The decision to expand the deadline for the opening of the new cruise terminal came as the port also forecast the suspension of cruise traffic from the port for the rest of the year.
The suspension of all cruises for the rest of the year isn’t definite, but is what the port expects to be most likely amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Wharves Board of Trustees Chairman Albert Shannon told The Daily News.
“We basically are saying the probability is we get no cruises this year, and this is the worst-case scenario,” he said.
No cruise ships have sailed from Galveston since March 13th because of a worldwide shutdown of cruisescaused by the COVID-19 crisis and a no-sail order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, the two largest cruise operators sailing from the port, have announced global cruise suspension in line with major cruise companies around the world.
Carnival Cruise Line has canceled all of its cruises worldwide through at least June 26th, while Royal Caribbean Cruises has canceled all of its cruises though June 11th.
Royal Caribbean and Carnival were scheduled to operate 304 cruises out of the Port of Galveston in 2020.
The new cruise terminal for Royal Caribbean was intended to launch in November next year, with roundtrip cruises operated by the Oasis-class mega ship Allure of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean now has until April, 2021 to fully commit to building the new terminal. An updated completion date is expected to be in the third quarter of 2022.
In November 2021, the newly completed terminal was originally set to welcome the Allure of the Seas following her $165 million amplification. The Allure was scheduled to sail seven-night Caribbean itineraries from Galveston following her US $165 million amplification.
That refurbishment has also been suspended due to shutdowns at shipyards across Europe and an effort by the cruise line to cut costs.