As cruise ships get bigger, so the facilities on shore to handle thousands of passengers embarking and disembarking have had to grow too.
Southampton, voted favourite turnover port in the world at last week’s cruise convention in Miami, is about to unveil its new £19 million Ocean Terminal on May 9 with the arrival of P&O’s Oceana.
For the first time in many years, members of the public will have access to a viewing gallery to get close to the giant cruise ships and to wave farewell to friends and family.
On the other side of the Atlantic, at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, a vast terminal building is being developed at a cost of £55 million to handle passengers on the biggest cruise ship in the world, Oasis of the Seas.
The building will have to cope with 5,500 passengers – and their luggage – being off-loaded and another 5,500 boarding in the space of about 10 hours.
The port authorities operating the terminal to service Royal Caribbean’s ship say they aim to have passengers boarded within 15 minutes of stepping out of their taxis. If that’s the case, why are they bothering to provide seating for 3,000 and a children’s play area?