Teamwork, Texas-style hospitality make cruise terminal operations a success
When my family and I took our first cruise out of Galveston last year, I was impressed by everyone staffing the cruise terminal. From the luggage handlers and greeters to the security and check-in staff, everyone welcomed us with a smile and worked as an efficient team to get us checked in and onboard.
These unsung heroes are one key to Galveston’s growing success as a cruise port. People travel from across the United States to cruise from Galveston, the fourth most popular cruise port in North America.
The terminal staff’s Texas-style hospitality is one reason cruise passengers return again and again to sail from Galveston. It’s also why the cruise lines are bringing more ships to Galveston and why Royal Caribbean is investing $100 million in a new cruise terminal, which will be owned and operated by the Galveston Wharves.
NO SMALL FEAT
About a dozen entities work together to move more than 2 million passengers a year through our two cruise terminals as they embark and disembark – safely and efficiently. We’ll average almost one cruise ship call a day in 2020. We host a cruise ship almost every day of the week, and sometimes have two a day.
Here’s a list of some of those entities:
• Galveston Wharves Terminal Operations
• Galveston Wharves Police and Security Department
• International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA)
• U.S. Customs
• U.S. Coast Guard
• Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
• Shoreside services companies contracted by the cruise lines
• Terminal security companies contracted by the cruise line
It takes more than 200 people from these entities to staff each cruise terminal and assist between 2,400 and 4,600 passengers as they board and disembark. Staff numbers vary depending on the ship size.
MEET SOME OF THESE AMAZING PEOPLE
Jami Fairley, Operations manager for Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services, leads a guest operations team that provides directional and check-in services for Royal Caribbean passengers. She told me that her “awesome, committed team” of part-time employees are from Galveston and the greater region. They range from college students to retirees, including a dentist, a veterinarian, engineers and flight attendants.
Justin Butler is a terminal security officer and an alternate facility security officer for Terminal Security Solutions, the company contracted by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Line. It takes a staff of about 50 people to provide screening and other terminal security services to board passengers on a ship.
Their goal is to ensure the comfort, security and safety of all crew and passengers while delivering great customer service. His staff has intensive training on the screening, security procedures and customer service needs unique to cruise operations.
And because the Galveston Wharves owns the terminals where all of these entities operate, our Cruise Terminal Manager Bill Dell is the music conductor for this orchestra of varied terminal services. Bill and his staff of five make sure that everything flows perfectly.
They maintain the terminals and coordinate communication between all of the entities operating in the terminal.
Bill said that all of these entities do a great job of training their staff and working together to make sure passengers have a positive customer experience.
He told me: “Working in the terminal is a great experience. We meet so many people, including cruise staff from all over the world.”
Hats off to everyone who staffs our cruise terminals to give our cruise passengers happy Galveston memories.