September 18, 2021
PortMiami is moving ahead with $280 million in projects

Virgin's adult-only Scarlet Laddy will dock at a new terminal at PortMiami.

Economic Backbone - Transportation

PortMiami is moving ahead with $280 million in projects

Amy Martinez | 4/28/2021

Amid uncertainty over when the cruise industry will rebound from COVID-19, work is underway on expanding and upgrading cruise facilities at PortMiami. Last year, Miami-Dade County officials approved nearly $280 million in construction contracts for two new cruise terminal projects.

At the west end of Dodge Island, contractor Suffolk is building a 100,000-sq.-ft. terminal for Virgin Voyages. The terminal will be home to Virgin’s Scarlet Lady, an adults-only ship with a tattoo parlor and nightclub, among other amenities.

Alexis Leal, chief operations officer for Suffolk’s Miami office, says the terminal’s roof “has a uniquely designed hammered edge and curved columns that, in essence, resemble coconut palms.”

The county originally planned to spend about $179 million on the project, but in the wake of the financial toll of the pandemic, was able to negotiate nearly $21 million in cost reductions.

The project now is estimated to cost the county $158.6 million. Virgin will use passenger fees to pay back the cost over 30 years. Leal says the terminal is on track to open this fall. “Everybody is still bullish on the industry,” he says. “We’re off and running with a very aggressive schedule to make sure the Scarlet Lady has a place to berth come October.”

County officials also approved a scaled-back contract for an upgraded Carnival Cruise Line terminal. At $120 million, the project’s budget is 38% below the original estimated cost of $195 million. Under the deal, Carnival will pay back the county through passenger fees over 20 years.

The overhauled terminal, which is to open next year, will be home to the Carnival Celebration, a new ship powered by liquefied natural gas.


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