Port Everglades has installed two new flexible, custom-designed Mobile Elevating Gangways and a Fixed Walkway at Cruise Terminal 18 in time for the arrival of Royal Caribbean International's new 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas this November.

The state-of-the-art switch-back Mobile Elevating Gangways, designed and built by FMT of Sweden, feature an unprecedented design that incorporates some of the most innovative technologies available today to effectively service the largest cruise ships in the world with their special architecture.

The gangways' main features are the flexibility for servicing the varying elevation heights and horizontal locations of cruise ship doors and cruise terminal entrance locations along the fixed walkway, as well as safer handling, speed, and operation through computer-controlled equipment.

The gangways will automatically follow ship movements if affected by tidal, wind and wave fluctuations. They are connected to the Port's data network through modems for remote online maintenance and have operational reliability with two independent power sources.

To enhance passenger comfort, these new gangways have walls of tempered safety glass, providing a more open environment and better orientation for embarking and disembarking passengers. The gangways have been built in compliance with the new South Florida codes, which require higher wind resistance, stronger construction, and greater operational stability in windy conditions. They are quality-assurance-certified in accordance with ISO 9001.

As the future home to the two largest cruise ships in the world, Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, Port Everglades is expected to become the No. 1 cruise port in the world by 2011. To accommodate these revolutionary cruise ships, the Port has more than tripled the size of Cruise Terminal 18, from 67,500 square feet to 240,000 square feet. The terminal's mega-size will accommodate mega numbers of cruise passengers 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.