Disney Cruise Line is about to make a statement in Miami that Royal Caribbean won't be able to ignore


  • Photo via Disney Cruise Line News
With three massive new ships joining the current fleet of four vessels, Disney Cruise Line is quickly becoming a major competitor in the cruise industry. Now they’re about to make one of their most significant moves yet. New government documents confirm Disney’s interest in year-round sailings and ultimately a new permanent custom-built terminal at PortMiami. The new terminal would sit next door to Royal Caribbean’s headquarters, serving as a daily reminder for Royal Caribbean leadership that Disney is a now a major competitor.

The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners recently reviewed documents that confirm Disney Cruise Line has been in talks with the county and PortMiami to update their current preferential berthing agreement which expires end of this month. The deal expands Disney’s preferential berthing agreement to allow for Disney to bring more ships to the port, with two ships planning to call the port home in the coming years.

Currently, Disney Cruise Line only offers seasonal service at PortMiami. The new agreement would see an additional 50,000 passengers per year pass through PortMiami over the next four years. Things get interesting in 2023 where Disney states in plans to increase the annual passenger estimates from 150,000 to 360,000. This increase is due to both the year-round offerings and the additional ship at the port.

Also found in the agreement is mention of the timeline around a possible new terminal with negations scheduled to take place over the next eighteen months. The new terminal would be able to fit all four of the current DCL ships. With two of the three new ships already committed to Port Canaveral, it looks like at least one of the current Port Canaveral ships may move to PortMiami. DCL has already confirmed plans to add more ships to Port Canaveral with an agreement to use Terminal 10, which is designed to host multiple cruise lines. Plans call for both Disney and Norwegian ships to use the terminal.

The new PortMiami Royal Caribbean Terminal - IMAGE VIA ROYAL CARIBBEAN
  • Image via Royal Caribbean
  • The new PortMiami Royal Caribbean Terminal
In Miami, the agreement grants Disney first right to negotiate the use of the proposed new terminal. That agreement could allow for other cruise lines to use the terminal, similar to the Terminal 10 at Port Canaveral, but all indications seem to point to Disney wanting to help build a terminal most suited to their specific brand similar to PortMiami terminals in the works for Royal Caribbean and Norwegian.

The Royal Caribbean terminal, nicknamed the “Crown of Miami,” is a bold 170,000-square-foot art-like structure that is currently under construction. A Norwegian Cruise Line terminal was recently approved. That project calls for an airy, wave-like LEED Silver certified structure designed by internationally renowned Miami design firm Bermello Ajamil and Partners, though with its free-flowing form and stark white color could easily be mistaken for a Zaha Hadid design.

Disney will likely also look to build a signature terminal at the highly visible port, a move that will help legitimize the still young cruise line as one of the leading competitors in the industry.

Other plans at PortMiami include the remodeling of Terminal C, which is used by multiple cruise lines, and millions in upgrades to other terminals, including replacing more than two dozen passenger loading bridges.
The new PortMiami Norwegian Cruise Line Terminal - IMAGE VIA BERMELLO AJAMIL & PARTNERS
  • Image via Bermello Ajamil & Partners
  • The new PortMiami Norwegian Cruise Line Terminal


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