Miami Cruise Terminal


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The Miami Cruise Terminal is the busiest passenger port in the world, handling 6.8 million travelers in 2019. The facility has room for ten large cruise ships and has recently seen a number of upgrades and new construction projects to support the burgeoning industry. In 2018, Royal Caribbean opened the 170,000 sq ft (15,000 sq m) “Crown of Miami”, the largest cruise terminal in the US. Norwegian Cruise Lines completed their new terminal, the Pearl of Miami, in 2020, with capacity for vessels carrying up to 5,000 passengers and in 2021, Virgin Voyages built their new Palm Grove terminal at a cost of $180 million. Carnival Corp is spending USD $170 million to renovate their terminal to handle their newer 7,000-passenger vessels, and MSC cruises will complete their new 2-berth terminal facility next year at a cost of USD $300 million.

With Seattle temperatures near freezing, we boarded an early-morning flight to Miami for a Caribbean cruise the following day on the Norwegian Encore. We had a great flight over the snow-covered Midwest, and landed in a much warmer Miami later in the afternoon. Our first glimpse of the Cruise Terminal came while en route to our hotel, where the Norwegian Prima , pictured, was docked at the terminal we would be heading to the next morning. We enjoyed some ocean views and several cruise ship departures from our hotel room balcony before an excellent meal poolside.

Below are highlights from November 19, 2022. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a map with our most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

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Port of Seattle
The Port of Seattle on a cold and still morning shortly after takeoff on our flight to Miami. We’ll be embarking on the Norwegian Encore for a 7-night Caribbean cruise.
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Sunrise
Sunrise over the Cascade Range near Snoqualmie Pass. Snow has been falling over the past week or so and the ski resorts will be opening up soon.
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Moses Lake
The city of Moses Lake, WA, situated on the multi-armed lake of the same name.
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Fields
Snow-dusted fields near the Washington-Idaho border.
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Bitterroot Range
Crossing the rippling ridges of the Bitterroot Range on the Idaho-Montana border.
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West Pioneer Mountains
Deep snow in Montana’s West Pioneer Mountains.
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Fort Meyers
Looking north along the Caloosahatchee River that passes through Fort Meyers.
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Argos Ready Mix
The Argos Ready Mix concrete plant outside Fort Meyers. Argos is a Columbia-based company with cement operations also in Honduras, Panama and the Caribbean. They are the leading producer of cement in Columbia and fourth-largest in the US.
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TopGolf
The Topgolf Miami driving range. The company uses electronically-tracked balls to automatically scores customers’ drives in 70 locations around the world.
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VORTAC
FAA VORTAC (very high frequency omnirange tactical air navigation beacon) radio-based navigation aid serving the Miami region. The VHF-based network of ground systems allows aircraft pilots to determine their position and course. The technology was developed in the US in 1936 and deployed starting in 1946, but GPS systems are making them obsolete.
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Cruise Terminal
Passing the Miami Cruise Terminal en route to our hotel. With room for ten large cruise ships, the facility is the busiest passenger port in the world and handled 3.4 million travelers in 2020. The Norwegian Prima is currently at the Norwegian Cruise Lines dock, and we’ll be arriving there tomorrow to board the Norwegian Encore for a Caribbean cruise.
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Hilton Bentley
Our room for the night at the Hilton Bentley in South Beach, Miami prior to our cruise.
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Bedroom
Wonderful ocean view from the bedroom of our Miami hotel room.
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Balcony
Jennifer taking in the view from the balcony of our Miami hotel room.
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South Pointe Beach
Looking across South Pointe Beach to the Atlantic Ocean from our hotel balcony.
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Beachgoers
It’s a bit of a blustery day, and relatively few people are out on the South Pointe Beach today.
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NCL Prima
The Norwegian Prima departing Miami on a Caribbean cruise. Launched in August of this year, it is the first of the planned six ships in the Prima class.
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South Point Tavern
Having a pre-dinner drink on the terrace at the South Point Tavern in Miami South Beach.
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Santorini
An excellent meal poolside at Santorini in the Hilton Bentley where we are staying.
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Huge Drink
A huge drink on the table next to us at Santorini. We figure that one could slow an elephant.
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Night
View to the ocean at night from our Miami hotel room balcony, with a few ships visible in the distance. South Pointe beach is pretty deserted this time of night.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map. And a map of our most recent log entries always is available at mvdirona.com/maps.

 
 


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2 comments on “Miami Cruise Terminal
  1. John Schieffelin says:

    I am surprised at your choice of cruise line and ship. I think of Norwegian as a cruise line focused on party cruisers and families who want to take advantage of all the water slides, kiddie games, and bars/casinos onboard. Trying to enjoy a shoresiide excursion as you are disgorged from the ship with 3,000 other passengers would not be my ideal. But you are both highly intelligent folks who research everything very carefully so I’m sure you had good reasons to go on Norwegian. I prefer smaller ships, maybe a bit more upscale so I’ll be interested to read your take on cruising aboard Norwegian.

    • It’s a good question in why we would take a mega-cruise line when boutique offerings exist. Prior to this trip, we had close to zero interest in cruising in general and none on the really big ships. But while sitting on our balcony watching the Norwegian Encore depart from Pier 66 below us in one of my spur the moment suggestions I said “I’m not interested in big boat cruising but would be interested in the spending time on a big boat. Why don’t we book a cruise to Alaska on the Encore and take only the first couple of days of the trip over the weekend and then fly home. Just enough time to learn about the ship and then get off and fly home.” I thought a big boat could be super interesting for a day. We tried to book the trip sailing out of Seattle but by the time I could get a Monday or Friday without meetings the Encore had shifted over to the Caribbean. Sailing out of Miami would be more of a hassle but we figured it was fine and still worth doing. That discussion was the origin of this trip.

      I was working the week we were out on the Encore so we didn’t do most of the excursions but we had the evenings to enjoy the ship and what we found were the higher end restaurants were actually remarkably good. We did also two Comedy shows and 2 musicals as after dinner events. On another we tried the Hot Tub on the Deck 19. By the time we were done, we actually busy every night. We didn’t do any excursions but really enjoyed our time and viewed the experiment as a great success. We have 2 more versions of the experiment planed. We’ll be taking the National Geographic Endurance to south of the Arctic circle in Antarctica. This is more what you had in mind in that it only has 69 cabins and it is a Polar Class 5 ice capable and, on this trip, we intend to do all the excursions and learning opportunities.

      Phase 3 of the experiment will be late next summer where we take the the Polar Class 2 Le Commandant Charcot from above the arctic circle in Svalbard from which it’ll break ice all the way to the North Pole. This boat is the highest ice class rated cruise ship in the world and, with only 135 cabins, it’s a relatively intimate boat when compared to the Norwegian Encore.

      Our interest vary greatly and we fully expect to enjoy all three cruises even though they are all vastly different experiences at wildly different ship sizes and price points.

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