PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - The single-largest project in Port Canaveral's history is finished but has never been used because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Terminal 3, which took $155 million to build, was specifically built for Carnival's largest cruise ship, the Mardi Gras. Dubbed the "launch pad," the two-story terminal was ready for passengers in May 2020.
"It’s always hard to see something completed and unused. We can’t wait to get busy with it," John Murray, the Port Canaveral CEO, said.
The terminal is ready to go when cruises pick back up.
Photo backdrops are hung and model rockets pay homage to the Space Coast. New features there include lots of ramps, a separate baggage screening facility, and facial recognition technology for faster passenger processing. It even highlights local artists from hand-painted wood veneer to glasswork in the VIP section.
William Crowe, the Port Canaveral Authority VP of Engineering, said that the pandemic may have delayed filling these 1,800 seats but with 188,000 square feet of space, they are confident that they can accommodate pandemic regulations when cruising returns.
"That gives ample space for passenger queuing, social distancing for specific and targeted medical screening areas as well. We’re looking at that," he told FOX 35. In addition, "the marine berth itself is over 13-hundred feet long so it is a very large berth designed for the largest vessels floating on the high seas today."
The new parking garage for this terminal features E-Pass. The Port Authority said that it was able to speed up its timeline to add the contactless payment option because of the pandemic.
There is still no word on when cruising will return.
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