The memorandum of understanding strengthens MSC's global footprint with a strategic focus on North America, executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said.
Big enough for 200,000gt newbuilds
PortMiami is the company’s exclusive homeport in the US. The new agreement extends MSC Cruises’ existing Saturday preferential berthing rights also to Sundays. Additionally, the new terminal—projected to be completed by October 2022—will be able to accommodate the next-generation, 200,000gt World Class ships that each carry up to 7,000 passengers. Those LNG-powered newbuilds are due in 2022 and 2024, with options for two more in 2025 and 2026.
Currently MSC Seaside, which debuted in late 2017, sails year-round from Miami to the Caribbean from the recently completed Terminal F. MSC Divina sails seasonally to the Caribbean from October through March, and MSC Armonia will join the Florida-based fleet, beginning year-round cruises to Cuba in December, MSC's first to carry US citizens. In addition, starting November 2019, MSC Meraviglia, the company’s largest ship at 171,598gt with capacity for 5,714 passengers, will join the other three ships at PortMiami.
Slot for a Cruise Terminal AA also remains
Also under construction are the futuristic Terminal A for Royal Caribbean and Terminal B for Norwegian Cruise Line. A terminal slot, AA, directly east of Royal Caribbean's terminal, is under negotiation. MSC's AAA would go up east of that.
Large percentage of international guests
'PortMiami is committed to providing a world-class experience to its guests and thanks to a long-standing collaborative relationship with Miami-Dade County we are thrilled that in less than 18 months MSC Cruises will have four ships sailing from the port,' said Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA. 'This will also allow us to make a significant additional contribution to the economy of Miami and the county,' he added, 'especially thanks to the large percentage of international guests traveling to Miami and South Florida to embark and disembark from MSC Cruises ships.'
'In 2017, MSC Cruises worked with PortMiami on the completion of Terminal F, home to MSC Seaside, the first MSC Cruises ship to be built specifically for North American market and the Caribbean,' added Roberto Fusaro, president of MSC Cruises USA. 'The construction of another cruise terminal is further testament of our commitment to US travel partners and their guests, as it will allow us to continue to enhance our service, starting right from embarkation.'
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez expressed gratitude to MSC Cruises for its continued partnership. Chair of the Miami-Dade County Economic Development and Tourism Committee Rebeca Sosa called this a 'big win' for the growth and expansion of tourism in Miami-Dade County.