Royal Caribbean announced the changes late Wednesday, a move to take advantage of the growing cruise business in Asia.
- Pictures: Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas
- More big ships calling Florida home year-round
- MSC Cruises orders two more cruise ships
- Pictures: New and soon-to-arrive cruise ships
- Pictures: Cruise ship godmothers
- Pictures: Unique cruise ship features
See more photos »
- Video: Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas innovations
- Tourism and Leisure
- Cruise Line Ports
See more topics »
Until now, Royal Caribbean had said it would bring Anthem of the Seas here, part of the Quantum class of ships that features more advanced staterooms, unparalleled dining and entertainment such bumper cars, roller skating and modified skydiving.
Royal Caribbean now will base that 4,180-passenger ship in Cape Liberty, N.J., where it will replace sister ship Quantum of the Seas, which will move to China.
What about Port Everglades? It will get a smaller, older ship: the refurbished, 3,114-passenger Navigator of the Seas, which will sail for Caribbean cruises starting in winter 2015.
The ship is still an addition for Port Everglades, and Royal Caribbean stressed that it remains committed here. The cruise line bases six other ships at Port Everglades at various times of the year.
But reaction in the cruise industry was mixed Thursday — some saying the change was unimportant and others contending that Royal Caribbean sidestepped Fort Lauderdale.
Steve Cernak, Port Everglades chief executive and port director, said he understands that plans change.
"China is an emerging market for cruise travel, and the industry will benefit from these new travelers experiencing the excitement and value of cruising," Cernak said.
Brad Tolkin, co-chairman of World Travel Holdings, said "South Florida is blessed with a phenomenal cruise product and gets its large share of new cruise ships." He noted that Princess Cruises will bring the new 3,560-passenger Regal Princess to Port Everglades in November.
Michelle Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners-American Express in Coral Springs, said the Quantum-class ships — even if based elsewhere — will create buzz for Royal Caribbean's ships at Port Everglades.
But Stewart Chiron, CEO of Miami-based CruiseGuy.com, said South Florida ports will have to wait longer to see the new and innovative class of cruise ship.
"Many people around the U.S. were excited about sailing on a Quantum-class ship on a seven-night Caribbean sailing sooner rather than later," he said.