Port of Miami: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. held a grand opening for its $247 million terminal "A"
The terminal will be home to the Symphony and the Allure of the Seas, ships that will sail regularly from Miami for the first time since the Oasis class was introduced in 2009.
The move will more than double Royal Caribbean's passenger movements in Miami from about 750,000 today to over 2 million, RCCL chairman and CEO Richard Fain said.
"The opening of this terminal represents a milestone in the cruise industry in South Florida and it underscores Royal Caribbean's commitment to Miami, where our company was founded almost 50 years ago," Fain said.
The 170,000-square-foot terminal is the most expensive cruise terminal ever built and one of the most refined architecturally.
Designed by global architecture firm Broadway Malyan, the glass-walled terminal has several peaks meant to suggest the points of the crown in RCCL's crown-and-anchor logo.
Royal Caribbean International president Michael Bayley said the Mariner of the Seas was turned around twice at the new terminal last week as a test and the guest feedback was "phenomenal."
In addition to its function as a terminal, the new building and its Royal Caribbean signage is highly visible along the causeway connecting Miami with Miami Beach. RCCL plans to illuminate it at night with a colorful lighting system.
Among its features are an attached 1,000-space parking garage, a 3,000-foot-long automated baggage-handling system, and a giant sculpture of two ship propellers that spin and turn on an axis.
The terminal is intended to be able to process 2,000 passengers an hour at peak times.
It is the first to be equipped with facial-recognition technology key to RCCL's frictionless boarding process, which is expected to speed up embarkation and debarkation.
Fain praised the cooperation from the county-run port in getting the terminal built. "You have in Royal Caribbean one happy customer," he said.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez pronounced the building "spectacular" and noted that PortMiami's cruise passenger count had fluctuated over the years because it couldn't always handle the largest ship the industry was building.
"In the past, PortMiami lost a large chunk of Royal Caribbean's business to neighboring ports," Gimenez said. "Fortunately, that has all changed."
The Allure of the Seas will be relocated this month from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. The Symphony is arriving in Miami after its inaugural season in the Mediterranean.
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