(3:17 p.m. EST) -- Royal Caribbean plans to construct a new $100 million cruise terminal at the port of Galveston, which will welcome Allure of the Seas in November 2021.
First announced last year, an agreement between the line and the port marks a new phase of growth for the Galveston, which served more than one million passengers last year and is the fourth most active cruise port in North America.
Construction is expected to begin in April 2020, with the new two-story terminal opening in fall 2021. The 170,000 square-foot building on 10 acres will feature mobile check-in and facial recognition to speed passenger processing, and it will be designed and developed sustainably to meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental) certification standards.
Under the terms of the public-private partnership, Royal Caribbean will build the terminal, then lease it from the port for an initial term of 20 years, with the option of four 10-year extensions. It will be located on the eastern section of the port known as Pier 10.
The project also includes improvements to the pier bulkhead and apron to accommodate the cruise line's largest ships. In addition, a loading area, bus and taxi staging areas, and parking will be constructed.
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"This is an historic moment, not only for the port but for Galveston," Port Director/CEO Rodger Rees said in a statement. "This partnership will bring economic growth to the region and the state by generating new jobs, spending and tax revenues. It also will bring more visitors to the island, a popular tourist destination."
An outline of the deal was first announced in December 2018 but wasn't finalized until this week.
"We are excited to partner with the Port of Galveston to develop a world-class facility which will allow us to sail our newest, largest and most innovative ships from Texas, starting with Allure of the Seas," Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said in a statement. "The new terminal will allow us to increase our guests to the region by 50 percent, generating a $100 million economic impact within the first year of operation."
When completed, the port will welcome Allure of the Seas, which will sail seven-night Caribbean itineraries. One of the largest ships in the world, the vessel is scheduled to undergo a $165 million enhancement as part of the line's Royal Amplification initiative, adding new top-deck amusements like the Ultimate Abyss and trio of Perfect Storm water slides, a Music Hall, an expanded Giovanni's concept and completely redesigned Adventure Ocean kids' and teens' spaces.
Currently, Galveston is home to Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas. In addition, Carnival and Disney ships sail from the port.