Among those improvements will be Wi-Fi accessibility and charging stations in the terminal, according to Vice President of Port Operations Juan Trescastro.
On May 27, the cruise line announced that it had entered into an agreement with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for the cruise company to develop the next phase of Cape Liberty Cruise Port. The project will include the construction of a new guest terminal, with 125,000 square feet of check-in, customs and immigration, luggage processing space, a 900-car parking structure, and pier improvements.
The improved terminal will make the boarding process more efficient, Trescastro said, including guest processing, luggage handling, and loading of vessels.
“There will be an improved check-in area, escalator and elevators, and luggage processing area,” Trescastro said. “There will also be a gangways elevator to deck five, the entrance of the ship.”
The renovations will leave the terminal 100 percent in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
The new facilities will be erected adjacent to the current terminal used to welcome guests and will accommodate the cruise company’s ships, including the next-generation Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, which will begin service at Cape Liberty in November of this year and next year, respectively.
Ground was broken one month ago, and the project is on time and on budget. The new terminal is scheduled to be completed in November.
When in place, the renovations will provide for a 20-to 25 percent increase in passenger volume.
“We are glad to work with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to develop world-class facilities for vacationers to embark” from, said Adam Goldstein, president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Trescastro said the $55 million project shows the cruise line’s commitment to the city and area.
“Bayonne's been a great community,” he said. “It has been for 10 years for us. It’s our community. It’s where we decided to put our roots. We could have gone anywhere to invest the money. We’re going to stay, we have a lot of local folks, and we're bringing a lot to the local community. I love Bayonne; it’s a great place."
The line has a 35-year commitment to the port, according to Trescastro, including a deal just extended by five years.
City officials were equally positive about the latest good news from the company.
“The city of Bayonne welcomes the expansion of Royal Caribbean’s Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal, along with the related construction and permanent jobs, enhanced tourism, and commerce that will be created as Royal Caribbean expands their home port at the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor,” said Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith. “Their plans fully complement our plans to develop Harbor Station South as a full service retail and commercial destination with flagship hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues close to the port.”
The port is the year-round home of Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas, and seasonally for Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Summit. The port will welcome the Quantum of the Seas in November for its inaugural season sailing to the Caribbean and Bahamas. In winter 2015, Cape Liberty will be the homeport for Quantum of the Seas’ sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, after it completes its inaugural season in Europe.
The company also cruises to a number of other locales from Bayonne, including St. Thomas, Martinique, Haiti, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Since the improvements will add more volume and more flexibility, they will allow for other opportunities.
“What it does is make the port viable for a second cruise line,” Trescastro said. “The Port Authority is working on attracting another cruise line.”