The two passenger terminals were at full capacity on January 21, 1964, with four liners in port. Above, from left to right: Caronia has arrived from the U.K. and departs to New York; Carmania arrived January 18 and departs on a Caribbean cruise. Queen of Bermuda arrived from a Caribbean cruise and departs January 22 on another; Santa Paula arrived from the Caribbean and sails mid-day to New York.
Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood, Florida, opened for cargo business in 1928 and welcomed its first passenger ships in 1931 when the United Fruit Company Talamanca and Pastores called on their voyages between New York and Central America. The port received only occasional cruise visits in the 1930's by several well-known liners such as the Cunard Caledonia, Panama Pacific Colombia, Canadian Pacific Duchess of Richmond and Holland America Volendam. Through most of the 1940's, passenger service was interrupted by World War II and its aftermath.
The first regular passenger service commenced in October 1956 when the Portuguese flagship Santa Maria opened a new route from Lisbon to Port Everglades via Spain, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Venezuela, Curacao and Puerto Rico. In 1958, a total of 14,872 passengers were handled by the port, all at the Pier 4 Terminal (present site of Cruise Terminal 2).
By the start of the 1960s, the introduction of jet aircraft threatened the end of the ocean liner business. Shipowners soon deployed their fleets on cruises in the winter off-season, and Port Everglades was a natural home port within easy reach of sought-after sunny destinations in the West Indies and Latin America. A second passenger terminal (now a container facility) opened at Pier 3 in 1960, and 57,014 passengers passed through the port. A third terminal also at Pier 3 (present site of Cruise Terminal 18), opened in 1964 and the passenger count nearly doubled to 105,469.
As of 2019, Port Everglades had eight cruise terminals capable of handling the largest cruise ships. It is one of the top three cruise ports in the world (the others being Miami and Port Canaveral) and peaks at over 50,000 passengers in a single day. Annual passenger count is now about four million.
Many of the ports of call were as popular back then as now .. Nassau, St. Thomas, Barbados, Martinique, Curacao .. although two that were prominent have lost popularity (Santo Domingo and Port-au-Prince). Notably Grand Cayman and Cozumel were not found in any itinerary until the 1970s and 80s. The attractions of a cruise were the same as now .. food, service, relaxation, charming ports, entertainment and fun.
For a look at these and over 100 other ocean liners in service during 1966, see our affiliated website, LastOceanLiners.com.
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