Port Everglades will see itself at maximum capacity for seven days during the 2019-2020 cruise season with all eight berths full, said Glenn Wiltshire, acting chief executive and port director.
The season is highlighted in part by the new Sky Princess, while the new Odyssey of the Seas calls Port Everglades home for its inaugural program next year.
Planning for the future includes near-, medium- and long-term visions, Wiltshire said.
Most recently, the final touches were put on Terminal 25 for the Celebrity Edge’s arrival in late 2018. Guests are going from curbside to ship in under 15 minutes thanks to facial recognition. The technology is also in use on select calls at Terminal 18.
“We’re in discussions with Carnival to redevelop Terminal 21,” Wiltshire said, noting it was a few years away and the goal would be to accommodate the company’s next-generation Excel-class LNG-fueled cruise ships.
The port is eyeing a potential site for land storage for LNG, a long-term plan that would allow bunker barges to fill up locally.
In the more immediate future, a new large parking garage is under construction, set to serve Terminals 2 and 4 by October 2020.
The next terminal that could see significant redevelopment is Terminal 29, which could coincide with a berth adjustment to accommodate larger ships by filling in an existing basin just north of the terminal.
Another potential project could come to Terminal 26, where there is space to expand south.
A bigger project could increase port capacity by building a new finger pier, which would create a new berth.
Wiltshire called it a creative solution, but one that would require a major operator commitment and a long-term plan, as construction would also limit port capacity temporarily.
“The concept of the finger pier is out there in the 10- to 20-year horizon,” he said, “but if a cruise line came to us and wanted it faster, we’d seriously consider it.”
With a strong winter cruise program, Wiltshire has his eye on more summer business.
“We have plenty of capacity in the summer,” he said.
Overall, more growth could come during the week, as the port would welcome a four/three rotation or a five/five/four rotation, which the Independence of the Seas will offer on her short-cruise program when she starts sailing from Port Everglades later this year.
Driving growth is positive feedback from both cruise lines and guests, Wiltshire said, noting the convenience of the port and close proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.