Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. held a grand opening for its $247
million terminal at PortMiami in preparation for the arrival of Symphony of the
Seas in a week.
The terminal will be home to the Symphony and the Allure of
the Seas, ships that will sail regularly from Miami for the first time since the
Oasis class was introduced in 2009.
The move will more than double Royal Caribbean's passenger
movements in Miami from about 750,000 today to over 2 million, RCCL chairman
and CEO Richard Fain said.
The check-in area of Royal Caribbean's new terminal in Miami has lots of open space. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
"The opening of this terminal represents a milestone in
the cruise industry in South Florida and it underscores Royal Caribbean's
commitment to Miami, where our company was founded almost 50 years ago,"
The 170,000-square-foot terminal is the most expensive cruise
terminal ever built and one of the most refined architecturally.
Designed by global architecture firm Broadway Malyan, the
glass-walled terminal has several peaks meant to suggest the points of the
crown in RCCL's crown-and-anchor logo.
A sculpture of ship propellers dominates the lobby. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Among its features are an attached 1,000-space parking
garage, a 3,000-foot-long automated baggage-handling system, and a giant
sculpture of two ship propellers that spin and turn on an axis.
The terminal is intended to be able to process 2,000
passengers an hour at peak times.
It is the first to be equipped with facial-recognition
technology key to RCCL's frictionless boarding process, which is expected to
speed up embarkation and debarkation.
Fain praised the cooperation from the county-run port in
getting the terminal built. "You have in Royal Caribbean one happy
customer," he said.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez pronounced the
building "spectacular" and noted that PortMiami's cruise passenger
count had fluctuated over the years because it couldn't always handle the
largest ship the industry was building.
"In the past, PortMiami lost a large chunk of Royal
Caribbean's business to neighboring ports," Gimenez said. "Fortunately,
that has all changed."
The Allure of the Seas will be relocated this month from Port
Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. The Symphony is arriving in Miami after its
inaugural season in the Mediterranean.
The waiting area for Crown & Anchor Society passengers. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
Royal Caribbean International president Michael Bayley said
the Mariner of the Seas was turned around twice at the new terminal last week
as a test and the guest feedback was "phenomenal."
In addition to its function as a terminal, the new building
and its Royal Caribbean signage is highly visible along the causeway connecting
Miami with Miami Beach. RCCL plans to illuminate it at night with a colorful