Due to its fleet expansion, Disney has intentions to homeport a ship capable of carrying approximately 3,500 passengers on a year-round basis in South Florida.
Cruise Terminal 4
Cruise Terminal 4 has been in play since Port Everglades amended its agreement with Carnival Corp. & plc earlier this year.
The port is seeking permission from Broward County Commissioners at their May 18 meeting to begin formal discussions with Disney.
In its talks with PortMiami, where Disney operates seasonally, about the possible shared use of MSC Cruises' future terminal and a potential third berth there, Berth 10, the line had earlier disclosed its intention to conduct due diligence with another port.
Disney Cruise Line did not address if it's planning to exit Miami.
'We were recently made aware of an emerging opportunity at Port Everglades and are beginning formal discussions to explore this further,' a Disney Cruise Line spokeswoman told Seatrade Cruise News. 'We are grateful for the strong relationship we enjoy with PortMiami and for Miami-Dade County’s ongoing support of the cruise industry.'
According to a PortMiami spokeswoman, Disney hasn't walked away. 'They are great partners and currently have an agreement that runs through April 2024,' she said.
A little magic in diversification for Everglades
Jonathan Daniels, port director and CEO, Port Everglades, called Disney a 'very exciting brand to be able to work with. The diversification allows us the opportunity to add some additional magic to our offering.'
Obtaining permission from Broward County to enter discussions with Disney is the first step in the process.
'We look forward to sitting down with Disney and learning more about their needs and how Port Everglades would fit into the future of Disney Cruise Line,' Daniels said.
Cruise Terminal 4 is in 'great shape,' he said, and its slip is large enough to handle the full range of Disney vessels, including the forthcoming 144,000gt, LNG-powered newbuilds that start with Disney Wish in summer 2022. That ship is committed to Port Canaveral.
Talks with LNG suppliers
Port Everglades has not yet served an LNG-powered vessel, which it would do by tug and barge. But according to Daniels, the port has talked with several service providers. Since Canaveral and PortMiami will be handling LNG-powered cruise ships, too, that makes it more attractive and viable for a provider to expand in South Florida.
Daniels couldn't say whether Disney would be seeking a highly customized terminal or the potential for basing more than one of its ships at Everglades, though he'd like to see 'significant utilization of that terminal.'
As for the term, 'We're going to desire an initial term of maybe 15 years. The longer we can get, the more creative we can be,' he said.
Daniels said Disney would complement the great lineup Port Everglades already has through its long-term agreements with Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Group. He added that being able to secure a deal with Disney would be a huge boost to Broward County as its economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.