(7:02 p.m. EST) -- A ribbon was ceremoniously cut and colorful balloons were dropped today to celebrate the opening of the newest cruise terminal at Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades. The 240,000-square-foot Terminal 18 is now the largest cruise terminal in the world to serve a single ship: Royal Caribbean's soon-to-debut Oasis of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain and President Adam Goldstein were on hand for the fanfare among other VIP's, including U.S. Congressman Ron Klein, Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter, and Port Director Phillip C. Allen. As the roughly 350 attendees snacked on catered goodies, Royal Caribbean dancers performed a number from the Broadway musical "Hairspray," which will be staged onboard Oasis of the Seas. In addition, renowned international artist Michele Oka Doner unveiled her work of art, a mosaic floor commissioned by the port to decorate the terminal's atrium.
Perhaps more impressive than the sheer size of the terminal is the fact that Terminal 18 was finished on time -- and under budget -- according to Allen. The $75-million terminal will accommodate 5,400 passengers and their luggage. There will be 90 check-in counters, seating for 3,000 people, 22 processing booths for U.S. Customs and even a children's play area -- a new trend in port facilities and a nice touch for families waiting in line to board the largest ship ever built.
Oasis of the Seas will arrive at its new home for the first time on the morning of November 13, 2009. Stay tuned for the latest Oasis news from Cruise Critic!
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Port Everglades Celebrates Opening of Oasis’ New Cruise Terminal
November 6, 2009