This week's arrival of Holland America Line's ms Eurodam marks the beginning of a busy inaugural cruise season for Broward County's Port Everglades, which through November will welcome five of the cruise industry's eight new-build cruise ships.

Broward County officials, including Commissioner Sue Gunzburger and Port Director Phillip C. Allen, welcomed the ms Eurodam during a traditional plaque and keys ceremony aboard the ship. Representatives from U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the City of Hollywood, Fla., also participated with welcoming remarks.

"The Holland America Line has always been welcome here at Port Everglades, making a financial impact with each new vessel it brings. So far in this past year alone, the estimated revenue from Holland America represents 10 percent of the Port's total cruise business of $31.6 million. This upcoming cruise season, with four additional Holland America ships calling at the Port, we anticipate this amount to grow to 13 percent," said Commissioner Gunzburger, who presented a key to the County to the ms Eurodam's Captain Jonathan Mercer.

In addition to the ms Eurodam, newly built cruise ships joining the Port Everglades fleet this season include: Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Solstice, Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Splendor, and Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas. In addition, several cruise ships will be sailing for the first time from Port Everglades, including Princess Cruises' Tahitian Princess, MSC Cruises' Orchestra and Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Freedom, which will be sailing year-round from Port Everglades.

The 2,104-passenger ms Eurodam is the first of Holland America Line's new Signature Class vessels. The 86,700-ton ship has 11 passenger decks, a new topside Pan-Asian restaurant called Tamarind that is surrounded by panoramic views, an Explorer's Lounge Bar, a new Italian restaurant adjacent to the Lido, elegant luxury jewelry boutique, new atrium bar area, and an enhanced and reconfigured show lounge.

Port Everglades is the cruise ship capital of the world with more than 3 million passengers expected during 2008 and more homeported cruise ships than any cruise port worldwide. Fourteen cruise lines sail from the South Florida seaport including: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Lines, Cunard Line, Discovery Cruises, Holland America Line, Imperial Majesty Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, The Yachts of Seabourn, and Silversea Cruises. And, beginning in Fall 2009, Port Everglades will be the home of Royal Caribbean International's new 5,400-passenger Oasis-class ships, largest cruise ships in the world.