Royal Caribbean International said it would homeport two new 220,000-ton "Project Genesis" ships in Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Broward County said the port is poised to become the world's top cruise port within five years. The agreement between Royal Caribbean and Broward County is expected to be finalized by the cruise line company's board of directors and the Broward County Commission on or before Dec. 19.
The 5,400-passenger Genesis ships will be the largest cruise ships ever constructed. The first of the ships is scheduled to begin sailing year-round from Port Everglades in fall 2009, with the second sister ship to begin sailing one year later. Each Genesis ship, being constructed at Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, is projected to generate approximately 584,000 in passenger traffic annually at Port Everglades. "We look forward to growing our outstanding relationship with Port Everglades," said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
As part of the agreement, Royal Caribbean will reimburse up to $37.4 million for the expansion and related infrastructure needs of Terminal 18, which is already one of the largest cruise passenger terminals worldwide. Along with sister brands Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, Royal Caribbean will generate approximately 17 million in passenger volume (embarking and disembarking) at Port Everglades during the first 10-year term of the contract.
"Now we can expect an average of 3.6 times more Royal Caribbean passengers, which is phenomenal," said Port Everglades Director Phillip Allen. An economic impact study conducted by Martin and Associates as part of the Port Everglades Master/Vision Plan, projects that homeporting the Genesis ships at Port Everglades will create more than 3,844 jobs, generate $172 million in personal income and $15.9 million state and local taxes. In addition, the analysis anticipates that more than 858 new construction jobs will be created during the Terminal 18 expansion.