After several years of speculation Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that it had entered into an agreement with Miami-Dade County to build a 170,000 square foot terminal at the Port Miami.
While some had believed Royal Caribbean would built at the northwestern or southwestern sections it was revealed the location is at the south east corner of Dodge Island.
Dubbed the "Crown of Miami," the complex will host not only the passenger terminal but also a parking structure. Designed to accommodate ships up to the record breaking size of the Oasis class, the terminal will be part of a resurgence of Royal Caribbean ships at Port Miami. In recent years all but the most rare itinerary in Florida would depart from Port Everglades in nearby Fort Lauderdale. With competing local interests seeking to build mixed use retail, sports and convention space on Dodge Island, this move should do much to secure the future of the port for cruise travel and prompt even more development nearby.
Long-time cruises will find the location of the Crown of Miami amusing given the historic rivalry between Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Carnival ships are well known to make any and all efforts to depart their ports prior to Royal Caribbean ships. In the case of Port Miami, this usually meant watching two or more of the lines ships departing prior to those of the "crown and anchor." It figures that Royal Caribbean will more than happily allow their rivals to pass by the mind blowing ships of the Oasis, Voyager, Freedom, and Quantum classes as they leave.
Though Port Miami has improved greatly over the decades returning cruisers will find the new terminal to be unique even compared to the best of breed, Terminal 18 at Port Everglades. Wide walkways, huge windows, Miami style lighting at night, the act of boarding the ship will feel more like part of the cruise itself.....almost.
Also announced was the planned addition of an 20,000 square foot innovation lab at the Royal Caribbean headquarters building which is also located at Dodge Island. The lab will be used to continue design work on the lines ever evolving fleet of cutting edge ships.