A plan to bring Carnival Cruise Line’s largest-ever cruise ship to Port Canaveral was unanimously approved by the Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners on Wednesday morning. The board voted to enter into a 25-year operating agreement with Miami-based Carnival that will pave the way for the cruise line to dock its still unnamed, 5,286-passenger ship at the port.
Under the agreement, Carnival would have access to Terminals 5 and 6 until the port’s new Terminal 3 is completed in June 2020. Then, Carnival will primarily operate from Terminals 3 and 6.
The move to Terminal 3 will give Carnival the space to operate its newest and largest vessels at Port Canaveral — just in time for the completion of Carnival’s new ship.
During a presentation to the board Wednesday morning, Scott Bakos, managing principal and partner at Bermello-Ajamil & Partners, Inc., the design consultant and architect on the project, revealed further details of the design for the new terminal. The all-glass facade of Terminal 3 will be titled “Launch Pad,” in a font reminiscent of the one used on the NASA logo, a move that is designed to tie in the history of the Space Coast.
The 185,000-square-foot building will have a U.S. Customs and Border Protection screening area and integrated mobile passenger check-in, all targeted at making the embarkation and debarkation process more seamless. The building will also have the capability to transition as Customs and Border Protection moves to using facial recognition, Bakos said. A five-level parking garage will accommodate nearly 1,800 cars.
“There is nothing like having a fantastic cruise and having to deal with long lines and wait times, so we put a lot of effort into making sure that doesn’t happen for the facility,” Bakos told the board. All told, the $150 million terminal project is the largest in the port’s history.
“This agreement is a valuable milestone for the port’s cruise business and a foremost achievement for the entire region’s economy. Our partnership with Carnival has continued to grow over the years thanks to this community’s assets, our commitment to service and a steadfast focus on preserving our financial strength to invest in the port’s future,” said Tom Weinberg, secretary/treasurer of the Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners in a statement.
The new agreement will replace an existing six-year agreement set to expire in 2019. Effective Sept. 1, the new agreement will bring Carnival’s current annual guarantee to the port from a fixed $7 million passenger fee to a $14.5 million commitment that will increase by 2.5 percent for the first five years and 3 percent thereafter.
From Carnival’s perspective, the agreement cements its foothold at Port Canaveral as the largest operator. The arrival of its largest ship will also shine a light on port, which will play host to the first ship powered by liquefied natural gas in North America.
Further details on the ship will be revealed next year.
By Chabeli Herrera, Orlando Sentinel
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