Simons said the port is talking to cruise lines about how to fund the new terminal. He said the port’s options were either bank financing or teaming up with a cruise line.

Meanwhile, he is also looking at how to provide the next generation of ships with LNG.

Team Effort

At press time, Galveston projected just short of 1.9 million passengers embarking and disembarking on some 258 sailings for 2017, up from 1.7 million passengers for 2016. For this year, the forecast is for 308 sailings and more than 2 million passengers, according to Simons.

“We see a lot of people coming down a couple of days early for special events, so there is a fair amount of extra local spending in connection with the cruise traffic. The vast majority of the passengers are drive-ups regionally and usually from the lower Midwest, but even as far north as Illinois and South Dakota. The fly-ins are typically from the West Coast.

“There is also a wide variety of things to do both on Galveston Island and in the vicinity that we are working with the cruise lines on for pre- and post-stays,” he added.

Simons, who joined the port in 2012 and was director of operations before being named interim port director, credited the port staff, the longshoremen and the stevedores for Galveston’s growing cruise traffic. He said it was a team effort with very attentive and hard-working people, making the cruise lines feel comfortable here and helping to grow their business.


Royal Caribbean Will Invest $250 Million to Expand Presence in Miami

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Oasis Class and Quantum Class to call Miami Home

Big Thank You To David Block for this story.

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Royal Caribbean Cruises has plans to open a new cruise terminal in Miami by 2018, increasing its presence in the U.S. market and giving its giant new-build vessels a potential homeport in South Florida.

Earlier this week, the Miami-Dade county Board of Commissioners signed a legislative resolution which will likely lead to a new home for Royal Caribbean’s ships in the region.

The resolution, obtained by Skift from the Miami-Dade county Board of Commissioners, shows that a long-term lease to accommodate Royal Caribbean’s large new vessels will likely be signed in the next four months.

According to deal, Royal Caribbean will invest more than $100 million to build a new cruise terminal in a ten-acre plot on the north side of PortMiami. Its expected investment over the course of the contract is $250 million.

Royal Caribbean Cruises will introduce eight new ships across its six brands by the end of 2020, including four more gigantic Oasis- and Quantum-class ships.

PortMiami says the deal is a good one for them because Royal Caribbean will bear the brunt of all upfront costs for building the new terminal. The port just completed a costly dredging project to let large cargo and cruise ships access its facilities.

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Port of Miami.

“Although much work remains to determine the cost ranges for various elements of this program, RCL will bear the full cost for constructing the cruise terminal, parking garage, ancillary facilities, and any bulkhead work,” according to the report.

PortMiami expects to earn $9.5 million annual from leasing the land to Royal Caribbean, an increase from the about $1.2 million it currently earns from cargo companies using the land. The initial lease will run for 20 years and will be renewable in ten year increments once the original terms expire.

Royal Caribbean’s biggest vessels now homeport at Port Everglades due to its infrastructure’s support for larger ships, and PortMiami wants the cruise line’s continued business.

“At the time that PortMiami failed to secure the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, the Port did not have facilities capable of hosting these vessels nor did it have suitable expansion plans,” reads the document.

Royal Caribbean can bring in other investors to help finance the new terminal, but will be on the hook for at least 20 percent of the venture when the project is completed.

Norwegian Cruise Line giving Great Stirrup Cay a big upgrade

Great Stirrup Cay will have a new air-conditioned reception area.

VANCOUVER — Norwegian Cruise Line outlined plans to upgrade facilities at its Great Stirrup Cay private island in the Bahamas.

Norwegian will increase dining capacity by 50%, spend $1 million on new landscaping, and create 100,000 square feet of new pathways, including a new boardwalk along the beach.

Other features include a pair of parallel zip lines that will be 1,000 feet long and elevated 100 feet in the air, and a new air conditioned reception area where guests can get oriented, change clothes and make reservations.

New family activities will be available, including an underwater sculpture trail for snorkelers.

Great Stirrup Cay will have villas in its exclusive Lagoon Retreat area.
Great Stirrup Cay will have villas in its exclusive Lagoon Retreat area.

There will be a new lounge area with bar service in the center of the island, a new Landshark Bar & Grill and an Abaco Taco bar, as well as a redesigned buffet.

The amount of shaded area will be increased and more restrooms will be built.

A Lagoon Retreat aimed at high-end guests staying in Haven and Suite accommodations will have the Silver Palm restaurant, a private party room that can be reserved for groups of up to 75 and 22 air-conditioned villas (studio, one bedroom and two bedroom) for rent. A Mandara spa will be on site.

The Lagoon Retreat will be reserved for Haven guests, anyone who books a spa treatment and a limited number of guests on each cruise who will pay extra.

A posh Mandara Spa will have four treatment rooms.
A posh Mandara Spa will have four treatment rooms.

At a press conference at CLIA’s Cruise360 conference, Norwegian president Andy Stuart said the features were not designed after MSC Cruises announced an island with similar amenities in Bimini last year. “We’ve had plans in place for a number of years,” Stuart said.

He declined to say what Norwegian will spend on the upgrades, other than to say it was part of Norwegian’s $400 million Norwegian Edge initiative.

The upgrades at Great Stirrup Cay are expected to be in place by spring 2017, except for the cabanas, which will open in the summer, Norwegian said.