Royal Caribbean Cruises has officially designated the Port of Miami as its U.S. headquarters as the cruise company and the port signed new a lease agreement for offices for 10 years with two five-year renewal options. In addition, Royal Caribbean will continue to operate its three brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, from Miami. “Our desire is that Royal Caribbean stays there through 2031 and beyond,” Deputy Port Director Juan M. Kuryla told Cruise Industry News.
Royal Caribbean has been based at the port since its inception and today occupies three buildings with some 300,000 square feet. Of two existing leases, one expires this year and another in 2015, so starting in 2015 Royal Caribbean will pay $3.8 million per year in rent. The port, meanwhile, has committed to spend some $850,000 on upgrades and maintenance of the three buildings over the next couple of years.
Terminal G will continue to be dedicated to Royal Caribbean and the company and the port will spend $6 million in improvements, according to Kuryla, $3.5 million by the port and $2.5 by the cruise company.
Royal Caribbean is guaranteeing a minimum of 325,000 passengers a year, Kuryla said, and will be entitled to discounted port fees if they reach 375,000 passengers and for every 50,000 thereafter.
Kuryla noted that Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line also offer minimum guarantees for multi-year terms. Carnival is the single largest cruise brand operating from the port in terms of passenger volume. Both Carnival and Norwegian also use port warehouses for their provisioning.
Royal Caribbean International sails the Majesty of the Seas from Miami and will have the new Celebrity Reflection there for the 2012/2013 season, in addition to other Celebrity and Azamara ships.
Costa Crociere last year moved the Atlantica from Port Everglades to Miami and she will continue to sail from Miami this coming winter. The new Carnival Breeze will be based in Miami for the 2012/2013 season, and Oceania Cruises, which introduced its first new vessel, the Marina, in Miami last winter, will debut its second ship, the Rivieria in Miami this coming winter.
The port has also committed funds to spruce up Terminal J, Kuryla added.
The tunnel under Biscayne Bay is also underway with completion scheduled for 2014. It will ease the traffic flow to and from the port.
Kuryla also said that in terms of passenger traffic 2011 will be at least as good as the record year of 2010 when Miami reported nearly 4.2 million passengers.