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Two new PortMiami terminals will make the world's busiest cruise port even bigger

Two new PortMiami terminals will make the world's busiest cruise port even bigger
A rendering of the upcoming Royal Caribbean terminal at PortMiami that's expected to be completed in fall. (Royal Caribbean Cruises)

PortMiami, the world's busiest cruise port, is about to get even bigger. Two new terminals are planned, one built by Royal Caribbean Cruises for its ships, and another built by Norwegian Cruise Line for its vessels.

Royal Caribbean's new Terminal A topped out in January and is expected to open in fall. The sleek $247-million terminal will become home to two of the cruise line's biggest ships: Allure of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas.

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Symphony of the Seas, which is sailing in the Mediterranean this spring, is the world's largest passenger ship, holding more than 6,600 people. It will sail out of the new terminal when it begins Caribbean voyages in fall.

The Royal Caribbean terminal is being called Crown of Miami because its shape combines the letter M for Miami, with the line's logo.

PortMiami currently serves 750,000 Royal Caribbean passengers annually, representing about 15% of the port's overall passenger traffic. Once the new cruise terminal is completed, Royal Caribbean expects to generate at least 1.8 million travelers at PortMiami, representing about 30% of the port's projected passenger traffic.

Last week, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced it also will build a new terminal that will accommodate 5,000 passengers. It is scheduled to break ground in May and be completed by November 2019 to coincide with the arrival of the new ship Norwegian Encore, the fourth ship in the line's Breakaway Plus class.

"No longer will embarking and debarking be the worst memory of your cruise," said Frank del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., in announcing the terminal.

Del Rio said the line's new flagship terminal B — called the Pearl — will be a "voluminous space, transparent at night. You'll probably be able to see it on every postcard of Miami."

Del Rio said more of Norwegian's ships homeport in Miami than any other port in the world, bringing more than 1 million passengers a year to the Florida port.

Both of the new terminal constructions are being done in collaboration with Miami-Dade County.

Norwegian's project will come up for final approval by the county in early May. County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said she had no doubt it will pass. "Who's going to say no to someone who's going to make Miami-Dade more beautiful and more attractive to visitors?" she said.

Miami-Dade County will invest $100 million to build the new terminal, with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings augmenting the county's allocated funds with its own contribution to PortMiami.

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