What is claimed to be the largest cruise terminal in the world officially opened at Port Everglades on Friday, November 6, one week prior to the arrival of Royal Caribbean International's 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas.
Local county and city officials, as well as Royal Caribbean executives, were on hand for the opening celebration. The event also featured Royal Caribbean dancers, who performed a number from the Hairspray musical.
“We finished building Cruise Terminal 18 on time and under budget, which is a demonstration of government at its best,” said Port Everglades Director Phil Allen. Port Everglades, located within the cities of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Dania Beach, Fla., is governed by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners. “There may be bigger terminals that service two ships at the same time, but Terminal 18 was constructed specifically to handle one Oasis-class ship at a time.”
At 240,000 square feet (5.5 acres), Cruise Terminal 18 is more than three times larger than it was just 22 months prior to opening when Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) reached an agreement with Broward County to homeport both of the new Oasis-class of ships at Port Everglades.
To accommodate these cruise ships, the Port invested approximately $75m to build Cruise Terminal 18. The terminal's mega-size will accommodate the more than 5,400 cruise guests and their luggage so that both arriving and departing guests can go through processing procedures simultaneously. Each Oasis-class ship is projected to generate approximately 584,000 passenger movements annually at Port Everglades. The first of the 225,282-gross-registered-ton ships, Oasis of the Seas, is scheduled to begin sailing year-round from Port Everglades in December 2009, with the second sister-ship, Allure of the Seas, to begin year-round sailings one year later.