Travel | January 17, 2023 7:19 am

New Texas Cruise Terminal Is Now Serving the World’s Largest Ships

All aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, which features seven distinct “neighborhoods”

Allure of the Seas at the Port of Galveston.
Allure of the Seas at the Port of Galveston.
Royal Caribbean International

Everything’s bigger in Texas. Yeah, yeah, we know. But sometimes it’s literally true, and that’s the case here with the newly opened Royal Caribbean cruise terminal at the Port of Galveston, which is now home base for the world’s largest cruise ships.

Whether you’re a cruise veteran or simply cruise-curious, there’s no denying that it’s convenient to have a major cruise port situated on the Gulf Coast. Especially because itineraries that originate in Galveston visit some top-notch Caribbean destinations, including Cozumel, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Aruba and Curaçao. 

The new terminal measures more than 160,000 square feet, cost $125 million to build and is estimated to welcome as many as 630,000 vacationers each year. It was also designed as the first LEED Zero Energy facility in the world, generating 100% of the energy it needs through onsite solar panels. So, while your cruise might carry a heavy carbon footprint, at least you’ll know the terminal you leave from is doing its part.

Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO Rodger Rees calls the new cruise terminal “a game changer for the port and the region,” citing its impact on local jobs and business revenue. “And, of course, Allure of the Seas means more cruising adventures for our Texas cruise guests.”

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The Royal Caribbean terminal will serve the state’s first Oasis Class cruise ships, which are the world’s largest, and until now could only be accessed via ports in Florida and New Jersey. Voyages begin with Allure of the Seas. From bow to stern, the cruise ship measures nearly 1,200 feet, or about four football fields. There are 18 decks, 16 of which hold passengers, and 2,742 staterooms. On board you’ll find seven signature neighborhoods — yes, neighborhoods — including the open-air Central Park with thousands of plants; the Boardwalk, which is inspired by seaside piers; and the Royal Promenade, an indoor mall lined with restaurants, bars and shops. 

The ship has 19 restaurants, serving everything from steak and lobster to Italian, tacos and hot dogs, and you can score drinks at 15 bars and lounges. There are four pools, two FlowRider surf simulators, a rock climbing wall, an ice skating rink and a nine-story-high zip line. The AquaTheater features high divers and acrobats; and entertainment, from music to comedy, plays across four stages. The spa has all the massages and other treatments you’ll appreciate when spending a week aboard a floating city. There’s a lot to do on the ship, but when you’re ready to explore dry land, you can spend the day at various port destinations. 

The Allure’s upcoming seven-night itineraries stop at Roatan, the scenic island off the coast of Honduras, before heading to Cozumel and Puerto Costa Maya in Mexico. Excursions are available for anyone who wants to trek through the jungles or go snorkeling or scuba diving. 

Toward the end of this year, your options will increase with another massive Oasis Class ship, this one called Harmony of the Seas. Beginning in November, it will set sail from Galveston, embarking on four-night and seven-night voyages to destinations across the Caribbean.