Galveston and MSC Cruises announce $140M terminal development

   June 16, 2024 ,   Cruise Industry

A recent announcement by Galveston Wharves and MSC Cruises (the world's third-largest cruise shipowner) marks a significant milestone in the expansion of cruise and commercial shipping traffic at Port Galveston (Texas USA).

This year, construction will commence on the port's 4th cruise terminal, set to become the homeport for the 1112-foot MSC Seascape ship starting in November 2025.

The US$140 million development follows two years of negotiations between Galveston Wharves and MSC Cruises, culminating in a 20-year agreement with options for 5-year extensions. The project involves transforming a former Del Monte Foods cargo warehouse into a 165,000-square-foot cruise terminal, complete with a parking garage, passenger boarding bridge, and other infrastructure enhancements.

Galveston, a maritime commercial hub since 1825, boasts an 840-acre port located just 45 minutes from open seas. The port's infrastructure supports its growing cruise, cargo, and commercial operations. The early 1980s saw the port's shift towards tourism, and its current 40-Year Strategic Master Plan envisions further improvements to enhance public access and enjoyment. The agreement with MSC is a key part of this strategic expansion.

As the 4th most popular cruise homeport in the USA, Galveston hosted 1.49 million cruise tourists in 2023, marking a 43% increase from 2022 and a swift recovery from the COVID downturn in 2020 when passenger numbers dropped below 500,000. Cruise ship traffic continues to be a crucial component of the port's future.

In November 2022, RCI-Royal Caribbean International inaugurated Galveston's 3rd cruise terminal. This US$125 million facility allows the port to accommodate RCI's Oasis Class vessels - the world's largest passenger ships.