For the last few years, it’s been Fort Lauderdale that has been making most of the running as Florida’s premier passenger port. The stunning dual coup of securing both Oasis of the Seas and her sister ship, Allure of the Seas, put a real spring in the step of the centrally sited Florida stalwart.
But, after a few years of playing understudy, Miami is finally reasserting its role as the world’s number one passenger port. And a couple of stunning new arrivals in the next few weeks will really up the ante in terms of both options and, naturally, the numbers passing through that port.
MSC’s stunning new MSC Divina launched last year in Europe, and is now about to make her first ever American landfall. Following a very successful season with the slightly smaller MSC Poesia last year, the Italian company decided to send the newer, larger, state of the art Divina to the American market. She will home port in Miami all year round, operating a series of mainly seven night cruises to the Eastern and Western Caribbean, though there will also be occasional, three night Bahamas jaunts as well.
It is inevitable that the vast, European accented Divina will receive some cosmetic ‘tweaking’ for the benefit of the American passengers that MSC is hoping to attract. I also hope that the changes are not so all encompassing that they smother the chic, highly styled essence of this beautiful ship. One of her biggest selling points is, surely, that she is just a little ‘different’ to the glut of mega cruise ships sailing out of Miami. I suppose that time alone will tell, but I think that MSC Divina will be a smash in the Caribbean year round market.
The second entrant in the new Miami beauty stakes needs no adaption; she has been designed and outfitted from the start to be a ‘Miami’ ship. Norwegian Cruise Lines’ new Norwegian Getaway will be in the South Florida port in late January, to begin week long Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. As a younger sibling to the wildly successful, New York accented Norwegian Breakaway, the new ship has been designed and decorated to reflect a chic, very local, South Beach kind of vibe.
Norwegian has a long and very deep connection to Miami. Unlike rivals Carnival and Royal Caribbean, it has always homeported it’s ships there, rather than in Fort Lauderdale, or even Port Canaveral. It was Norwegian that inaugurated Caribbean fly cruising from Miami in the late sixties, and it has maintained a presence ever since. As such, it is perhaps more indelibly intertwined with Miami than any of it’s rivals.
Both of these vast new ships come in at around the 140,000 ton mark. As such, they represent huge new additions to Miami’s potential revenue stream. While not as large or capacious the pair of Royal Caribbean leviathans just up the road in Fort Lauderdale, these two sparkling new ships nonetheless offer a pair of totally new, fun packed and diverse holiday options.
Good luck to both these great new ladies as they embark on their maiden sailings from Miami.