Cruise News Daily Newsfile
November 20, 2009

Port Everglades' Terminal 18 Begins Regular Operation

Oasis of the Seas' first passengers utilized Port Everglades new Terminal 18 yesterday. The building was enlarged and tripled in space, essentially becoming a new purpose-built facility for Oasis, although it will be utilized for other vessels on weekdays when the Oasis-class ships are not in port. At 240,000 square feet, Terminal 18 is the largest cruise terminal in the world that services just a single vessel at a time. (There are larger terminals, but they are built to handle multiple cruise ships simultaneously.)

The terminal completely separates departing and arriving passengers. As user-friendly as the facility is, the idea is for passengers to spend as little time in the terminal as possible. There is also a separation of vehicles (private cars, taxis, buses) as they approach the terminal to reduce traffic congestion. The terminal also has its own 1,000-vehicle parking lot. There is electronic signage everywhere that will direct passengers and even give them multiple messages. Some of the first signs will be noticed right at the curb where passengers' get out of their cars to drop off their luggage (top photo).

Security screening takes place as soon as they enter the terminal. There are multiple stations (middle photo above) to handle the flow of passengers as they trickle into the terminal and eliminate the bottleneck that often occurs if passengers are screened after they have checked in. Once past security, processing will go quickly at the 90 check-in positions which surround the central atrium. Passengers are queued up in categories, and with the large number of positions, any line will move quickly. 

The back of the check-in positions face the central atrium which is the site of the terminal's major artwork, a 3,000-square-foot terrazzo floor. The work was commissioned from renowned international artist Michele Oka Doner. She says the colors were inspired by the colors of the ocean, and the design evokes undulating ocean waves. The bronze pieces (shown in the insets) represent oceanic seeds that have drifted with the currents. The globe represents the scope of the Oasis-class ships' travels. Embedded within the floor and scattered within the blank spaces are real pieces of mother-of-pearl.

Above is the 4,000-square-foot skylight which helps Terminal 18 be energy-efficient by supplying much of the lighting in the 138,000-square-foot embarkation hall. 

Once passengers have checked in, they will go upstairs to the 3,000-seat lounge (on average, Oasis-class ships will carry 6,000 passengers) to wait for boarding to begin. (The plan is that they won't be there long.) The lounges are supplied with televisions and complimentary wi-fi. 

The uninspired photo at the lower right is there to show the short distance passengers will have to go to board the ship. Terminal 18 is equipped with custom-built state-of-the-art gangways that we showed you earlier. These can be rolled the entire length of the building. The door shown opens directly into the lounge shown. During the boarding phase, the gangway is positioning directly across from the door, so, unlike many terminals, there is only a short distance to go to board the ship. 

For disembarkation, the gangways are rolled to the position that will be directly across from the 102,000-square-foot disembarkation facility, so again, the distance to walk will be minimized. That facility is also two stories, and includes the latest in baggage delivery systems, and 22 booths for customs inspectors to quickly process arriving passengers. Again, arriving passengers are completely separated from departing passengers even as they leave the terminal; vehicles to pick them up are separated from those dropping-off departing passengers.

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