PortMiami’s New Iconic Cruise Terminals Underway

Ceremonial Groundbreaking at PortMiami. Credit: Steve Perry
Ceremonial Groundbreaking at PortMiami. Credit: Steve Perry

By Allan E. Jordan 2018-04-26 18:14:56

With construction beginning on a second new signature terminal building, PortMiami remains on track to surpass six million passengers annually beginning in fiscal year 2019. Miami-Dade County along with its cruise line partners is working to ensure that the Port remains the world’s leader in cruise shipping.  

On April 26, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, PortMiami and elected officials, including Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, celebrated the groundbreaking for an iconic new terminal that will be dedicated to Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships. A far cry from the original shed NCL sailed from when its first ship arrived at the fledgling Port of Miami in 1966, the new terminal at nearly 166,500 square feet, features a spiraled, multi-level glass façade, providing views of the ships, water and the Miami skyline.

Designed by Bermello Ajamil & Partners, the new state-of-the-art terminal will handle ships with up to 5,000 passengers, incorporating innovative lighting, indoor and outdoor waiting areas, and dedicated lounge areas for groups, all to enhance the embarkation and disembarkation experience. The terminal will also incorporate new technologies to expedite security screening, luggage check-in, and passenger processing. Constructed to LEED-Silver standards, it is designed to optimize energy performance, indoor air quality and water efficiencies while maximizing the use of local material and resources. It will also incorporate a 1,000 space-parking garage and valet parking area with direct access to the terminal.

Announced in March 2018, the new facility, to be known as Terminal B, is being built to the east of the current terminals B and C, which will be combined into a new Terminal C. Under an agreement between Norwegian and Miami-Dade Country, finalized just two-weeks ago, the County will pay $100 million towards the construction costs with Norwegian contributing up to an additional $65 million for the design, engineering and other costs.  

Norwegian has committed to a minimum of 1.3 million passengers annually and according to PortMiami that is expected to generate approximately $24 million in gross revenues starting in FY 2018, with an increase of three percent annually. Norwegian will have preferred docking rights at Terminal B and continue to have docking rights on weekdays at Terminal C. Norwegian will also continue to use Terminal J for the ships of its Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.

Construction officially begins on May 1 and will be undertaken through a joint venture between the NV2A Group and The Haskell Company. Norwegian’s new terminal is expected to be completed by November 2019, in time to receive Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 168,000-gross ton Norwegian Encore, which is currently being built in Germany.

Terminal B will be the second new facility at Miami’s Dodge Island location, joining a new terminal Royal Caribbean Cruises is currently building. Work began on Royal Caribbean’s new 170,000 square foot terminal in March 2017. Designed by Broadway Malyan, the building also features an iconic design that is said to resemble the letter M (for Miami) with the multi-tier shape and sweeping lines creating a sense of waves rising or ships passing. At night, Royal Caribbean plans to lite the façade.

Accommodating ships up to 1,300 feet in length, including for the first time in Miami the world’s largest cruise ships of the Oasis-class, it will also be LEED certified. It was designed to handle the 5,400 or more passengers that will be boarding the new Symphony of the Seas and her sister ship the Allure of the Seas (which will relocate from Port Everglades). Known as Terminal A, it also provides comfortable passenger waiting areas and uses new technologies to enhance the boarding and disembarkation processes.

Under the terms of its agreement with Miami-Dade County, Royal Caribbean is leasing land from the County and is paying for the construction of Terminal A, which is expected to cost more than $200 million to complete. Miami-Dade agreed to undertake the surface work, repairs to the seawall and build new roads to support Terminal A.  

Framing and the steelwork for Terminal A were completed early in 2018, with a “topping out” celebration as the building reached its highest point. Construction is proceeding with most of the glass façade installed by March. Terminal A is expected to be completed by October 2018. Once it has opened, Royal Caribbean expects to generate at least 1.8 million passengers annual through PortMiami with the two Oasis-class ships sailing from Terminal A, along with seven of its other ships also sailing from PortMiami.

The fall of 2018 marks 50 years since the first modern terminals were dedicated on Dodge Island to serve the then burdening cruise industry. Miami-Dade is continuing to invest in its infrastructure and with these two new iconic buildings added to the port, Miami will remain at the forefront of the cruise industry.