(9:15 a.m EDT) -- Good news for cruise passengers in the Northeast: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has agreed to a $55 million expansion of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey, adding a new terminal, more parking and pier improvements.
Ground-breaking has already occurred on the project, which is adjacent to the current terminal, and the addition is slated to be finished November 2014, in time for the debut of the cruise line's newest ship, Quantum of the Seas. The news, released yesterday in conjunction with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, merely makes it official.
The new terminal will have 125,000 square feet of space for check-in, customs and immigration, and luggage processing. The parking garage will handle 900 cars – important for this port, which is convenient for many passengers in the heavily populated mid-Atlantic states who live within driving distance.
Ships that currently use Cape Liberty include Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas and Celebrity Summit. Legend of the Seas will run New England and Canada cruises from the port in September. The much-anticipated Quantum of the Seas will use Cape Liberty as a homeport from November through May 2015, before it heads to Shanghai. Also in 2015: Liberty of the Seas will sail year-round to the Caribbean and Anthem of the Seas will arrive in November after an inaugural season in Europe.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Destinations Editor