Florida Homeport Could Top 4 Million Cruise Passengers

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Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is about to make waves in the cruising world with new cruise lines, inaugural ship visits, and a dedicated terminal as a new homeport, all during the 2023-2024 winter Caribbean season.

This will see amazing growth for the cruise port, as well as an economic boom for the local community, with high passenger numbers expected.

Cruise Season Off to Strong Start

The 2023-2024 Caribbean season for Port Everglades officially began in October, and already the south Florida cruise port has seen inaugural visits by four new ships and is just days away from becoming a new homeport for a very popular and distinctive cruise line.

Coming up over the next few months are additional new visits, new homeported ships, first uses of liquefied natural gas, and a very busy summer, along with studies for even more environmental sustainability to keep Port Everglades at the forefront of cruise innovation and conscientious cruising.

Together, all these feats will likely lead to a record-breaking season and greater visibility for the cruise port from different sectors of the cruise travel industry. The port expects 3.7 million passengers for the season, which could even reach over 4 million.

Read Also: Top 10 Busiest US Cruise Homeports

“We could very well top our 4 million passenger record, although our ‘official’ projected number is conservatively estimated at some 3.7 million embarking and disembarking guests,” said Jonathan Daniels, Port Everglades CEO and Director. “As a trend, we are seeing more luxury ships such as Viking and Ritz-Carlton, and shorter itineraries from Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Disney.”

A Fleet of Inaugural Visits

Port Everglades has welcomed first visits for three of Viking Cruises’ expedition ships – Viking Octantis, Viking Polaris, and Viking Mars. Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris were repositioning for their Antarctic seasons, while Viking Mars is now sailing from Fort Lauderdale with Panama Canal and Central America itineraries.

Viking Cruise Ship
Viking Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

Likewise, Phoenix Reisen’s Artania made her first call on Port Everglades on Monday, November 6, the day before ending her transatlantic cruise from Bremerhaven, Germany to Miami, Florida.

Various ships that will homeport from Port Everglades in the coming months will also be enjoying their first visits and becoming part of the Fort Lauderdale fleet, including vessels from Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Azamara Cruises, and Princess Cruises.

A New Homeport

A surprising number of new ships will call Port Everglades home in the next few months, beginning with Disney Dream from November 20, 2023. The Disney Cruise Line vessel will homeport year-round from Fort Lauderdale in a dedicated and specially designed terminal to service the cruise line.

Disney’s homeport operations from Fort Lauderdale represent a partnership with a 15-year agreement that one ship will always be sailing from the port year-round from a dedicated terminal, with a second ship to offer seasonal cruises beginning in 2025.

Disney Cruise Line Ship
Disney Dream Cruise Ship (Photo Credit: J Erick Brazzan / Shutterstock)

Celebrity Cruises’ upcoming Celebrity Ascent – the fourth of the innovative Edge-class vessels – will be named at Port Everglades on December 1, 2023, and will spend her inaugural Caribbean season from the homeport with 7-night Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itineraries. In total, seven Celebrity Cruises’ ships will homeport from Fort Lauderdale this season.

On the heels of Celebrity Ascent, Silversea Cruises’ Silver Nova will also be named at Port Everglades on January 4, 2024, and meanwhile, Azamara Cruises’ Azamara Onward will visit the port for the first time in late November to finish her season and then on January 5, 2024, will depart on her inaugural World Voyage – a 155-night itinerary visiting more than 40 countries.

In October 2024, the new Sphere-class Sun Princess will call Port Everglades home, and in November 2024, Crystal Cruises will homeport the completely refurbished Crystal Serenity from Fort Lauderdale.

Sun Princess Cruise Ship
Sun Princess Cruise Ship

Beyond just the inaugural visits and new homeported ships, the summer season of 2024 will be a busy one at Port Everglades with five ships homeported and offering itineraries from 3-7 nights in length, attracting travelers for all sorts of vacations, from quick weekend getaways to week-long retreats.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Reflection, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Magic, Princess Cruises’ Enchanted Princess, and Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas will all be sailing from Port Everglades next summer.

Top Environmental Initiatives

Despite the growing busy-ness of the cruise port, Port Everglades is not losing sight of environmental responsibility and ensuring a healthy marine environment and local community.

Silver Nova will be the first ship to use liquefied natural gas at the port, and the capability will be available to other ships as well.

Furthermore, Port Everglades has already completed a study on adding shore power to all eight cruise terminals, which would permit ships to connect to the local electrical grid rather than running their engines and burning fuel while docked. While this project is still in the planning stages, financing options are being outlined and phased implementation may begin as early as mid-2024.

With so much going on at the port, the months ahead look to be busy and productive ones at Port Everglades.

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