PortMiami: bigger and better than ever

Not one to rest on its laurels, the port has a number of exciting plans in the pipeline for the years ahead, ensuring it retains its position as the cruise capital of the world

PortMiami: bigger and better than ever
PortMiami served over 5.3 million travellers in 2017, more than any other port in the world

This article was first published in the Autumn/Winter 2018 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

In 2017, PortMiami served more than 5.3 million travellers – that’s more cruise passengers than any other port in the world. Already home to 22 cruise lines, the port’s cruise footprint is expanding at breakneck speed, with a number of changes being made to terminals in the years to come. 

Royal Caribbean International’s new cruise terminal, dubbed the ‘Crown of Miami’ due to its structure, opened in November 2018. The 170,000-square-foot Terminal A has been designed by Broadway Malyan and is home to Royal Caribbean’s 5,400-passenger Oasis-class ships Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas. 

And this is just the start of things to come. Earlier in 2018, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) and Miami-Dade County reached an agreement to amend and restate a cruise terminal agreement incorporating the construction of a new Cruise Terminal B at PortMiami. County commissioners are investing US$100 million in the terminal construction project, which broke ground recently. It is expected to be completed by autumn 2019, just in time for Norwegian’s newest Breakaway Plus-class ship, Norwegian Encore, to begin her inaugural homeporting season in Miami.

Boasting a spiralled, multi-level façade inspired by a nautilus (a pelagic marine mollusc), the terminal will be designed by Miami-based firm Bermello Ajamil & Partners. It will be almost 166,500 square feet and accommodate ships carrying up to 5,000 passengers. The facility will have indoor waiting areas, a lounge and service area for large groups and charters, and new technology to support faster embarkation and disembarkation processes, as well as expedited security screening and luggage check-in. There will also be an outdoor waiting area, a parking garage and a valet parking area with direct access to the terminal and lounge.

The new terminal will be constructed to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standards to optimise energy performance, indoor air quality and water efficiency. The building will also be constructed using local materials and resources.

As part of its new agreement with Miami-Dade County, NCLH has also committed to bringing a minimum of 1.3 million Norwegian Cruise Line passengers to PortMiami every year. This Minimum Annual Guarantee was expected to generate approximately US$24 million in gross revenues starting in the 2018 financial year, with an increase of 3% annually throughout the agreement. Meanwhile, the increase in cruise calls is expected to create around 155 new direct full-time jobs.

“Investing in PortMiami’s infrastructure positions Miami as a global destination for visitors,” said Carlos Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Mayor. “The construction of a new cruise terminal with the capacity to berth an additional 5,000-passenger cruise ship represents thousands of jobs and increased opportunities for our community. We are grateful for Norwegian Cruise Line’s continued partnership.”

Meanwhile, MSC Cruises is to build a new cruise terminal capable of accommodating its yet-to-be-launched 7,000-guest World Class cruise ships at PortMiami. Miami-Dade County and MSC Cruises, which uses PortMiami as its exclusive US homeport, signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the new Cruise Terminal AAA on 11 July 2018. The facility is expected to be completed by October 2022. It will be MSC Cruises’ second dedicated terminal at PortMiami after it opened Terminal F as a homeport for MSC Divina and the 5,170-passenger flagship MSC Seaside in December 2017.

Miami-Dade County also signed an agreement to extend MSC Cruises’ preferential berthing rights to both Saturdays and Sundays.

“The new agreement and expanded partnership with PortMiami and Miami-Dade County is another key step forward in the business growth of MSC Cruises, as we continue to strengthen our global footprint, with a strategic focus on North America,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises.

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Lindsay James
By Lindsay James
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

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