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New Royal Caribbean cruise terminal in Galveston is nearly complete

In:
04 Aug 2022

Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in Galveston, Texas is nearing completion.

Galveston cruise terminal construction

One of the few projects to continue work during the cruise industry shutdown of 2020-2021 was an expansion of Royal Caribbean's presence in Galveston. 

A construction update shared by the cruise line indicates they are 75% complete with construction.

The $125 million, 161,000-square-foot cruise terminal will cement the company's presence in the Texas cruise market for decades, not only with a larger building, but with increased capacity as well.

Galveston cruise terminal construction

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley posted on Facebook, "Texas will soon be able to welcome our Oasis Class ships – some of the largest in the world! And we’re kicking off with Allure of the Seas!"

The first Allure of the Seas sailing is scheduled on November 13, 2022 to coincide with the opening of Terminal 3 cruise terminal.

Allure of the Seas aerial with sunset

Not only can Terminal 3 handle Oasis Class ships, it will also be able to accommodate Royal Caribbean's new Icon Class ships.

Allure will sail 7-night Western Caribbean cruises to destinations like Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Roatan, Honduras.

Inside the terminal

New cruise terminals are more than just a place to check-in and board your cruise. With the new building comes a smoother process, as well as enhancements in the embarkation and disembarkation procedures.

Royal Caribbean says it will be a state-of-the-art building that will be LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which means it will be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. 

Galveston's new terminal will also have a special area for suite guests with their own "plussed" seating area before boarding begins.

Royal Caribbean updates: Wonder arrives in Europe, executive changes & more

In:
04 May 2022

Ready to catch up on this week's Royal Caribbean news?

There's always a lot of changes happening, big and small. In order to keep everyone up-to-date, this post has a wrap up of what's new this week.

Check out all of the updates so far this week.

Wonder of the Seas begins European cruise season

Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship arrived in Barcelona and is ready to begin her summer cruise season in the Mediterranean.

Wonder of the Seas will begin offering 7-night cruises from Barcelona and Rome beginning May 8th.

During her time in Europe, the ship will visit destinations such as Florence, Naples and Capri, Italy; Provence, France; and Malaga, Spain.

Wonder’s western Mediterranean sailings will continue through October.  In November, Wonder will return to the U.S. to sail from its new year-round home in Port Canaveral, Florida, 

New Galveston cruise terminal ahead of schedule

Progress is so good at Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in Galveston that construction is actually ahead of schedule.

During a webinar with travel agents on Wednesday, Royal Caribbean Director of Sales for the Central Region, Galen Matthews, provided an update.

"We are super excited that the Galveston terminal construction is actually ahead of schedule," Ms. Matthews shared. "The terminal is now 50% complete and the berth expansion is about 80% complete."

"We will be open for business and ready to receive your clients for the first Allure of the Seas sailing, which is on November 13, 2022."

Terminal 3 cruise terminal will cost $125 million, and is located at Pier 10 for exclusive use by Royal Caribbean.

Executive moves

Two notable Royal Caribbean executives have announced they are departing the company.

Royal Caribbean International Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, Mark Tamis, is leaving Royal Caribbean International. His replacement will be Sean Treacy, who was working as the Senior Vice President of International Sales.

Mr. Tamis has worked as the head of Hotel Operations since February 2015. He came to Royal Caribbean after serving as senior vice president, Guest Operations with Carnival Cruise Lines.

Royal Caribbean headquarters in Miami

In addition, Vice President of worldwide port operations, Captain Hernan Zini is also leaving the cruise line to go work for Amazon.

Captain Zini also served as Vice President of talent management for Royal Caribbean Group. Many cruise fans may remember him best as the fleet captain and being the start-up Captain for Allure of the Seas when she first debuted.

Royal Caribbean will look for a new person to be appointed to Captain Zini's former role.

New crew member recruitment drive in Antigua

Just days after Royal Caribbean announced it would hire more crew members from Barbados, the cruise line said it will also do a hiring push in Antigua & Barbuda.

Royal Caribbean Group Vice President of Government Relations in the Americas, Russel Benford, announced the news at the Seatrade conference last week.

Royal Caribbean hopes to hire thousands of people from the Caribbean islands during an employment fair in June.

Openings in operations include

  • storekeepers
  • cruise staff
  • youth staff
  • sports staff
  • laundry and restaurant attendants
  • bar waiters
  • wait staff, bakers
  • butchers
  • casino
  • entertainment
  • photographers

Glacier visits

Royal Caribbean's first ships of the Alaska cruise season are visiting glaciers this week.

Photos of Radiance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas are checking out the Southeast Alaska glaciers, and there's new photos of both ships.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader twangster shared this photo of Radiance of the Seas, as seen from Serenade of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet posted photos of Radiance as well.

 

Royal Caribbean updates: New straws, Galveston terminal & more!

In:
24 Mar 2022

Royal Caribbean is busy with plenty of changes, and I want to make sure you're aware of everything happening.

Between the major announcements, there are a good amount of smaller updates that occur every week, so this is a quick round-up of Royal Caribbean news from this week.

Many thanks to the RoyalCaribbeanBlog community for helping spot what has changed.

If you ever have a news tip, feel free to email it to [email protected] for possible inclusion in a future update!

New biodegradable straws

There's a new kind of biodegradable straw on at least some Royal Caribbean ships.

Royal Caribbean got rid of plastic straws on its cruise ships in 2018, but the paper straw replacements have been received with mixed reactions.

According to the StrawFish website, the straws are able to biodegrade without the need for oxygen, in a process called anaerobic biodegradation. This is essential because landfill conditions consist of extremely low oxygen levels.

In fact, they've been tested to 100% biodegrade in under 27 weeks in natural landfill conditions.

So far they've been spotted on Harmony, Freedom, and Jewel of the Seas.

Readers that tried them have all reported them being a far better solution compared to the paper straws they replaced.

Thanks to twangster and Dan Kohout for providing photos.

First Royal Caribbean ship to reach 100% capacity

We may have had the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship get to full capacity since the pandemic.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Shannon Ford is sailing on Odyssey of the Seas this week and reported the ship's Captain mentioning during her sailing.

The Captain added this is the first sailing to be sold at 100%.

Spring break has seen many ship capacities rise from around 50-60% limits that were in place in January and February.

New shampoo and body wash

Guests are seeing a new brand of shampoo, body wash, and conditioner in their cabin on at least some ships.

Janet Pirkle shared a photo of the new Salt + Breeze brand toiletries that were added to her Junior Suite on Mariner of the Seas.

Other cruisers reported seeing Salt + Breeze brand liquids added to select cabins on Harmony, Explorer, Odyssey, and Independence of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean is still using Malin & Goetz on other ships in the suites.

Galveston cruise ship terminal construction update

Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in Galveston is making significant progress in its construction.

Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees posted an update on the progress of Pier 10.

The new building should be complete in about 8 months.

Once complete the 68-foot-tall building will be faced with colorful blue panels, vertical accent windows, and the distinctive Royal Caribbean anchor logo.

Royal Caribbean updates: Galveston terminal progress, Grand Cayman, 1 million passengers & more

In:
26 Feb 2022

It's been a busy week of cruise news, and I wanted to catch you up on all the cruise news also happening beyond the major headlines.

Cruise ship in Grand Cayman

Between all the big happenings in the cruise industry, there's plenty of other changes and developments you should be aware of from this past week.

If you ever have a news tip, feel free to email it to [email protected] for possible inclusion in a future update!

Galveston cruise terminal progress

Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in Galveston is under construction, and we have a new photo update of what it looked like this week.

RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader twangster shared photos of the progress as Adventure of the Seas departed Galveston.

Terminal 3 is where Royal Caribbean's new $125 million home for Allure of the Seas will be located, and it's set to open in fall 2022.

Royal Caribbean says it will be a state-of-the-art building that will measure 161,300 square feet.

The new terminal is located at Pier 10 for exclusive use by Royal Caribbean.

Grand Cayman will reopen to cruise ships in March

While most of the Caribbean has reopened to cruise ships, Grand Cayman has left its borders closed to cruise ship traffic.

It now appears Grand Cayman will change that policy. The Cayman Compass reports Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan announced on Friday that cruise ships will be able to start visiting the island as of March 21st.

Initially, Grand Cayman will limit arrivals to a maximum of 40% of previous passenger volumes.

Grand Cayman will evaluate how the first month of operations work and make any changes necessary.

The decision, which is pending Cabinet approval, is expected to be confirmed early next week when formal changes to the COVID control regulations will be made.

One million guests and counting

Royal Caribbean's restart is hitting all sorts of important milestones.

In the year since Royal Caribbean restarted operations, their 21 cruise ships have carried more than one million passengers.

In a post on social media, Royal Caribbean celebrated this achievement, "On the anniversary of The Royal Comeback, we’re excited to celebrate welcoming one million guests onboard our ships since our return to sea."

"Thank you for navigating new challenges with us, creating new memories, and remaining loyal to Royal."

Street parties coming back?

Symphony of the Seas Live Blog - Day One - Embarkation Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

One form of entertainment that has not yet made it back to Royal Caribbean's cruise ships are street parties on the Royal Promenade.

Pre-covid, street parties were a popular event where the ship's entertainment staff would gather together with guests for a Times Square on New Years Eve kind of party.

There would be balloon drops, 70s dance parties, and more.

Royal Caribbean suspended this activity since restarting cruises in an effort to promote social distancing, but it now appears these parties might be coming back.

Senior Vice President of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean International, Nick Weir, posted on Twitter a video of a street party rehearsal that took place recently.

In the tweet, he added, "yeah, they will be back, hopefully soon…"

Royal Caribbean previews new cruise terminal in Galveston

In:
17 Dec 2021

Royal Caribbean is building a new cruise terminal in Galveston, Texas, and shared a look at what it will look like inside and out.

Terminal 3 cruise terminal will be big enough to handle Royal Caribbean's largest cruise ships, and signifies a major investment in the Galveston cruise market by committing to invest millions of dollars to upgrade the facilities.

The new $125 million cruise terminal will open in Fall 2022, and Royal Caribbean shared new concept art for what it will look like. 

New cruise terminals are more than just a place to check-in and board your cruise. With the new building comes a smoother process, as well as enhancements in the embarkation and disembarkation procedures.


The entryway

Allure of the Seas will be the first ship to call Galveston home when the new terminal opens in fall 2022.

In total, the building is 161,300 square feet and Royal Caribbean says it will be a state-of-the-art building. 

It will also be a LEED-certified terminal (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which means it will be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. 

Construction of the terminal was delayed due to the global health crisis, but work began in April 2021 on the 10 acre parcel of land.

The new terminal is located at Pier 10 for exclusive use by Royal Caribbean.

Architects Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc. came up with the look of the new terminal, but this firm is no stranger to Royal Caribbean. They also designed Terminal A in Miami, Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal, and Port Everglades' Terminal 18 and 25.


Boarding area

The facility will feature state-of-the-art technology, including mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guest arrival.

Not only can Terminal 3 handle Oasis Class ships, it will also be able to accommodate Royal Caribbean's new Icon Class ships.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean looks forward to big plans in 2022 and 2023

Guests who are booked in a suite will be able to enjoy a VIP area in the new terminal.

Many cruise terminals have separate seating for suite guests, and Galveston's new terminal looks to follow in Terminal A in PortMiami's approach to providing suite guests with their own "plussed" seating area before boarding begins.

Allure of the Seas will offer cruises from Terminal 3 beginning in November 2022.

Allure will sail 7-night Western Caribbean cruises to destinations like Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Roatan, Honduras.

Royal Caribbean breaks ground on new cruise terminal in Galveston

In:
16 Aug 2021

Construction on Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in Galveston was celebrated with an official kickoff ceremony over the weekend.

On Saturday, Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston celebrated the start of construction of the Terminal 3 cruise terminal.

Attending the groundbreaking was U.S. Congressman Randy Weber, Texas Rep. Mayes Middleton, City of Galveston Mayor Dr. Craig Brown, and City Councilmember Marie Robb. Representatives from Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston were also in attendance.

Work on the new facility began two months ago, but the official groundbreaking ceremony was held to coincide with Independence of the Seas departing Galveston, becoming the first Royal Caribbean cruise ship to sail from Galveston since March 2020.

After completing her test cruise earlier this month, Independence of the Seas received her Conditional Sailing Certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Terminal 3 will be built at Pier 10 for exclusive use by Royal Caribbean on a 10 acre parcel of land, which will eventually be the new homeport for Allure of the Seas.

The cruise terminal is estimated to cost $110 million and encompass 150,000 square feet of space.

The facility will feature state-of-the-art technology, including mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guest arrival. The terminal will be designed and developed sustainably to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) certification standards.

Construction of the terminal should be completed by November 2022.

Once construction is complete, Allure of the Seas is scheduled to arrive on November 13, 2022.

New renderings released of Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in Galveston

In:
08 May 2021

We have a new idea of what Royal Caribbean's new cruise terminal in Galveston will look like once completed.

The Terminal 3 cruise terminal is under construction, and a new artist concept rendering of the building and surround area has been released.

Construction of the terminal was delayed due to the global health crisis, but work began in April 2021 on the 10 acre parcel of land that will soon be home to Allure of the Seas.

Terminal 3 will be built at Pier 10 for exclusive use by Royal Caribbean, and it appears Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc.are the architects chosen to work on the project.

If the firm's name does not sound familiar, their work certainly speaks for itself, as they have worked on a variety of terminals and cruise projects.

Their work includes:

  • Terminal A in PortMiami
  • Port Everglades Terminal 25 & 18
  • MSC Ocean Cay Marine Reserve Private Island
  • Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal
  • Disney's Castaway Cay Private Island

The main building has the Royal Caribbean logo prominently featured against many shades of blue around a circular design.

The cruise terminal is estimated to cost $100 million and encompass 150,000 square feet of space.

When the project was announced, Royal Caribbean said the new terminal would be large enough to handle Royal Caribbean's largest cruise ships, including an Oasis Class ship or one of the new Icon Class ships.

The facility will feature state-of-the-art technology, including mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guest arrival. The terminal will be designed and developed sustainably to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) certification standards.

The contract maintains a target completion date of September 1, 2022 to complete the terminal, which is well ahead of the planned arrival of Allure of the Seas on November 13, 2022.

Royal Caribbean did ask the Port of Galveston for some extra buffer time to complete the terminal in case the cruise industry remains shutdown longer than anticipated.

Royal Caribbean had asked for a 6-month extension but negotiations resulted in only a 3-month extension. The cruise line is obligated to begin paying rent when the first ship docks at the new terminal, but not later than September 30, 2023.  

Original Concept Art for the Galveston Cruise Terminal 3

The plan for now is for Allure of the Seas to arrive on November 13, 2022.

The Port of Galveston has been working on their portion of the project throughout global health crisis and remains on track to support the project with utilities, parking lots, road and traffic improvements, landscaping, dredging, and other work.

U.S ports begin vaccinating cruise ship crew members

In:
01 May 2021

Two ports in the United States are helping get cruise ship crew members vaccinated to facilitate the cruise industry getting back to service faster.

On Friday, Port Canaveral became the first U.S. port to offer crew members a Covid-19 vaccine.

Port Canaveral's option to give crew members the vaccine came a day after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees approved an expansion to vaccine eligibility in Florida to include individuals who are in the state for purpose of providing good or services for the benefit of residents and visitors of Florida.

Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray released a statement celebrating the start tof this new program, "We have been working closely with our cruise partners, the Florida Department of Health and our port community to come up with a plan and timeline of vaccinating cruise ship crews that could begin the process for a safe return to cruising."

"This expanded eligibility is significantly important for our cruise tourism business, and we’re proud of our efforts to help get this industry up and running."

It is not clear which ship was the first to receive the doses.

Up to 1,000 COVID-19 vaccination shots per day can be provided to vessel crew members, shoreside and waterside support personnel, which aligns with recommendations released this week by the federal Centers for Disease Control for a return to cruising in the U.S.

Port Canaveral officials consulted with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and cruise line operators, as well as the CDC to develop its vaccination model to efficiently and expeditiously get vaccines disbursed to crew members and shoreside personnel. 

The Port of Galveston also plans to offer the vaccine to crew members next week, when the Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista visit.

The Port of Galveston Board of Trustees announced during a meeting on Tuesday the new plan.

Through a partnership with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), the Pfizer vaccine will be made available to crew members.

Crew vaccination part of restart plan

Getting crew members vaccinated is part of the cruise industry's plan to return to service.

Royal Caribbean has already committed itself to vaccinating all of its crew members, as of February 2021.  At the time, there was not a plan in place to do so, but vaccine eligibility in the United States is beginning to open up widely.

Moreover, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed cruise lines this week that if they can get 98% crew members vaccinated, they can get cruise ships back into service sooner (along with 95% vaccinated passengers).

Getting crew members to get the vaccine appears not to be a problem for Royal Caribbean.

During a call with Wall Street analysts this week, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said crew were overwhelmingly in favor of getting vaccinated.

In a recent survey of crew members conducted by the cruise line, Mr. Bayley said, "we had over 98 percent positive response from our crew saying, yeah, we're going to get vaccinated."

Royal Caribbean asks Galveston for extra time to complete new cruise terminal in case ships cannot sail

In:
27 Apr 2021

Royal Caribbean has a deal to build a new cruise terminal in Galveston, Texas, but the longer the cruise industry shutdown goes, the longer it could take for Royal Caribbean to finish it.

The longer the delay in cruise ships resuming sailing from the United States could impact the new terminal. Royal Caribbean was set to open it by fall 2022, but now, it could be off by a year.

The Port of Galveston Board of Trustees has agreed to the contract amendment by approving a second amendment to the contract on Tuesday for the new Royal Caribbean cruise terminal.  

Although the due diligence period expired on April 9th, this second amendment formally waives the due diligence period and makes this a firm contract.  The due diligence period had given Royal Caribbean Group the ability to cancel the contract up to the April 9th date, but that leverage is now gone.

The contract maintains a target completion date of September 1, 2022 to complete the terminal, which is well ahead of the planned arrival of Allure of the Seas on November 13, 2022.  Allure of the Seas will be arriving from Barcelona, Spain.

To allow for the uncertainty around the resumption of cruising and potential difficulties getting financing for the project, the latest date when Royal Caribbean must complete the project and begin paying rent was extended three months to 9/30/2023.  

Royal Caribbean had asked for a 6-month extension but negotiations resulted in only a 3-month extension. The cruise line is obligated to begin paying rent when the first ship docks at the new terminal, but not later than September 30, 2023.  

Quoted in the Galveston Daily News, Port Director Rodger Rees said that ideally the extension won’t come into play at all. "I think the opening date of the terminal will depend on when the cruise lines commence cruising in the U.S.," Rees said.

"Construction will need to begin by July or August to have the terminal completed by November of 2022. If cruising commences much later than July or August, it will be tough to expect to have the cruise terminal finished by November of 2022."

Trustee Elizabeth Beeton was also quoted in the Daily News and pointed out that at this point there would be significant financial consequences if Royal Caribbean backs out. "If Royal fails to perform, they owe the port several million dollars," Beeton said. She said Royal Caribbean’s extension request wasn’t particularly significant.

In summary, the contract is now firm, Royal Caribbean intends to be ready for Allure’s arrival on November 13, 2022, but they have the contractual flexibility to delay completion to as late as September 30, 2023 if the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to block cruising in the United States and there are other roadblocks to financing the project.

The Port of Galveston has been working on their portion of the project throughout the Covid pandemic and remains on track to support the project with utilities, parking lots, road and traffic improvements, landscaping, dredging, and other work.

The Port of Galveston and the Royal Caribbean project team began bi-weekly project meetings several months ago.

The global health crisis caused the new port project to be delayed. Royal Caribbean announced a new cruise terminal deal in December 2019, with an anticipated completion date of November 2021.

In March 2020, Royal Caribbean asked Galveston to delay the start of construction by a year.

Allure of the Seas is scheduled to begin sailing from Galveston, Texas in November 2022.

Special thanks to Steve Ritter for his contributions to this article.

Royal Caribbean will base Allure of the Seas in Galveston beginning November 2022

In:
02 Mar 2021

Royal Caribbean is set to announce Allure of the Seas will sail from Galveston.

According to the Port of Galveston, Royal Caribbean will announce on Wednesday that Allure of the Seas will begin sailing from Galveston, Texas in November 2022.

The information was divulged at a meeting of the Wharves Board of Trustees on Tuesday. More than likely, Allure's sailing from Galveston will be in tandem with the opening of the new cruise terminal that Royal Caribbean intends to build.

"Royal is going to announce tomorrow that sales will begin for the Allure of the Seas in November 2022," said Galveston Port Director Rodger Rees.

"So they're going to start selling for the Allure of the Seas, I got the email yesterday."

Back in December 2019, the plan was to have Allure sail from Galveston, but the delayed cruise terminal construction meant those plans had to be deferred.

It now appears those plans were deferred, but not denied.

The anticipated official announcement by Royal Caribbean tomorrow will likely coincide with Royal Caribbean's release of 7-Night Caribbean & Northeast (Phase 2) sailings.

Royal Caribbean plans to partner with Ceres Terminals Management to manage the new terminal and provide stevedore services at the pier.

Ceres would have 50% ownership in the terminal and Royal Caribbean would have the other 50%. Ceres is already approved to provide stevedore services at Galveston and provides similar services for Royal Caribbean at Port Canaveral, Port Everglades (Silversea), Tampa, Baltimore, and New Orleans.

Read moreHere are the two port projects Royal Caribbean intends to complete

Royal Caribbean is ordering two new gangways for the new terminal with a 2-year delivery time. They did not discuss whether the gangways would be available for the November 2022 terminal opening but some alternate method of embarkation would possibly be needed during the first few months of operation.

The new Galveston cruise terminal has been by a year due to the cruise industry shutdown, but Galveston officials claim Royal Caribbean has informed in February 2021 that they intend to begin construction in April 2021.

Galveston Port Director Rodger Rees said in that February meeting, "April 1, we're slated for construction to begin on the new cruise terminal."

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.

The new cruise terminal will be big enough to handle Royal Caribbean's largest cruise ships, including an Oasis Class ship or the new Icon Class ships.

The facility will feature state-of-the-art technology, including mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite guest arrival. The terminal will be designed and developed sustainably to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) certification standards.

Many thanks to RoyalCaribbeanBlog reader Galveston Steve for helping with this post.

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