Broward County’s Port Everglades is experiencing record cruise passenger growth in 2004 and just nine months into the current fiscal year already surpassed 2003’s total number of passengers. Just one month later, the South Florida cruise port powered past its all-time annual high mark, which was set in 2002. By the end of this year, Port Everglades expects to top the four million annual passenger milestone for the first time.
“Broward County has become the hub of the cruise industry and this year’s phenomenal passenger growth demonstrates that Port Everglades’ appeal continues to grow,” said Ken Krauter, Port Director. “We’re projecting continued strong growth for the foreseeable future, thanks to the expansion of the Port’s facilities, the rapid development of adjacent Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport and the prominence of Broward County as a popular visitor destination.”
In June, just nine months into the current fiscal year, Port Everglades hosted 3,409,116 cruise passengers, surpassing last year’s 12-month total of 3,375,671 passengers. In July with two months still remaining in the current fiscal year, the 10-month total reached 3,689,834 passengers, far exceeding the Port’s all-time annual record of 3,485,857 passengers set in 2002. Port Everglades expects to end fiscal year 2004 with more than 4.0 million passengers. The Port’s fiscal year runs from October 1 thru September 30.
The surge in cruise passengers has been fueled by the addition of a third daily cruise line, St. Tropez Casino Cruises, as well as significant growth from the Port’s other major cruise lines which have introduced larger ships such as the 3,100-passenger Caribbean Princess, the 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2
, the 2,114-passenger Costa Mediterranea, the 1,848-passenger Oosterdam and the 1,586-passenger MSC Lirica, among others. Passenger counts also took an upswing with the relocation of several ships from Miami during the Free Trade Area of the Americas event in downtown Miami last November.
Earlier in fiscal year 2004, Port Everglades set a world record by processing 44,108 passengers from 15 cruise ships in one day on December 21, 2003 during the holiday cruising season.
Port Everglades exceeded one million passengers only as recently as 1987, hit two million passengers for the first time in 1990 and reached the three million passenger milestone for the first time in 2001. To put Port Everglades’ growth into perspective, in just one busy weekend day as many passengers pass through the port as did in an entire year just 45 years ago.
Port Everglades is one of the world’s three largest cruise ports, along with Port Canaveral and the Port of Miami. If Port Everglades surpasses four million annual passengers as expected this year, it is believed it will become only the second cruise port ever to achieve such a feat.
Nearly 20 cruise lines and 50 cruise ships call at Port Everglades, including: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Lines, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line
, Discovery Cruise Line, Discovery World Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd, Holland America Line, Imperial Majesty Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises
, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn Cruise Line, SeaEscape Cruises, Silversea Cruises, St. Tropez and Windstar Cruises.