Port Everglades today unveiled its plans to more than triple the size of Cruise Terminal 18 in time for the arrival of Royal Caribbean International’s 5,400-passenger Oasis class of ships, the world’s largest cruise ships comprised of Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Port Everglades Director Phillip C. Allen told journalists attending the Cruise Shipping Miami Conference (formerly known as Seatrade) that once completed, Terminal 18 will become the largest single-ship cruise terminal in the world.

“There may be bigger terminals that service two ships at the same time, but Terminal 18 is being constructed specifically to handle one Oasis-class ship at a time. Guests will be treated to the Oasis experience as soon as they enter the terminal,” Allen says. “The Port’s staff meets weekly with Royal Caribbean’s staff and the contractors so we can ensure the project moves forward smoothly and rapidly in time for a grand opening in November 2009.”

“We are very appreciative of the efforts of Director Phil Allen and his team at Port Everglades to create a state-of-the-art facility that will provide a seamless experience for our guests,” added Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas will present an unprecedented vacation to guests and Terminal 18 is an integral part of delivering that offering.”

Bigger Is Faster

Just last cruise season, before construction ever began, Terminal 18 was already the largest of Port Everglades’ 12 cruise terminals with 67,500 square feet of interior space. Once the construction is complete in November 2009, the terminal will be more than three times larger, with a total of 240,000 square feet on two floors.

The terminal’s design will accommodate the numbers of cruise passengers and their luggage so that both departing and arriving guests can be processed simultaneously. In the new Terminal 18, guests will debark and embark through entirely different sections of the building, permitting the simultaneous debarking of guests from the ship while embarking guests are processed and seated inside the terminal waiting to board the ship. The terminal area for debarking guests is 102,000 square feet on two levels, while the arrival hall for embarking guests is in the new section of Cruise Terminal 18 and encompasses 138,000 square feet on two levels.

The goal is that once the ship is cleared for embarkation, the transition for guests to go from curbside to the ship can be completed in 15 minutes.

FMT of Sweden is manufacturing two new “switch-back” passenger loading bridges for the new terminal that will replace the current telescoping bridges and will provide guests with an easy transition from the terminal and to the ship.

To expedite debark, there will be 22 booths for U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel to process guests after their cruise. Embark will be expedited by the availability of 90 modern check-in counters and a bank of overhead video screens that provide arriving guests with up-to-the-minute directions and information.

On the Move

Terminal 18 is located in the center of Port Everglades directly on the Port’s main thoroughfare. It is separated from other cruise terminals so that vehicular traffic to and from the terminal is isolated and can move smoothly. An intermodal transportation center will have separate entrances and traffic routes for buses, trucks, taxis and cars so that vehicles can move smoothly and swiftly to pick up and drop off guests and provisions. In addition, there will be more than 1,000 parking spaces within walking distance of the terminal.

An Oasis of Light and Color

Shades of green with blue accents will represent the sea and sky on the exterior of Cruise Terminal 18, while the interior is bathed in natural light from a 4,000-square-foot skylight in the atrium and a massive window at the entranceway.

Renowned international artist Michele Oka Doner was selected through Broward County’s Art in Public Places program to create a 3,000-square-foot work of art on the atrium floor of the new terminal. Inspired by the colors of the ocean, the new terminal will feature beautiful deep green and blue terrazzo flooring that evokes undulating ocean waves. Embedded in the terrazzo will be bronze oceanic seeds that appear to have drifted far and wide into the current. As a tribute to the maritime mega-experience and the majestic scope of the Oasis-class ships, the artwork encompasses a dramatic bronze globe crisscrossed with lines of latitude and longitude. This lustrous work of art will be energized with great sweeps of iridescent mother-of-pearl, simulating the trade winds that circle the earth.

While You Wait

Although the goal is to move guests quickly through the terminal so they can begin their cruise vacation, those who arrive early will be able to relax on the upper level of the terminal with seating available to accommodate up to 3,000 passengers. Once there, they can recharge electrical devices and stay connected through free wireless Internet access. Children will be able to have fun even before boarding with a playground area inside the terminal.

Economic Impact

An economic impact study conducted by Martin and Associates as part of the Port Everglades Master/Vision Plan, projects that by the fifth year of the 10-year agreement between Broward County and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) to homeport the Oasis-class and other RCL brand ships at Port Everglades, an estimated 8,012 jobs will be supported. These jobs are anticipated to generate $356.5 million in personal income and $32.8 million in state and local taxes. In addition, the study anticipated that more than 1,414 new construction jobs would be created as a result of the Terminal 18 expansion.

About the Construction

The Broward County Public Works Department’s Seaport Engineering and Construction Division is spearheading the Terminal 18 construction project. The contractor is Hewitt-Kier Construction Inc. and the architect is Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. Additional work is being completed by Hammond & Associates, Inc., Lakdas/Yohalem Engineering, Inc. and Cordova Rodriguez & Assoc., Inc.

Public/Private Partnership

The cost of this expanded cruise terminal is $75 million. The expense will be covered primarily through an increase in the number of passengers that Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. guarantees will sail to and from Port Everglades over a 10-year period, with the guaranteed number of passengers increasing five-fold within the first five years of the agreement with Port Everglades. This guarantee includes passengers sailing from Port Everglades on all of RCL brand ships including Celebrity and Azamara.