Built on the Adossat wharf, this 12,500-square-meter Terminal E along with Carnival's Palacruceros at Terminal D, represent the company's largest combined terminal investment, more than €46m, in Europe.
Designed by Catalán architecture firm Batlle i Roig Arquitectura, the terminal has a modern and graceful style with straight lines, creating a contemporary and comfortable environment designed to enhance the embarkation and disembarkation process.
Port's first public parking
Also making its debut shortly will be the port's first public parking facility, providing embarking passengers with access to nearly 300 parking spaces. In addition, the Helix terminal will accommodate Carnival Corp.'s new class of next-generation ships that will be fully operated by liquefied natural gas.
The ceremony included Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp. & plc; Julio Gómez-Pomar Rodríguez, secretary of state for infrastructure, transport and housing for the government of Spain; Enric Millo, government delegate in Catalonia; Ricard Font, secretary of infrastructure and mobility for the government of Catalonia; Agustí Colom, councilor of tourism, commerce and markets for the Barcelona City Council; José Llorca, chairman of Puertos del Estado; and Sixte Cambra, president of the Port of Barcelona.
Europe's best-loved cruise port
'After years of working closely with our extraordinary partners in Barcelona, including the port, its support network of local businesses and the city, we are absolutely thrilled to introduce our world-class Helix cruise center to welcome guests from around the world to Europe's best-loved cruise port and to Barcelona, one of the world's greatest cities and regions,' said Giora Israel, SVP global ports and destination development for Carnival Corp.
He continued: 'Our goal is to provide our guests with extraordinary vacations, and we are confident that our new terminal will help us enhance the overall experience for our guests. The terminal stands as a tribute to the remarkable appeal of Barcelona and the entire country as one of the world's most beautiful, vibrant and compelling destinations.'
Carnival Corp., he added, now looks forward to working with the Port of Barcelona and its community partners to make the cruise terminal a highly efficient and customer-friendly operation.
Tribute to José Alberto Carbonell
Israel also paid an impromptu tribute to José Alberto Carbonell, director general of the Barcelona Port Authority and the senior career civil servant at the port under Cambra, appointed by the regional Generalitat of Catalunya. Referring to their 20-year professional relationship, Israel described Carbonell as a 'rock' for his dependability and for his consistent attention to the interests of the port during their many negotiations.
Citing the port's long history of working with Carnival Corp. and its brands, Cambra expressed appreciation for the company's 'strong commitment to our great port, city and region, and we are excited about the new Helix cruise center, which is already earning rave reviews as one of the world's most spectacular cruise terminals.'
'In a city and region known for its inspiring and beautiful architecture, it is exciting to have Carnival Corporation's stunning Helix cruise center grace the Port of Barcelona as our newest landmark,' Font added. 'We appreciate Carnival Corporation having such a positive impact on our local economy and employment and for making such a significant investment in our region.'
1m passenger movements by Carnival brands
Eight Carnival Corp. brands—AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and P&O Cruises—visit Barcelona throughout the year. Six of those brands are operating full or partial homeporting in 2018.
Carnival expects to accommodate more than 1m passenger movements at the port in 2018, with 289 calls by 38 ships.
On Saturday, Queen Mary 2, calling at the port for the first time in three years and for the first time since the liner's total refurbishment, was docked alongside the new terminal near the completion of a 120-day world cruise. QM2 is scheduled to call at Cádiz on Monday before returning its Southampton homeport. Costa Favolosa was docked at Carnival's adjacent Palacruceros terminal and sailed just as the Helix inauguration was concluding. Farther toward the city along Adossat pier, P&O Cruises' Britannia lay alongside. AIDAstella was at Terminal Sud near the World Trade Center.
With reporting by Dan Solon from Barcelona