Ft. Lauderdale, FL
By Arlene Satchell
Interior improvements include 50 additional check-in counters, new restrooms, improved lighting and acoustics, new elevators and escalators, and a high-efficiency air conditioning system. Outside, travelers will find new covered ground transportation areas and 172 additional parking spaces.
Travelers now have another updated terminal to cruise through at Port Everglades.
On Thursday, port, government and tourism leaders celebrated the completion of a $24 million remodeling of Cruise Terminal 4 — a project that Broward County Vice Mayor Martin Kiar said transformed the terminal from “dark and dreary” to “bright and beautiful.”
It’s the sixth cruise terminal in five years to receive significant overhauls, and more improvements are on tap.
In May, the port will begin a 250-foot extension of the terminal’s adjacent Slip 2 to accommodate larger cruise ships, and that project is expected to be finished by the end of 2016.
“We continuously re-invest in our facilities to keep pace with today’s customer-service driven cruise industry, which wants to provide [cruise ship] guests with a seamless boarding experience,” Port Everglades Director and Chief Executive Steve Cernak said Thursday. “Our goal when we reconfigured Cruise Terminal 4’s traffic pattern and updated the interior, was to make it easier for the cruise lines to process passengers while providing guests with a bright, comfortable experience.”
Many people who experienced Cruise Terminal 4 before its upgrades said: mission accomplished.
Interior improvements to the 100,405-square-foot terminal included 50 additional check-in counters, new restrooms, improved lighting and acoustics, new elevators and escalators, and a high-efficiency air conditioning system.
The port also added a second loading bridge at the terminal to expedite passenger embarkation and debarkation, which should be installed over the next two weeks, officials said.
On the exterior, travelers will find new covered ground transportation areas for passenger pick-up and drop-off and 172 additional parking spaces. Port officials also separated vehicle entrances to Terminal 2 and Terminal 4 to reduce traffic congestion in that area.
“Port Everglades has really done a wonderful job of taking an existing terminal and making it much better and much more comfortable for cruise guests,” said Ellen Curtiss, manager of Port Everglades Shore Operations for Holland America Line. “Being able to come into a modern, beautiful and well-designed terminal like this makes a very good first impression on guests.”
The event Thursday included a Henry Flagler impersonator as master of ceremonies. Two visitors clad in period clothing accompanied him as part of the port’s celebration of Broward’s 100th centennial and its commitment of the arts.
In coming weeks, new “way-finding” artwork created by Miami artist Xavier Cortada will be installed in the terminal to help guide the flow of guests from check-in to boarding. The 4- by 40-foot ceramic mural called “Pelican Path” is the artist’s interpretation of the ripples that are created when the bird’s webbed feet slap the water as it takes flight.
In explaining the artwork’s connection to Port Everglades, Cortada said he was trying to have visitors emulate the path of a pelican. “It’s like a passenger going on a cruise ship as it leaves the ripples behind in its wake,” he said. “Or the passenger getting on a ship and leaving their problems behind.”
Looking ahead, Port Everglades sees more room for improvement to further growth.
In its 2014 Master/Vision Plan update, port officials identified $1.6 billion in capital improvements through 2033 that are aimed at improving its cruise, cargo and petroleum businesses.
Future improvements include the expansion and upgrades of cruise terminals 25 and 29 that will add baggage handling and transportation efficiencies among other enhancements.
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