Home to Carnival's LNG-powered 'XL' newbuild
The new terminal will be home to Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and largest cruise ship—whose name was just revealed as Mardi Gras—as part of a long-term agreement between the Port Authority and Carnival.
'I am proud of our CFO Mike Poole, and the port’s finance team, who worked diligently and thoroughly with the ratings agencies to propose a financing package to keep our costs low,' port CEO Capt. John Murray said. 'Our record of performance and Carnival’s renewed commitment to our port with the new long-term operating agreement are the foundation of sound planning and pillars of financial success.'
The financing package approved today includes the issuance of up to $80m in 30-year bonds (Series 2018 A and B) and up to $37m in bonds (Series C) executed as a 20-year loan with SunTrust Bank. Additionally, the commissioners approved increasing the port’s line of credit with PNC Bank from $25m to $50m with repayment of any funds used provided by the port’s operating income.
The Canaveral Port Authority and Carnival will invest in building and equipping a new two-story 185,000-square-foot terminal to accommodate the 180,000gt Carnival ship currently dubbed 'XL,' with capacity for approximately 6,500 passengers.
'We’re excited and very proud that it will be the first LNG-powered cruise ship based in North America,' Murray said.
'The Port Canaveral leadership team has been a great partner as we work to bring the new XL ship online in 2020,' Carnival president Christine Duffy said. 'We will be announcing features on the ship over the coming weeks and months and we are certain that this news will drive even more excitement about the ship and more awareness of the great facilities being built.'
Carnival to provide up to $50m
The terminal plus an adjacent elevated parking facility to accommodate nearly 1,800 vehicles and related wharf, road and access improvements will total $150m—estimated as the largest single project in the port's history. Carnival will contribute up to $50m toward the terminal construction. The new facility is slated for completion by mid-2020.
The new Carnival operating agreement, which began Sept. 1, provides a 25-year primary term with four additional five-year renewal options and includes annual guarantees throughout.
The arrival of Mardi Gras in 2020 will mark 30 years that the line has been sailing from Port Canaveral, the longest of any of the port’s cruise partners.