Galveston Cruise Terminal receiving $53M makeover to accommodate CCL's Carnival Jubilee

   May 21, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

Galveston Wharves is investing US$53 million in a major expansion at Cruise Terminal 25 in order to accommodate CCL-Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Jubilee, a new ship arriving in December 2023.

Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves port director & CEO said they were looking forward to welcoming the new Carnival Jubilee to their improved cruise terminal.

“We’re proud to have Carnival Cruise Line, our long-time cruise partner, choose Galveston as the home port for its newest ship.”

With max capacity 6630 passengers, Carnival Jubilee is bigger than the CCL liners currently homeported at Terminal 25. Building plans include improvements to accommodate the vessel, move guests efficiently during debarkation/embarkation, and update the 2-decade-old terminal.

The plans for construction at the port involve modifying gangways, adding a ramp, 2 elevators, an escalator, and a new roof. The new gangways are currently being constructed in Spain. Despite the construction project, cruise operations will continue without interruption.

Additionally, the port will be making necessary improvements to the facilities used by US Customs and Border Protection, which plays a vital role in ensuring safety and security at the terminal.

According to Rees, these improvements are part of a long-term investment in the port's future growth, job creation, and a stronger regional economy. As the USA's 4th largest cruise port and currently Texas' only one (Houston doesn't handle passenger ships), Galveston relies heavily on its cruise business, which accounts for 2/3 of its revenues. Rees emphasized that the port reinvests its net operational revenues into capital projects to expand its business.

In 2022, the port's cruise activities resulted in the creation of 3500 jobs, generating US$568 million in local business revenue and US$73.5 million in local purchases by passengers and crew. With more people choosing to cruise, the introduction of new and larger ships departing from Galveston, and the upcoming opening of a third cruise terminal in late 2022, the port is expected to achieve new records in 2023.

To finance the expansion of the cruise terminal, the port will utilize cash reserves, propose a bond issue, and establish an agreement with Carnival.

Galveston Wharves, located at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel, has been a thriving maritime commercial center since 1825. With its 840-acre area and well-established infrastructure, the port is equipped to accommodate the growing cruise, cargo, and commercial businesses. It takes just 45 minutes from the port to reach the open seas.