With a new ship on the way, Disney Cruise Line has decided to partner up with Port Everglades as a second main port for its ships to sail from. For many years now, the cruise line has been operating from its base in Port Canaveral, close to Orlando and the Disney theme parks.
Although Disney ships have been sailing from PortMiami, California, and Texas seasonally, Port Everglades has never featured as a port for the cruise line. This is now about to change.
15-Year Lease With Options to Extend
According to Disney Cruise Line Blog, the cruise line has signed a deal with Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale to become a homeport for its ships for a minimum of 15 years, a lease which can be extended for an additional 15 years. Starting October 2023, Disney will have use year-round of Cruise Terminal 4. Included in the deal is the use of a second terminal two years down the line.
The agreement has at least one ship at the port year-round sailing on four- and five-night cruises. Disney has guaranteed 400,000 passengers per year for the first two years, a number that will increase once the second terminal comes into play.
The talks between Port Everglades and Disney Cruise Line have been ongoing for several months. Back in May, the cruise line commented they were investigating the possibility of using Port Everglades, saying they were made aware of emerging opportunities in the port and were starting formal talks.
The addition of Port Everglades will give the cruise line a new cruise port to sell cruises from and be closer to the action in Southern Florida. That being said, Terminal 4 will need some upgrades according to the agreement between the port and cruise line.
Significant Investments to Come
Although Terminal 4 has just been upgraded with a $120 million new parking garage, the Herron Garage, Disney plans to invest 50% of the total $12 million investments needed to upgrade the terminal to Disney’s standards. The cruise line will also invest half a million dollars towards marine improvements to the berths.
Enhancements to the terminal include upgrades to the check-in booths, seating for 1000 people, charging points, and screens for entertainment and information.
Back in May of this year, PortMiami had been in negotiations with Disney Cruise Line regarding sharing the new Berth 10 in PortMiami; however, Disney Cruise Line announced its intent on signing a preferential Berthing Agreement with Port Everglades, one which now has come to fruition.
Disney Cruise line currently operations four cruise ships, all of which are presently sailing from US Ports. Disney Magic is based in Miami, Disney Wonder will be based in Galveston from next week, and Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy operate from Port Canaveral.
Next year the cruise line hopes to launch the eagerly awaited Disney Wish, which seems all set for a launch date in June 2022. Two sister ships to Disney Wish will sail in 2024 and 2025. It does seem unlikely that the new vessels will be operating from Port Everglades, as these use LNG as their primary fuel.