At 11:30 they began to group people by the color of their tickets to board the buses to the pier. The trip took about 20 minutes. Our driver gave us a mini-tour of the area on the way to the pier, and was more than happy to accept tips.
There are a lot of chances to get photos on the bus ride from the airport to the Port of Miami. College football fans will appreciate the view of the Orange Bowl. The RCI headquarters can be seen to your right as the bus, taxi, or dog sled crosses the bridge to Dodge Island.
Dodge Island hosts the Port of Miami. It is an artificial structure, built in the late 1960s, and since its conception, has hosted cruise ships. Prior to its construction, the hand full of cruise ships calling on Miami, docked near the site of the NBA's Orlando Heat's stadium. Dodge Island is used extensively in filming movies. Indeed, if you have ever seen the films Bad Boys or Bad Boys II, with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, you've seen more of the island than you know. Most of the chase scenes were either filmed using the same small stretch of road leading to the port, or running beside the waterway. More on that some other time.
The cruise terminals were first built along with the island. Despite reading on the matter, it remains unclear to me as to who exactly owns what among the lines and ports. However, the terminals as seen here, have changed much since 1999. There is serious talk of expansion at the port, which would include larger, new terminals on the south side of the port.
It is on the south side of the port, where you can find the Headquarters of Royal Caribbean International. It is actually shaped like the company logo. There aren't any vital computer systems located below what would be the third floor inside of any normal buildings. This is to protect against storm surges in hurricanes.
The trademark blue neon can be seen across the waters on other RCI ships at night. You can see the ships in port from the air as you fly into Miami. It is only as you drive up to them that you realize their true size.
The Leeward, with Sovereign of the Seas abeam, and the Carnival Fantasy abeam of her.