Port Everglades broke its own world record, again, when more than 52,000 cruise guests sailed in and out of Port Everglades on Saturday, March 20, 2010, at the start of the spring vacation season.  The last world record was set on Saturday, January 3, 2009, when 49,234 passengers sailed in and out of the South Florida cruise port in a single day.  

"We have come close to breaking our own world record several times this year alone since the arrival of Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas in November, but on March 20 we far exceeded those numbers with nine ships sailing on the same day and at least 52,000 cruise guests either anticipating or returning from a sunny spring vacation," said Port Everglades Director Phil Allen.  "The good news is that we have had a lot of practice at handling such a high volume of travelers and were up to the challenge.  As our motto says, ‘We're ready.  Bring it on.' "

Nine cruise ships sailed from Port Everglades on March 20, including Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Miracle, Costa Cruises Costa Atlantica, Discovery Cruise Line's Discovery Sun, Holland America Line's Eurodam,  MSC Cruises' MSC Poesia, Princess Cruises' Crown Princess and Ruby Princess, and Royal Caribbean International's Independence of the Seas and the world's largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas.  

Interestingly, the previous record, set in January 2009 with 49,234 passengers, was accomplished with a total of 11 cruise ships, but they were smaller ships than are calling at Port Everglades this year.

If lined up bow to stern, the nine cruise ships docked at Port Everglades on March 20 would stretch 8,233 feet or the equivalent of nearly 27 football fields.  That is enough cruise passengers to fill between 107 and 130 747-jumbo jets or all the seats at the BankAtlantic Center about three times for a concert or a Florida Panthers hockey game.

 "Busy cruise days at Port Everglades illustrate the economic benefits that the cruise industry brings to our community and to the state of Florida," says Broward County Mayor Ken Keechl. "The cruise industry at Port Everglades is a major contributor to the economic health of our tourism-based community, accounting for thousands of jobs and contributing to local economic activity through personal income and tax dollars.  Broward County is fortunate to have one of the world's most popular and busiest cruise ports."

Broward County's Port Everglades is poised to become the world's top cruise port by 2011 with Royal Caribbean International homeporting the second of its two new 5,400-passenger Oasis-class vessels at the South Florida cruise port.  Each Oasis-class ship is projected to generate approximately 584,000 passenger movements annually at Port Everglades.  The first of the 220,000-gross-registered-ton ships, Oasis of the Seas, began sailing year-round from Port Everglades in December 2009, and the second sister-ship, Allure of the Seas, is slated to begin year-round sailings in fall 2010.  Fourteen major cruise lines sail from the South Florida seaport.  The Port's ever-expanding fleet of cruise ships provides guests with an array of cruise vacation choices from the sunny Greater Fort Lauderdale area including everything from sampler-size day cruises to around-the-world cruises. Details on the latest cruise offerings are available on the Internet at www.porteverglades.net .

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EDITORS NOTE: The final tally for March 20, 2010, will not be available until the end of the week.