Miami may soon become the city of the world’s biggest ships.
Royal Caribbean announced Tuesday that it’s signed an agreement with Miami-Dade County to build a new cruise terminal in PortMiami, big enough to house the company’s Oasis class-vessel.
County commissioners still need to vote on the agreement July 6 before it’s finalized.
As the Miami Herald reported, the county would cough up $15 million for new roads to the terminal and surface work, while Royal Caribbean will finance the remainder of the $247 million development. The cruise company will also pay the county $9.5 million in annual rent.
Designed by architecture firm Broadway Malayan, the new terminal features modern style with a sharp, angular shape and massive floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside, a pair of metallic propellers would be suspended in the air and spin, serving as a large art piece.
Royal Caribbean expects its new terminal will bring in 1.8 million travellers annually, which blows past the cruiseline’s current traffic of about 750,000 passengers — or about 15 percent of PortMiami’s annual passengers.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez also said in the announcement that the partnership will have an economic impact of $500 million for the area, with about 4,000 jobs being created in the process.
Besides the economic figures and increased traffic, Royal Caribbean gains a major advantage in building this larger terminal: its homeport in Miami would now be able to fit the cruise company’s Oasis-class vessels, currently the largest cruise ships sailing the world.
So far those ships have been anchored in Broward County’s Port Everglades. Royal Caribbean has two sailing now, each truly massive in size: they can each hold roughly 5,400 passengers and weight more than 220,000 tons a piece. The company also plans to debut its third, the Harmony of the Seas, this year. It will have capacity for 6,780 passengers, earning it the title of the world’s largest cruise ship.
Along with its new terminal, Royal Caribbean plans to expand its corporate headquarters in PortMiami by building a 20,000-square-foot building that will house the “Innovation Lab,” which works on the company’s ships. That project’s cost is estimated at $20 million.
“Royal Caribbean has been an important part of our world-class community for almost 50 years, and this expansion will once again make PortMiami Royal Caribbean’s largest cruise port in the world,” Gimenez said in the announcement. — Sean Stewart-Muniz