Royal Caribbean gets $247M loan from Sumitomo to build new cruise terminal

Rendering of Royal Caribbean's new terminal at PortMiami
Rendering of Royal Caribbean's new terminal at PortMiami

Royal Caribbean International just borrowed $247 million from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. to finance the construction of its new cruise terminal at PortMiami.

Miami-Dade County records show a Royal Caribbean entity, Miami Cruise Terminal A LLC, signed the mortgage along with SMBC Leasing and Finance, a financial arm of Sumitomo. The loan is tied to the cruise company’s lease at PortMiami.

Royal Caribbean in June signed an agreement with Miami-Dade County to build a new cruise terminal at PortMiami, big enough to accommodate the company’s Oasis class vessel.

Under the public-private partnership, Royal Caribbean agreed to construct the new 170,000-square-foot cruise terminal at the county-owned port, with an opening date of 2018.

The county agreed to pay $15 million for new roads to the terminal and surface work, while Royal Caribbean said it would finance the $247 million development. The cruise company will also pay the county $9.5 million in annual rent.

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Designed by architecture firm Broadway Malayan, the new, modern terminal will have a sharp, angular shape, with floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside, a pair of metallic propellers will 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 travelers annually, far above the cruise line’s current traffic of about 750,000 passengers — or about 15 percent of PortMiami’s annual passengers.

With the larger terminal, Royal Caribbean, based at PortMiami, will be able to accommodate its Oasis class vessels, currently the largest cruise ships sailing the world. So far the ships have been anchored at Broward County’s Port Everglades. Royal Caribbean currently operates two such ships, which can each hold about 5,400 passengers. The company also plans to debut its third, Harmony of the Seas, later this year. It will have capacity for 6,780 passengers, making it the world’s largest cruise ship.

Along with its new terminal, Royal Caribbean plans to expand its corporate headquarters at PortMiami by building a 20,000-square-foot building that will house its “Innovation Lab,” which will work on the company’s ships. That project’s cost is estimated at $20 million.