At a space-themed ceremony, the Canaveral Port Authority and long-time cruise partner Carnival Cruise Line have broken ground for on the new Cruise Terminal 3 complex.
The new terminal, dubbed the Launch Pad, will be the home of Mardi Gras, the cruise line’s newest and most innovative ship, beginning in 2020.
Port Authority commissioners and the Port’s leadership team joined Carnival Cruise Line executives for the ceremonial ground-breaking at the project site as NASA’s Spaceman planted a Carnival Cruise Line flag on a simulated lunar landscape.
The event theme, Go for Launch, was a nod to the Port’s key role with the US space programme and the terminal’s futuristic design, which was inspired by nearby Kennedy Space Centre.
The $163 million terminal project – the largest in the Port’s 65-year history – is scheduled for completion in May 2020 and will be ready for the arrival of Mardi Gras to her year-round Port Canaveral homeport in October 2020.
“Today’s ground-breaking is a historic milestone for our Port and underscores the long-standing partnership we have with Carnival,” Port chief executive, John Murray, said.
“The trust and confidence we’ve earned with our great cruise partner has been the foundation of success and we are excited for what the future holds.
“We’re building a great new terminal, for an innovative new ship, and looking forward to welcoming home Mardi Gras.”
Port Canaveral and Carnival Cruise Line executives held a “pre-launch mission” news conference complete with a mock countdown, then grabbed shovels on the terminal construction site for the ceremonial first dig to officially kick off construction.
Carnival president, Christine Duffy, added: “We began our operations from Port Canaveral nearly 30 years go – coincidentally with our original ship of the same name.
“We’ve had a great relationship with Port Canaveral during that time and we’re proud, honoured and excited that our newest and most innovative ship, Mardi Gras, will sail from the new Terminal 3.
“We are pleased to be the port’s number one cruise line and Mardi Gras promises to be a spectacular addition to the Space Coast.”
The contract to build the two-story, 187,000 sq. ft. terminal facility and adjacent six-story parking garage was awarded to Merritt Island, Florida-based Ivey’s Construction.
The terminal will feature a high-tech baggage processing facility and a state-of-the-art check-in and security area on its second floor, with kiosks and seating for 1,700 guests.