MSC Cruises wants to build an even bigger terminal in PortMiami.
Last year, county commissioners approved MSC’s plans to build on a 9-acre terminal site with space for one 7,000-passenger ship at a time. At a meeting in Geneva Thursday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and MSC Cruises signed a letter of intent to build a much larger structure than originally planned. Now, MSC says it wants 16.5 acres and enough space to fit two 7,000-passenger ships at a time — possibly with two terminals — plus office space.
“This agreement represents a blueprint for the further expansion of the cruise operation at the world’s leading cruise port,” said MSC’s executive chairman, Gianluigi Aponte, in a statement Thursday.
MSC Cruises currently operates a fleet of 15 cruise vessels. Three of them call Terminal F at PortMiami home: MSC Seaside, MSC Divina and MSC Armonia. With a new cruise terminal — or two — the letter of intent said MSC would bring an estimated 1.5 million passengers through PortMiami each year. The Geneva-based line now has its U.S. offices in Broward.
Once the financial details of the terminal plan are ironed out, MSC and the county will ask the Miami-Dade Board of Commissioners for its approval. MSC would aim to finish construction by November 2022, according to a spokesperson for the port.
MSC is one of four cruise lines to announce ambitious expansions at PortMiami. Royal Caribbean opened its new Terminal A in November 2018, now home to some of its 5,400-passenger Oasis-class ships. Norwegian Cruise Line plans to open its new terminal at Terminals B and C in November, which will hold two 5,000-passenger ships at once. And, the county commission approved Virgin Voyages’ plans to build a terminal set to open in 2021.