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Cruise Ship Wars

Cruise ship wars: Galveston racing to hold off the Port of Houston's challenge in a major money fight

Caribbean Princess cruise ship ocean line at dock
This week, the Port of Galveston authorized up to $100,000 for designs for a third cruise terminal. NBC News

Galveston, the fourth busiest cruise terminal in the nation, is looking to add a third cruise ship terminal to try and ensure its port stays busy.

The addition of a new terminal would mean a significant capacity increase and could lead to even more cruise line business, particularly important for Galveston now with the added competition from the Port of Houston's recently opened Bayport terminal.

The Port of Galveston authorized up to $100,000 for Los Angeles-based architecture firm McTigue to develop a design for the new terminal.

Port Director Mike Mierzwa told the Business Journal that while the port has not designated a size for the new terminal, the building will have to be about 150,000 square feet in order to serve the types of cruise ships the port is looking to attract. Because the port already has two large cruise terminals, Mierzwa said they are considering "out-of-the-box ideas" that would allow for a smaller terminal that could still operate as effectively and efficiently as a larger one.

The board of trustees' intention for the Galveston port is to establish a third terminal on the "Galveston Island side" and "not on the Pelican Island" side, where there is underdeveloped property, Mierzwa noted.

At the moment, there is no official timeline for the third terminal. The Port of Galveston is currently focusing on the $10 million expansion of its second cruise terminal.

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