Monday, August 6, 2007

Oh, give me a home(port)...

The largest vessels currently at sea are Royal Caribbean's 160,000-ton, 4,300-passenger Freedom-class ships, two of which homeport in Miami. And, while Royal Caribbean hasn't finished launching all the Freedom-class vessels yet, Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades is already angling to snag the next, even bigger class of ships.

Due to set sail late in 2009, the first of Royal Caribbean's Genesis-class cruise ships will be the world's largest at approximately 220,000 tons and carrying a whopping 5,400 passengers (double occupancy). The word is out that Port Everglades administrators are talking up a terminal expansion plan that would enable them to handle up to 6,400 passengers at a time, the maximum that each Genesis-class ship would carry. Plus, they want to host not one, but two Genesis-class ships.

What does that mean for passengers? Miami is the "Cruise Capital of the World" and, frankly, has a much better infrastructure in terms of the airport and ground transportation. Anyone who's had to wait for a cab at Port Everglades, or been stuck in a holding pattern while crowded airport gate areas clear before being allowed through security, will concede that Fort Lauderdale just might not be ready for an extra five to six thousand people on any given weekend.

Miami offers efficiency in the port and airport that Fort Lauderdale simply doesn't match, even today. Even retrieving your car from the parking garage can be a hassle at Port Everglades. That's Cruise Diva's opinion from a passenger perspective. Is anyone listening?!?

No comments: