June 28, 2016
(Midnight EST) – Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited announced today announced its agreement with Miami-Dade county to build a new terminal at PortMiami, scheduled to be complete by December 2018. An investment of $200 million, the terminal will be built on land the line has leased from the county, and will be large enough to accommodate Oasis-class ships.
By the time the terminal is finished the Miami-based cruise line will have four Oasis-class ships on the water (the fourth will be delivered in 2018) and "at least two" will homeport in Miami, according to Royal’s chairman and CEO Richard Fain, who made the announcement at the launch event at Perez Art Museum Miami last night.
"It's not often that you get to do something that’s so important not just for your company but for your community," said Fain, who thanked Miami-Dade county mayor Carlos Gimenez for his support of the project, which goes before local commissioners July 6, 2016.
"Miami-Dade County is happy to welcome Royal Caribbean’s expansion at PortMiami, and all the economic benefits that come along with it," Gimenez said. "This public-private partnership will have an estimated economic impact of $500 million and generate approximately 4,000 jobs."
The mayor also noted that the new terminal is expected to boost PortMiami’s cruise passenger numbers from 5 million to 6 million annually. "This is about economic benefit, prosperity and good-paying jobs. It’s a win-win for everyone involved," he said.
Singaporean architectural firm Broadway Malayan won the design competition for the 170,000-square-foot building, nicknamed Crown of Miami. The design evokes the points of the symbolic headgear when viewed from the water; the "M" of Miami when viewed from the east or western approaches; and a sense of waves rising or ships passing when viewed from the terminal side.
"We are truly excited to be working with Miami-Dade County and PortMiami to create not just another cruise terminal, but a truly iconic building," Fain said. "This new terminal is a symbol of our commitment to Miami, the city where our company first started almost 50 years ago. We can’t wait to bring an Oasis-class ship to PortMiami."
Currently, PortMiami welcomes about 750,000 Royal Caribbean passengers annually, representing about 15 percent of its overall passenger traffic. Once the new cruise terminal is completed, it is anticipated that Royal Caribbean will generate at least 1.8 million passengers at PortMiami -- representing no less than 30 percent of the port’s projected passenger traffic.
Fain also announced that passengers checking in at the new terminal will be able track their luggage between portside and their stateroom via RFID tags, which will be attached to bags at check-in. "No check-in check-in," Fain added, will allow passengers to check in online before arriving at the port, and simply show their ID and visual proof of check-in on their mobile phones to embark the ship.
--By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, Cruise Critic contributor