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One of the world’s biggest cruise ships is heading to Texas -- for real, this time

March 04, 2021
5 min read
One of the world’s biggest cruise ships is heading to Texas -- for real, this time
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It's official: Texas will be home to one of the world’s biggest cruise ships by the end of 2022.

Royal Caribbean on Wednesday said its long-awaited deployment of the 5,484-passenger Allure of the Seas to Galveston, Texas, is back on for November of 2022 after a year-long delay related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The massive vessel originally was scheduled to debut in Texas later this year, but its arrival in the Lone Star State was delayed after the development of a $100 million ship terminal in Galveston was put on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak. Construction of the terminal now is set to begin in the next few months and be done by the fall of 2022.

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The terminal will be the only one at the Port of Galveston capable of handling a ship as big as Allure of the Seas.

At 225,282 tons, Allure of the Seas is the fourth-largest cruise ship in the world. Unveiled in 2010, it’s one of Royal Caribbean’s four giant Oasis Class vessels, which are more than 20% bigger than any other cruise vessels afloat. The series includes the recently unveiled Symphony of the Seas, the current size leader in the cruise world.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas is one of the world's biggest cruise ships. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

The arrival of Allure of the Seas in Texas will be a major milestone in the history of cruising from the state. The 18-deck-high, 1,187-foot-long ship is more than 40% bigger than the largest cruise vessel that has previously sailed out of Galveston (Royal Caribbean’s 3,798-passenger Liberty of the Seas).

Until now, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships mostly have sailed out of the major Florida cruise hubs such as PortMiami and Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades, as well as select ports in Europe.

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Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley has said that the development of the new terminal at the Port of Galveston and the deployment of Allure of the Seas to the port would allow Royal Caribbean to increase its passenger count on ships sailing out of Galveston by 50%.

Before the coronavirus pandemic brought cruising to a halt early last year, cruising out of Galveston had been booming. More than 1 million cruise passengers passed through the Port of Galveston in 2019, up from 641,650 just five years earlier. Cruise calls over the same period jumped from 181 to nearly 300. The port is now the fourth-busiest for cruise ships in the U.S., after PortMiami, Port Everglades and Port Canaveral in Florida.

Royal Caribbean’s parent company, Royal Caribbean Group, will build the new terminal but won’t own it. Royal Caribbean will lease the site from the port for an initial term of 20 years that can be extended. The new terminal will be a two-story, 170,000-square-foot structure with state-of-the-art technology such as mobile check-in and facial recognition to expedite passenger arrivals.

Related: Everything to know about Royal Caribbean cabins and suites

Designed for vacationers who love big, bustling megaresorts, the Oasis Class ships are chock full of more deck-top attractions and interior lounges, bars, restaurants and showrooms than any other cruise vessel.

Allure of the Seas offers lots of deck-top attractions, including FlowRider surfing simulators, a basketball court, three pool zones and a watery play area for kids. (Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean)

Like its sisters, Allure of the Seas boasts three main pool areas; a separate, adults-only outdoor lounge area; an outdoor “aquatheater” with diving shows; an ice skating rink; two rock-climbing walls; a basketball court; a massive spa; and a mall-like indoor promenade with shops, bars and places to eat. There’s also an open-air, tree-lined area called Central Park with more restaurants, bars and upscale shops; plus one of the biggest showrooms at sea.

Related: The ultimate guide to Royal Caribbean's loyalty program

Like most Royal Caribbean ships, Allure of the Seas currently isn't sailing due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, assuming cruising resumes, it's scheduled to spend the summer sailing to the Caribbean and Bahamas out of Port Canaveral. It will then move to Port Everglades in November for the winter season before sailing in Europe for the summer of 2022.

Once in Galveston, Allure of the Seas will operate seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries with stops in Roatan, Honduras, and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.

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Featured image by Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023