GALVESTON, Texas — It’s hard to picture paradise on a gloomy day, but in Galveston, the Caribbean is closer than you’d think.
“They wanted to kind of solidify their position here," Port of Galveston Director Rodger Rees said.
It was a big announcement by Disney Cruise Lines. The Mickey Mouse voyage will be docking in Galveston through the next decade.
The agreement will more than double the number ships the port has, from 12 turns right now up to 26, Rees said.
It's a big promise for the tiny island.
“We’ve been slow. We’ve had slow growth," Rees said.
Slow growth, until now.
In the past six months, Carnival brought in Vista - one of its largest cruise ships. Disney pledged 10 more years, promising to double its traffic, and Royal Caribbean is expected to spend $100 million to build a new terminal.
That last one may be the biggest deal of them all.
The port will lease the land and own the parking, while Royal Caribbean builds the terminal, bringing with them quite the cruise.
“The Oasis of the Seas, which is the largest ship on the water now, which is 6,200 passengers, 3,000 crew," Rees said.
That increased traffic is why the port is looking 20 years out.
“I think for so long, the community never had any plan," Rees said.
The port is developing a master plan that will show cruise projections, best uses for cargo, and how to expand inland.
“We’re looking for restaurants, hotels in there, nightlife, boardwalk kind of thing in there," Rees said.
It just goes to show the port of Galveston always has its sights set on the horizon.
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