Port Canaveral breaks ground for new terminal

Port Canaveral is growing again

It’s been a very busy week at Port Canaveral. A few days ago, the Canaveral Port Authority approved construction of a new Welcome Center and entertainment district.

On Friday, ground was broken to begin construction on the new Cruise Terminal 6 complex.  At a cost of $60.1 million, this is the first cruise terminal built at the port since Disney brought their two cruise ships to the port 1995 and required their own terminal.

The ground-breaking ceremony took place with more than one hundred community leaders and Canaveral Port Authority officials in attendance.

Stanley Payne, Canaveral Port Authority CEO also used the ceremony to encourage all of the attendees to work with their federal and state officials as part of a fundraising drive to garner $34 million to widen and deepen the port’s channel. This is crucial in order to attract larger ships, cruise and cargo, to call on Port Canaveral.

In preparation for a completion date of July 2012, the port has already finished the $7.8 million project which removed 600,000 cubic yards of dirt from the West Turning Basin. This will permit larger vessels to navigate the turn-around maneuver in the basin.

Cunard Queen Victoria plaque exchange ceremony at Port Canaveral
Cunard Queen Victoria plaque exchange ceremony at Port Canaveral

At present, the largest passenger ships that are home-ported in Port Canaveral accommodate 3,600 – 4,375 passengers; the Carnival Dream carries 3,600 passengers, the Disney Dream has 4,000 and Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas holds up to 4,375 cruise passengers.

Attracting the newest and largest cruise ships is definitely in the plans.  Payne confirmed that new Terminal 6 will allow “the absolute largest cruise ships in the world.”  Many of the new cruise ships will have well over 4,800 passengers and this will give Port Canaveral the edge it needs to attract these mega-ships.

With the end of the space program and the loss of over 7,000 jobs, this new terminal will employ thousands of workers in parts of the yearlong construction. Skanska, the general contractor for the project, has promised to hire at least 80% of their construction crew with local tradespeople, said John Clark, the design manager for Skanska.

Stanley Payne added, “We had a pledge from the contractor, 80 percent would be local. The last time we checked, they were upwards of 90 percent, so this terminal is going to be built with local hands.”

The new Terminal 6 will include a 2,500 passenger processing area and a waiting area with 1,100 seats under a two-story atrium.  The state of the art terminal will be built with energy-efficiency in mind.

This new project comes at the perfect time.  Norwegian Cruise Line has two new ships on order in Germany, both having over 4,000 staterooms.  Princess has new ships on order as does Carnival and Disney with deliveries beginning in 2012.

Headline photo: Florida Today

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