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PortMiami: Cruise Capital of the World

If you’re a diehard cruiser, there’s no better to live than Miami

Well, it certainly makes sense: Miami is a refuge for snowbirds, snowbirds love cruises, and Miami is the most natural access point to the Bahamas, the Caribbean and Latin America. The largest passenger port in the world shows off its spiffy new terminals, which can be admired from the McArthur Causeway linking Miami to Miami Beach.

Take, for example, Norwegian Cruise Line, which opened its modern, glittering new state-of-the-art cruise terminal in Port Miami’s Terminal B in 2021. The eye-catching $239 million structure was designed by Miami-based global architect firm Bermello, Ajamil & Partners and inspired by the Fibonacci nautilus, with its spiraled and multi-level façade. Accommodating ships of up to 5,000 passengers, NCL’s Miami terminal was dubbed “the pearl” by its designers, and the edifice represents the world’s first cruise terminal to earn LEED Gold v4 Certification. Norwegian, which has been helmed by developer Russell Galbut since 2018, is the third-largest cruise operator in the world, with Oceania and Regent Seven Seas as its luxury subsidiaries.

Meanwhile, in November 2018, Royal Caribbean Cruises made its own architectural mark on PortMiami, officiallyopening Terminal A, the largest cruise terminal in the U.S., in collaboration with Miami-Dade County. The new terminal serves as homeport to some of Royal Caribbean's largest ships. The world’s second-largest cruise line operates Celebrity Cruises and the ultra-exclusive Silversea Cruises. Royal Caribbean is headquartered in Miami.

Headquartered in Doral, Carnival occupies the industry’s top position as the world’s largest cruise line—it also operates Seabourn, which is regularly cited as the world’s most luxurious line, as well as Holland America, Princess, Cunard and Costa (Europe’s largest cruise line), among others. One 14-day Seabourn itinerary, on the Quest (beginning November 7, 2023), embarks and debarks in Miami, taking in such Caribbean showstoppers as Barbados, Antigua and St. Lucia along the way.

PortMiami’s newest member, occupying Terminal AA/AAA, is MSC Cruises, which is spending $300 million to build its new facility, set for completion in late 2023. The terminal will be capable of hosting as many as three latest-generation ships at the same time, handling up to 36,000 passenger movements per day; in addition, the terminal will allow the MSC to deploy some of its most environmentally high-performing vessels out of PortMiami.

In all, Miami serves as the home port for Azamara, Carnival, Crystal, Celebrity, Disney, MSC, Norwegian, Oceania, Regent, Royal Caribbean, Viking Ocean Cruises and Virgin; it is a port of call for Princess, Seabourn and the small, uber-luxurious masted ships of Windstar.

Windstar continues to grow its relationship with Miami. In fact, the Miami-based Fountainhead Arts foundations has selected three different local artists to board three of Windstar’s ships to create murals this fall and winter. The murals adorn the large top deck wall aft of the Star Grill on Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride. Future Windstar mural installs/programming draw on  Magnus Sodamin , who has been commissioned to create art, beginning in late 2023, aboard Windstar’s Star Pride.

Miami’s cruise sector is tightly knit: Magnus—who just completed a show at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel during Art Week—is actually the son of illustrious chef Rudi Sodamin, who has been the guiding gastronomic force for several Carnival brands for decades. Rudi is the head of culinary art at Princess Cruises and master chef at Holland America Line.

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