AS CRUISE SHIPS GROW LARGER and more luxurious, cruise ports rush to keep up, modernizing and expanding their facilities across the globe. In Florida, which boasts the three busiest cruise ports in the world, the busiest harbor, Miami, is readying a new terminal for 2018, built by Royal Caribbean for mega-ship passengers. Runner-up rival Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale is lengthening Slip 2 to accommodate more resort-sized ships, too, and remains the only cruise port to offer passengers Global Entry security clearance. As for third-place Port Canaveral in Orlando, the latest enhancement is a $7 million amphitheater.
In the Caribbean, San Juan, Puerto Rico, lengthened several piers and added an $8 million duty-free building. Carnival Cruise Line is building a $70 million port facility at Tortuga Island, north of Haiti. MSC Cruises will open an 85-acre, $2 million cruise port, Ocean Caye, in The Bahamas in December, while Norwegian Cruise Line is already operating Harvest Caye, an island port with marina, lagoon and floating piers in Belize.
On the U.S. Gulf Coast, Houston ceased cruise operations, but Mobile, Ala., returned after a five-year hiatus, adding a new climate-controlled customs area with eight stations. The Port of New Orleans converted two older terminals into one, enlarging the lobby and baggage areas for mega-ship passengers. Galveston, America’s fourth-busiest port, expanded Terminal 2 and now offers valet parking, making it easier to drop off and retrieve vehicles.
Elsewhere, port expansions proliferate. Montréal completed a massive makeover of its 50-year-old cruise terminal in anticipation of record numbers of arrivals for the city’s 375th birthday celebrations. Seattle, enjoying a surge in Alaska-bound cruises, welcomes the expansion of its Bell Street Cruise Terminal under the management of Norwegian Cruise Line. Carnival is investing $33 million to build and operate a second private cruise terminal in Barcelona, Europe’s largest cruise port.
Occasionally, a brand-new cruise port pops up. Next year, London will open its first cruise port, located in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, right on the Thames. The London City Cruise Port will limit the size of visiting liners to a modest 1,600 passengers, but it has drawn fire from locals concerned about environmental damage and the onslaught of tourists. Similar protests also continue in Venice, the world’s 10th-busiest cruise port, where UNESCO warns it will place Venice on its list of endangered heritage sites if the largest cruise ships are not prohibited soon. On a brighter (and greener) note, the Port of Red Hook in Brooklyn joined a handful of other pioneers by enabling cruise ships to shut down their smokestacks and plug into the port’s power grid.
Any port may do in a storm, but cruise passengers are fussy about where they embark and disembark. As well as expanding operations to handle bigger ships, ports worldwide are scrambling to improve passenger facilities and services.
As I arrived at the Air Canada check-in counter, the helpful staff directed me to the security checkpoint. Once through the line, and a bit strapped for time, I walked quickly to my gate, where an extremely kind concierge service member greeted me. She asked how my trip was and said she had been watching for me so she could assist me with boarding early to ensure a calm and easy departure. She assisted me earlier that week when I processed through security from Toronto to London, so it was nice closing my trip with a friendly face. She escorted me onto the plane and to my seat in the beautiful Signature Class cabin of the Boeing 787-8, introducing me to the flight attendant who would be directing cabin staff during my flight. I thanked the concierge for her hospitality throughout my journey.
Travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip ranked the best and worst U.S. cities for cleanliness, and Long Beach, California, is No. 1, rated the cleanest U.S. city. InsureMyTrip examined city- and state-level data on key categories, including hand sanitizer demand, restaurant cleanliness, quantity of recycling collectors, garbage disposal satisfaction, electric vehicle market share and pollution.
Meliá Hotels International announced the expansion of its ME by Meliá, Gran Meliá and Paradisus brands in 2021.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
Tropicana Las Vegas launched its first-ever Holiday in Paradise outside in Tropicana Plaza to help spread holiday cheer this year. Through Jan. 3, more than 25,000 lights will cover the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard, alongside a 20-foot Christmas tree and a tropical forest of 25 palm trees and Christmas trees. The free experience for all ages also includes a 10-foot-tall, live poinsettia photo wall, holiday music and a pop-up bar serving winter-themed cocktails, hot cocoa and more.
As more destinations around the globe reopen to travelers, we are ready to get back to one of our favorite activities. Join us over the next several weeks as we take you to places around the world saying #WelcomeBacktoTravel. Take a visual journey through Portugal with us.
Custom order your Volvo through the Overseas Delivery Program and receive round-trip airfare, hotel accommodations, and a personalized delivery at the Volvo Factory Delivery Experience in Gothenburg, Sweden. Your experience begins in Sweden with insurance and registration included, enabling you to drive your new Volvo throughout Scandinavia and Europe. Create the adventure of a lifetime with the program named Best Overseas Delivery four years running, and return home with the ultimate souvenir.
The first Six Senses in the Americas arrives early next year with the opening of Six Senses Botanique in Brazil. In the Mantiqueira area, 2.5 hours from São Paulo and 3.5 hours from Rio de Janeiro, Six Senses Botanique will sit amid 700 acres of lush, mid-tropical Atlantic forests.