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NCL will be first to sail from new Port Canaveral terminal, MSC also planned

Port Canaveral's new cruise terminal at Berth 8 (center of photo) will share the basin with Cruise Terminal 5, at left. Terminal X is to open in phases, starting in November 2025 with Norwegian Joy, and MSC ships planned
Norwegian Joy will be the first ship to sail from Port Canaveral's fast-tracked new cruise terminal, with plans to relocate MSC Cruises there.

What Canaveral's referring to as Terminal X is targeted for completion in third quarter 2026 but CEO Capt. John Murray said he's pushing for July 2026.

Phased opening

There's so much demand to accommodate big ships that Termnal X will open in phases, with Norwegian Joy to arrive in November 2025 when the pier extension and a new garage should be ready, with some other temporary facilities to support the ship, according to William Crowe, VP engineering, construction and facilities.

Murray said he's in talks with operators for the multi-user facility. 'As soon as it's built, it will be operating with two to three ships, right away,' he said.

Relocating MSC from CT 10

This came out during Wednesday's Canaveral Port Authority meeting, when commissioners approved the extension of MSC Cruises' operating agreement through September 2027 with an amendment that allows MSC to add a second year-round homeporting ship at Cruise Terminal 10. As recently reported, MSC Grandiosa is scheduled to join MSC Seashore there in December 2025.

MSC is moving up the ranks at Canaveral, where it didn't even operate pre-pandemic. Will they eventually be at Terminal X? a commissioner asked.

'That'll be the plan. In the future, we will be relocating them,' Murray said.

Fast-tracked site at existing North 8 Berth

The new terminal site was announced earlier this month at the existing North 8 Berth, which shares the basin with Cruise Terminal 5 on the north side of the port. It will be getting a 180-foot pier extension and a new bulkhead that also will enable the 150-foot extension of CT 5. So, a 'two-terminal benefit,' as Murray put it.

A lot of big ships don't fit at CT 5, and Murray said the long-term goal is to cycle the smaller vessels through that facility while moving other ships around the port.

With Terminal X planned as a multi-user facility, that gives Canaveral the needed flexibiity to maximize capacity utilization.

On track for 7.3m revenue cruisers

The port is on track to meet its budgeted 7.3m revenue passengers in fiscal 2024, having already reached 4.5m — that compares, Murray noted, to the 4.6m handled all year in 2019.