When ground was ceremonially broken less than two years ago for the Crown of Miami – prosaically referred to as Terminal A – the massive vessel it was designed to accommodate was being built in faraway France.
Now Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, is ready to tie up at the spectacular new terminal in PortMiami, one that has already changed the skyline and is emerging as a landmark for the city Royal Caribbean calls home.
Fireworks will light the Miami sky, a marching band will stir things up, drones will swarm in an aerial ballet, and an enormous bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne will be smashed against the hull in the age-old tradition when Symphony’s official naming ceremony takes place November 15.
Pushing the “magic button” to release the bottle will be the cruise industry’s first “godfamily” – husband and wife actors Carlos and Alexa PenaVega, longtime Royal Caribbean cruisers, and their toddling son, Ocean, who first sailed with them at just 13 months old.
The family-oriented Symphony will then begin regular seven-night sailings from the port, the first such itineraries in many years for Royal Caribbean.
“Terminal A is an important milestone in the growth of the cruise industry in South Florida and underscores our commitment to Miami, where our company was founded almost 50 years ago,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
With its advanced technology, Terminal A will also help pave the way for future endeavours at the Port of Miami.
“We look forward to all the new and exciting developments the opening of Terminal A will bring to our cruise lines, our guests, and the Miami community,” says Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “We are proud that our Oasis class vessels, each hosting more than 5,000 guests, will now be able to call on PortMiami.”
Carlos A. Giménez, mayor of Miami-Dade County, recognizes the tourist boom that will spring from the new facility.
“We are thrilled to announce the opening of Terminal A, the largest cruise port in the U.S., and would like to thank Royal Caribbean for their continued support of the Miami community,” he says. “With the opening of Terminal A, we are excited to welcome even more visitors to Miami.”
In keeping with RCL’s environmental priorities, Terminal A will be certified as a green building by the global Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program.
Well ahead of its construction, PortMiami deepened the quayside channel by more than 50 feet to accommodate Symphony and Allure of the Seas, another Oasis-class ship that will also call there.
Their size – and the amount of water they displace – is such that arrivals and departures must be timed as first in and last out of the port to avoid interfering with other traffic during the day. Neither requirement will affect guests’ vacation time.
Miguel Reyna, Royal Caribbean’s associate vice president of Commercial Development and Construction, is the project boss for Terminal A, overseeing the building of a cruise terminal unlike any in the world.
Designed to expedite the embarkation process, it will allow guests to check in ahead of time with a proprietary app, hand off their luggage for routing on one of the world’s longest conveyor belts, clear Customs and Border Patrol via unique radial-shaped queues, and make it from “car to bar” in minutes – all of it inside and outside the glass-enclosed, ultra-modern structure in a shape that gives the Crown of Miami its name.
“This is a public, private partnership with Miami-Dade County,” Reyna says. “Most terminals at the port are operated by PortMiami. This one will be operated by a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean.”
Financed and developed by the cruiseline, it was built using loca