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.
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I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
Dance the night away with Grand Hotel’s Ballroom Dance offer, available May 16–18. Dancers of all skill levels will experience a diverse range of ballroom dance styles, alongside daily breakfast and dinner, a welcome reception and complimentary golf green fees.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.