...In a deal by Royal Caribbean to base its two new Genesis class ships here, beginning in mid-2009.
Port Everglades will be home to world's largest cruise ships
By Scott Wyman | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
December 1, 2007
Royal Caribbean has agreed to base both of its two new super-size cruise ships at Port Everglades year-round, ending months of competition for the business between the Broward County port and its Miami counterpart.
The Port of Miami has long been Royal Caribbean's base of operations in the region, but the deal creates a major, long-term partnership with Port Everglades by guaranteeing 17 million passengers over the next decade. Port Director Phil Allen said the deal will make Port Everglades the largest cruise port in the world. It currently ranks behind Miami and Port Canaveral directly east of Orlando. Each ship will carry up to 6,400 passengers and 2,000 crews members on weekly Caribbean voyages. The ships, called the Genesis class, are being built in Finland, and the first is expected to begin cruises from Port Everglades in mid-2009.
"It's one of those opportunities to create an image for the area," said Nicki Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "This is genuinely thousands of new visitors to Broward County. It's a big deal for Royal Caribbean and a big deal for Port Everglades."
The port will ask county commissioners to approve the deal Tuesday. An economic impact study done for the port estimated the ships will create 7,600 jobs, $344 million in personal income and $31.7 million in taxes each year. A spokesman for Royal Caribbean said the company viewed Port Everglades as a better choice than Miami because it offered "a little bit more in terms of servicing passengers and the development of the port." "Because Miami and Fort Lauderdale have such consistently pleasant weather, we always bring our newest and best hardware here so it was a matter of working with the particular ports in the area to see what we could offer them and they could offer us," Royal Caribbean spokesman Harrison Liu said.
At $1.2 billion, the ships will be the world's most expensive to build, and they will dwarf current cruise ships. The largest cruise ship that now docks at Port Everglades carries 3,100 passengers, while the world's current largest, Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, holds 4,300.
Great for the area, great for the airport. Hopefully this will further entice the true "overseas" carriers to bring service to FLL, and justify the need for an expanded international terminal / direct intermodal transport to the seaport.
If anything is a shot in the arm, this is it.