As South Florida continues its reign as the world’s capital of cruising, local industry giants are spending millions of dollars to launch their biggest ships yet and construct new terminals to accommodate them.
Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. – all based in Miami-Dade County – are spending big money to expand their fleets.
It couldn’t come at a more strategic time, as the popularity of cruising continues to rise and the sector is expected to serve 30 million people this year – up 6 percent from 2018, the Cruise Lines International Association reports. The companies’ revenues rise as they launch ships that can hold more passengers to accommodate the demand.
South Florida stands to benefit from the boom as many of the world’s largest cruise ships sail from tri-county area ports year-round. Cruise giants have also built massive terminals at PortMiami and Port Everglades to help welcome nearly 2 million additional passengers to a region that already reaps billions of dollars in economic impact from cruise travelers.
“Cruise passengers are essential to the continued growth and development of the tourism industry in Miami-Dade County, and contribute millions of dollars to our local economy annually,” said Bill Talbert, president, and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. “That includes air travel, hotel nights, entertainment and shopping.”
This year is expected to be the best yet for South Florida-based cruise giants, as data indicates consumers will continue to spend more on travel, said Ivan Feinseth, director of research for Tigress Financial: “2017 was a record year, 2018 was an even bigger record year, and 2019 will most likely be another record,” as indicated by advance booking sales.