Port Canaveral’s new cruise ship terminal remains unused

   December 31, 2020 ,   Cruise Industry

Port Canaveral's new USD 155 million Cruise Terminal 3 (CT3) is ready for visitors but no one is coming. The 188,000-ft2 passenger terminal was completed in May and became fully operational in June 2020.

CT3 was supposed to be used this year for CCL-Carnival Cruise Line, including for the Mardi Gras (2020-newbuild and fleet's largest). The liner also would be the first homeported in North America LNG-powered (by liquefied natural gas).

Those plans have been delayed by the pandemic.

Multiday cruise vessels have not sailed from US ports since March 2020, after the CDC issued its no-sail order. The order was lifted on October 30, but cruise companies now are working to meet complex CDC requirements before they resume sailing. Cruise companies with ships based at Port Canaveral (Orlando, Florida) do not plan to begin sailing until at least March 2021.

The cruise port is making semiannual debt payments as part of the USD 112 million in loans it took out to help pay for the construction of the terminal.

According to port officials, the port was using money from the cruises and other revenue it had accumulated in the past to meet the debt payment, and also was paying back the debt ahead of schedule in order to reduce interest expenses.

Under terms of a deal announced back in 2018, Carnival Cruise Line will pay US$50 million to Port Canaveral via a special fee named "capital cost recovery charge," to help pay for Terminal 3. The Port will charge the cruise line for every passenger getting on/off a ship at Port Canaveral until the USD 50 million total is reached.