Before the entire cruise industry shutdown, Royal Caribbean had lots of plans for the next few years, but those have since been curtailed for economic reasons.
Nonetheless, Royal Caribbean will push ahead with at least two projects based on comments from the Port of Galveston Port Director.
Rodger Rees talked at a webinar about the short term future of the Port of Galveston, and he said Royal Caribbean outlined the top two port project priorities for the cruise line.
Royal Caribbean was forced to delay construction of a brand new terminal by a year. Despite the major setbacks financially, Royal Caribbean remains committed to the Port of Galveston cruise terminal project, as well as the Freeport, Bahamas port expansion.
Mr. Rees said he was told by "the President of Royal Caribbean" that the cruise line had about 20 projects on the drawing board prior to the global health crisis, and they have whittled it down to two projects.
"One of them is us, here in Galveston. And then the other one is actually a a development over Freeport, Bahamas."
The project in Freeport that Mr. Rees alluded to in his conversation is the presumed purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort and Freeport Harbour project.
"The one hundred million dollar contract with Royal Caribbean is still on the table. We're having conversations with them right now to start construction in April."
"April 1, we're slated for construction to begin on the new cruise terminal."
Mr. Rees' comments echo that of previous statements where Royal Caribbean has indicated to him that they are onboard to begin construction.
At a meeting in December 2020, Mr. Rees said Cruise Terminal 3 is still scheduled to begin construction in April 2021 so that it can be ready to open in October 2022.
"They revealed to me that they had, in fact, set aside some equity on their balance sheet, encumbered some equity on their balance sheet for the cruise terminal, construction and other work."
The new Terminal 3 in Galveston will be built on 10 acres of land at Pier 10, and will be used exclusively by Royal Caribbean.
Vaccine is the key factor
Mr. Rees also talked about the role of the COVID-19 vaccine, and he believes it will be the major factor to move things forward.
"I think the biggest I think the biggest thing that's going to help the cruising start back up again is obviously going to be the vaccine."
"The cruise lines are starting to lean towards that as the as the key factor to starting up."
Mr. Rees said the cruise lines and the ports are working on a series of agreements to ensure medical care is adequate to meet the needs.
"Covid's here. vaccine's not going to eradicate it 100 percent."
"Every now and then you're probably going to get one or two, three cases on these cruise ships. The important thing is not to get 50 to 500 cases on them."
"They're doing the same thing on the cruise lines that we'll be doing here in airports and what we do in our daily life, distancing and masking."