MIAMI - The Port of Miami's slogan is that it's the cruise capital of the world, and six new ships will call it home in the next few weeks.
"It's not a slogan. It is the real thing," said Frank Del Rio, the CEO of Prestige Cruise Holdings.
Number one -- it is the appeal of Miami as an international world class destination. Proximity to the international airport in Miami, and, of course, the view that just can't be beat," said Del Rio. "South beach is just five minutes away. This is where our customers wanted to come to."
The six ships -- the Regent Seven Seas Navigator and Mariner, the Carnival Breeze, the Oceania Riviera, the Celebrity Reflection and the Disney Cruises Wonder -- will arrive in the next eight weeks. For Disney, Wonder will be there first ship at a South Florida port.
Some of the ships, like the Navigator, were refurbished. The Navigator's suites were redone. There is new furniture and artwork throughout the ship and an espresso maker in 70 percent of the suites.
The Carnival Breeze will be the largest. The 3,690 passenger vessel is loaded with entertainment options, including a full water park with a 312 foot water slide and an outdoor theatre with a 270-square-foot LED screen.
But big ships need a big port, and the new port tunnel makes the Port of Miami an attractive option.
"It says that Miami is the number one cruise port in the world. This is where we all want to come to. The premier vessels in the world are here and this is where we want to be," said Del Rio.
The cruise industry brings an estimated $3 billion into the South Florida economy annually.
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