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Royal Caribbean is ready to open the world's first renewable energy cruise terminal

13 Oct 2022
Matt Hochberg

A new standard for environmental stewardship has been set by Royal Caribbean.

Galveston cruise terminal

Photo by Alex Roberson

Next month, Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal will open in Galveston, Texas and when it does, it will set change the norm for all other terminals around the world.

The cruise line says by using solar panels, it will be able to generate 100% of its needed energy. This makes the terminal the first LEED Zero Energy facility in the world, and for exclusive use by Royal Caribbean International cruise ships.

The new cruise terminal will be the home of Allure of the Seas when she begins offering cruises in November 2022.

Galveston cruise terminal construction

The $125 million, 161,334-square-foot Galveston Cruise Terminal will be able to accommodate up to 630,000 guests per year. 

The opening of the terminal will mark the first time Galveston welcomes Royal Caribbean International’s signature Oasis Class, the world’s largest cruise ships, with the arrival of Allure of the Seas and the first time the company is bringing its frictionless arrival and departure process to Texas.

Sustainable cruise terminal

Galveston terminal infographic

When you think of a cruise terminal, you think about almost any large building that can accommodate a lot of people in that they are on the power grid. In fact, I bet you don't think about it because you just assume it's like any other building.

In building this new cruise terminal, Royal Caribbean Group approached design strategies that aligned with its wholistic environmental goals, its focus to advance the development of sustainable infrastructure as well as its decarbonization strategy.

Last year, Royal Caribbean Group announced it wanted to get to net zero emissions by 2050 under a program it calls, "Destination Net Zero".

Solar panels on Galveston terminal

The new cruise terminal in Galveston will be the first in Texas to achieve LEED Gold certification, an industry-leading certification expected to be received within the first two quarters of 2023.

Here's how Royal Caribbean Group reached this goal with the Galveston terminal:

  • Improved Sustainability in Construction
    • The project prioritized using materials that produce less carbon based on energy used and the transportation process.
    • During construction, the team has diverted 75% of its waste from landfill.
    • Minimized interior sources of pollution through the installation of materials with low or zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs) content, and enhanced air filtration media, focusing on occupant thermal comfort and controllability.
  • Renewable Energy and Carbon Reduction
    • The terminal will rely on 30,000 square feet of on-site photovoltaic solar panels, enabling the port’s self-sufficient energy usage. Any remaining energy not used by the terminal will be sent to the local power grid.
    • Carbon emissions are being offset through the purchase of carbon credits.
  • Regional and Global Environmental Benefits
    • Materials and construction selection contribute to the reduction of “heat island effect” in the Galveston area, a region that experiences higher temperatures than outlying areas due to an over-stimulated energy grid.
    • Implement strategies to reduce exterior lighting pollution, which may help minimize negative effects to the night-time sky and the surrounding community.
  • Community Connectivity
    • By offering bicycle facilities and electric charging stations, the project promotes alternative means of transportation for guests and staff from the surrounding community, reducing transportation-related carbon emissions.
    • As the Port of Galveston increases its Electric Vehicles (EV) charging stations, Royal Caribbean International’s terminal, T10, will supply infrastructure for the future installation of eight EV charging stations within its parking lot.
Galveston cruise terminal construction

Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty celebrated this achievement, "We are focused on innovating across all aspects of our company, especially in our work to advance sustainability in the communities we visit."

"We deeply value both the oceans we sail and the communities we visit and operate in, and the modern design and development features at our terminal in Galveston will work in service of both."

The Galveston terminal is the fourth LEED certified facility, but first to be Gold certified.

Terminal A in PortMiami

Other projects getting LEED certified include:

  • Terminal A at PortMiami
  • The Springfield, Oregon campus
  • The Innovation Lab at Royal Caribbean Group’s corporate headquarters in Miami

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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