Port Canaveral Unanimously Approves New 20-year Operating Agreement with Disney Cruise Line

During today’s Port Canaveral Commission Meeting, the board of directors unanimously approved an important and tremendous 20-year Operating Agreement with Disney Cruise Line, paving the way to bring 2 of the new ship builds to the Space Coast in the coming years. The new operating agreement replaces the original agreement that has been in place since 1995.

During the meeting’s CEO report, Captain John Murray presented the following overview of the operating agreement with Disney Cruise Line.

PC DCL Cruise Update May 2019

The overview of the agreement can be reviewed in our previous article.

Disney Cruise Line’s operating agreement guarantees the continuation of a minimum of 150 calls per year. The minimum guarantee will increase to 180 calls in 2023 and to 216 calls in 2024.

Below is a look at annual embarkations per year at Port Canaveral based on our records, hence unofficial. As you can see, the 2024 calls will be similar to what we say in 2014 with a ship dedicated to 3/4-night Bahamian cruises and a ship dedicated to alternating 7-night Caribbean cruises. In 2014, the Disney Magic sailed 3/4-night Bahamian cruises in the early part of the year and offered opposite 7-night Caribbean cruises upon her return from Europe.

DCL Port Canaveral Calls By Year 20190522

Based on the operating agreement with the minimum calls starting in 2024, one scenario could suggests one ship sailing 3/4-night Bahamian voyages, and two ships offering alternating 7-night Eastern/Western Caribbean cruises along with some additional sailings with the potential for calls from some of the other ships in the fleet.

The following is a summary of the meeting highlighting the portions of the meeting discussing the operating agreement. The full meeting can be viewed here.

The contract has been in the works for over year, discussions began between the parties in January 2018 and there have been about 39 meetings between Disney and Port officials. The port is excited to get started on the improvements and feels the terminal changes will be beautiful once finished. Contracts with BEA, the original designers of the Cruise Terminal 8, and Jacobs were both unanimously approved.

PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 1

Cruise Terminal 10 is adjacent to Disney Cruise Terminal 8. If you were standing forward on a Disney Cruise ship, you’d be looking at CT10.Port Canaveral North Cruise Terminals

The renovations to Cruise Terminal 8 include a new nearly 7000 sq. ft. baggage screening area to help expedite screening of luggage coming from the airport.

PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 2

The guest drop off area to accommodate about 24 additional cars and expand the arrival hall by over 4500 sq. ft. providing additional space for passenger screening.

PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 3

Disney will be enlarging the concierge footprint within the terminal by 1214 sq. ft.

PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 4

A new ADA compliant ramp will be built inside the terminal to enable guests to safely reach the first floor baggage pickup area on debarkation days.

PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 5

The plans call for a new jet-way style passenger boarding bridge to be installed along with other marine improvements. The port will discuss the jet-way during the June meeting as the port will need to place an order to ensure it will arrive when needed as part of the renovation project.

PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 6

In addition to an expanded concierge area, the general seating area of the terminal will be expanded to 1000 seats. In prior meetings it was mentioned this will be done by removing a portion of the check-in desks as the cruise line moves to a more expedited check-in process.

PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 7

To allow for additional cars, the drop off area will be extended 541 feet.
PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 8

Finally, Disney’s cruise terminal will have an all new look once finished. The key here is once finished as the port anticipates an 8 to 9 week shutdown  of there terminal beginning approximately between April to early-June 2020 to allow construction crew to do more obtrusive work in front of the terminal. During this time, Disney Cruise line will utilize Cruise Terminal 10.

PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 15

The new operating agreement provides Disney Cruise Line preferred berthing at Cruise Terminal 10 for a third homeport ship. Since this is a secondary terminal for Disney shared with another cruise line the terminal will also be getting some minor improvements staring with work around the entrance area. Plans for CT10 call for a dynamic terminal to allow for it to have a Disney look one day and the next day a Norwegian Cruise terminal feel based on the ship in port.
PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 9Similar to CT8, CT10 will also feature a dedicated concierge area for 307 guests denoted by A15 on the slide below. With some fuzzy math based on 5 passengers per stateroom, this would suggest about 60 concierge staterooms are potentially planned for the new ships. For comparison, the Dream and Fantasy have about 40 concierge staterooms.
PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 10The general seating area (A8) will be expanded to 720 seats.
PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 11As a result of the additional concierge area, the general boarding area will be moved around to give concierge a dedicated boarding area (A16).
PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 12Additional waterside work is planned with an additional marine dolphin to accommodate the new Disney Cruise Line vessel. This will require additional conversations with the pilots and approvals based on current boundaries as the plans place the dolphin within the turning basin.
PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 13A new dockside restroom will be created for exclusive use by the dock workers.
PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 14Over the course of the 20-year agreement the port will recover $46,480,000 from Disney through a capital cost recovery charge estimated at $3.15 per passenger movement during the initial term of the agreement.
PC DCL CT8 CT10 Captial Update May 2019 16

Port Canaveral issued the following press release after the meeting adjourned.

Canaveral Port Authority and Disney Cruise Line Reach New 20-Year Agreement for Expanded Cruise Operations and Arrival of New Disney Ships
Port Canaveral will be homeport for two of Disney Cruise Line’s new class vessels

PC DCL CT8 Facade Rendering

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (May 22, 2019) – The Canaveral Port Authority and Disney Cruise Line have reached a new 20-year agreement to expand operations and make Port Canaveral home for two of Disney Cruise Line’s three new ships.

The new operating agreement will begin June 1, 2019, and replaces an existing Marine Terminal Agreement set to expire on December 31, 2027. It provides a 20-year primary term with two additional five-year renewals. Initially, the call guarantee remains at 150 calls, but increases to 180 calls in 2023 and up to 216 calls in 2024 through the remainder of the 20-year term.

“For decades we have worked with Disney Cruise Line building a partnership based on our mutual commitment to excellence. We are tremendously proud of our joint success and looking ahead at growing an even more exciting future with Disney Cruise Line and Port Canaveral as the homeport for its newest class of vessels,” said Canaveral Port Authority Port Director and CEO Capt. John Murray.

The terms of the new agreement continue Disney’s exclusive operation from Cruise Terminal 8, in addition to providing preferential use of the Port’s Cruise Terminal 10 for a third homeport vessel.  The planned waterside and landside improvements to Cruise Terminal 8 and Cruise Terminal 10 will accommodate the growth of Disney’s fleet of cruise ships. The new ships are expected to be delivered in 2021, 2022 and 2023, with two of them homeporting in Port Canaveral for at least their first five years of operation.

“Port Canaveral was the inaugural homeport for our first ship and has served as a gateway for magical cruise vacations ever since,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line. “We value our longstanding relationship with Port Canaveral and look forward to expanding our presence there as we introduce new ships and new family cruise experiences.”

PC DCL CT8 Arrival Hall Entrance Rendering

The agreement between Disney Cruise Line and Port Canaveral continues a relationship that began with negotiations in 1994 to build the first Disney cruise terminal at Port Canaveral.  All four of Disney’s cruise ships in its existing fleet made Port Canaveral their home port when they debuted.  The cruise line’s two biggest ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, are currently homeported at Port Canaveral year-round, while the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder rotate home ports.

Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the terms of the new agreement at the regularly scheduled Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, May 22, 2019.

June’s meeting will offer some more insight on the terminal renovations as they will discuss the purchasing of the jet-way to enhance passenger boarding at CT8.

2 Replies to “Port Canaveral Unanimously Approves New 20-year Operating Agreement with Disney Cruise Line”

  1. wiley

    sadly, the west coast ports always gets screwed with the oldest ships (from most any cruise line as well) & we’re home to the original Disneyland

  2. John R

    Having spent 3 nights on the Dream, 7 on the Fantasy, 12 on the Wonder and 7 on the Magic, I’m happy to have the smaller ships in our back yard (but LA/Long Beach would be better).


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