Disney Cruise Line Considering a “Competing Port” to PortMiami for Long-Term Berthing Agreement

Miami-Dade County recently published a preliminary agenda for the February 17, 2021 Board of County Commissioners meeting. Scheduled on the agenda is a resolution approving and authorizing the execution of an amended and restated development, management, and lease agreement with MSC for the planned cruise terminal project for births 8 and 9 with berth 10 available for another cruise line. This project has been progressing with Disney Cruise Line as the other cruise line sharing the terminal utilizing berth 10. However, the latest out of Miami-Dade County suggests this is may no longer be a done deal.

PortMiami MSC Cruise Terminal Rendering 1

On July 21, 2020, the board approved a resolution authorizing a ground lease between the county and MSC allowing both parties to move forward with the terminal project on an adjusted timeline. Additionally, the amendment included language to incorporate facilities within the shared terminal for use by Disney Cruise Line.

The latest resolution for the MSC Terminal project, on the February 17th agenda, casts some doubt Disney Cruise Line is still fully onboard as the other cruise line sharing the terminal space with MSC. The key statement can be found on page 10 and 11 of the proposed resolution which details the potential primary third-party cruise line preferential birthing rights at the terminal and there is an update pertaining to Disney Cruise Line:

As contemplated in the item that this Board approved through Resolution No. R-728-20, the Port has continued to have discussions with Disney to potentially serve as the primary non-MSC cruise line using the Shared Terminal. Disney has recently advised the Port that, prior to entering into a preferential berthing rights agreement with the County, it will conduct due diligence with a competing port regarding a long-term berthing agreement at that port. Disney, however, has not foreclosed the possibility of an agreement with the County for the use of the Shared Terminal and Berth 10. 

PortMiami MSC DCL Other Port 20210217 Meeting

According to the resolution, before Disney Cruise Line enters into a new preferential berthing rights agreement with Miami-Dade County, they will contemplate a long-term berthing agreement at a competing port. The following is complete speculation, but since Disney’s home port is Port Canaveral, that really narrows the list of competing ports to PortMiami down to one – Port Everglades Cruiseport roughly 30 miles north in Fort Lauderdale. Currently, if my information is correct, Disney’s berthing agreement with PortMiami is through April 2024. Only time will tell which way Disney Cruise Line plans to proceed, as far as looking at competing port, this could be a negotiation tactic to get a better deal at PortMiami.

9 Replies to “Disney Cruise Line Considering a “Competing Port” to PortMiami for Long-Term Berthing Agreement”

  1. Chris L

    I can see Disneys standpoint. On 1 hand, they’ve been handcuffed by covid, so there being diligent in their funding of projects. At the same time, Disney would want to control as much of if not all of their terminal, so using PE, as the competing port, would help them possibly negotiate a stand alone terminal, as was the original plan pre covid. The only other potential competing ports could be Jax or Tampa. Tampa though may limit Disneys options to the Magic class though.

  2. Castaway

    I would love to see Disney quit sailing out Miami altogether. My family did one cruise out of that port and while the Disney experience was wonderful (as expected), we have sworn that we will never travel back to the Miami area again for any reason. Every single person we encountered working the hospitality industry there was angry, nasty, and downright abrasive. Hotel clerks, airport counter staff, rental car staff, everyone. And no, it wasn’t us. LOL. When I checked us in to our major name-brand hotel, the desk clerk straight up told me “We have breakfast starting at 6 am, but honestly, it’s easier for us if people don’t come to it.” That’s a direct quote. SMH

  3. Chris L.

    Probably not. When you look at the bigger picture, DCL isn’t leaving the Miami area. When you look at the Bahamain and Florida foot prints, CC is roughly 220 miles from PC Lighthouse point. Is a similar distance to Miami. This is me but I’m thinking LHP is going to be the Miami version of CC. And maybe an ultimate double dip from either port. Disney long term plans prior to the shutdown, was at least 3 ships in PC at least 2 in Miami, leaving the Magic and Wonder to continue European, Alaskan, and Mexico cruises. A lot of that was thrown thru a loop due to the shutdown and new build time frames. The last new build if I remember correctly is now 2025, from 2023. So all of the original contracts with Miami, and PC are probably being or have been rewritten due to lack of ships. Now, Disney is nothing if not shrewed. What I think there doing is leveraging the situation with Miami, to get a new terminal, and rearrange the time frames. Looking at it that way, Disney could go to Port Everglades,, get a basic plan. and take that to Miami and say,, what have you got Miami? Miami could build Disney there own terminal similar to what they did in PC, with a long term agreement. Or worse case scenario, move operations to PE, which isn’t that far from Miami. Were only talking about an hour sailing time difference give or take which still puts LHP in reach.

  4. John

    I respectfully disagree with your reply …The reason I said my comment was because the port of Galveston has been trying to get Disney commit to more turns for some time. From my understanding that these talks were also regarding possible year round turns. The discussions were happening the same time port of Miami was in talks for a permanent DCL port. So yes Miami and Galveston are competing ports,….but I agree with you that it most likely is another Florida port.


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