City officials in Jacksonville are mulling an idea to build a new $60 million cruise terminal at Mayport Village, a Jacksonville Port Authority spokeswoman said.
The port authority owns a 7.7 acre plot in Mayport, a coastal area about 10 miles down river from the more inland terminal currently in use. The new terminal would be before the Dames Point Bridge, removing the current 174-foot height restriction and saving ships close to two hours transit time, the spokeswoman said. The Mayport area would not require any dredging.
Opened in 2003, the 63,000-square foot terminal in Jacksonville was always meant to be temporary, the spokeswoman said, and, if a new terminal is approved, it can easily be disassembled and used elsewhere for cargo purposes.
City officials are likely to vote on the proposed terminal in December, she said.
Carnival Cruise Lines’ 2,052-passenger Fascination started sailing from Jacksonville, Florida in September 2008 after the Celebration was transferred to Iberocruceros. After a strong 2007, handling more than 260,000 passengers on 78 sailings, Jacksonville’s numbers dropped off in 2008 to an estimated 152,411 on just 46 sailings, largely due to losing the Celebration. The port estimates that more than 320,000 passengers on 78 sailings will pass through Jacksonville in 2009.