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New cruise ship terminal ready for grand opening

The new Broadway cruise ship terminal will officially begin service next week with the arrival of the inaugural cruise ship.

Saturday, Dec. 18 will mark the grand opening of the Pavilion on Broadway Pier, which will serve as both a cruise ship terminal and public event center. There will be an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by a dedication from 4 to 6 p.m., when the lights will be officially turned on.

Saturday's open house will offer amusement rides, a travel show, maritime exhibits, music, food and contests.

Some activities will continue on Sunday, with carnival rides operating from 1-5 p.m. The new terminal's grandstand will open at 5 p.m. so the public can enjoy the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, which starts at 5:30 p.m.

The first cruise ship -- the 1,900-passenger Holland America Oosterdam -- is scheduled to arrive Dec. 22.

"We have been waiting a long time for this moment," said Robert "Dukie" Valderrama, chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners. "The new pavilion will serve as a welcome center for the many cruise passengers sailing into or leaving this beautiful city, and locals and visitors alike who may be attending one of the special events or festivals that we envision for the pier and event center."

The Pavilion on Broadway Pier is a $28 million, two-story, 52,000-square-foot terminal, located at the end of Broadway about 400 feet from Harbor Drive just north of the port's current cruise ship terminal.

The Pavilion will be able to accommodate 2,600 passengers and have an area for U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Construction of the cruise ship terminal and event center, which was led by Jaynes Corp. and designed by Bermello Ajamil and Partners Inc., has been built with environmental features like solar panels; low-flow toilets, urinals and faucets; and organic materials in paint, carpets and sealants.

Also, about 75 percent of the waste materials will be recycled.

"This will be the first (new) cruise (ship) terminal built in the world that will be LEED certified or that will be a green terminal in terms of its ability to generate energy and save energy," Luis Ajamil, the project's architect, said previously.

More than 200 workers, ranging from architects to construction workers worked to erect the more than 2.5-million pounds of steel that supports the new terminal.

In addition, cruise ships that will arrive at the new terminal will use shore-side electrical power, resulting in less pollution from a ship's diesel-burning engines while at berth.

The front of the Pavilion on Broadway Pier also has a public art element by New York artist and lighting designer Leni Schwendinger.

At night, the front of the modern steel and glass structure will be lit in shades of greens and pale blues, and feature sand and sea patterns.

By day, the sculptured exterior wall will blend into the building's architecture, with sunlight highlighting the sculpture.

Schwendinger will talk in depth about the artwork at the grand opening celebration beginning at 2:30 p.m. on the Pavilion's second floor.

The Pavilion on Broadway Pier was funded by a $12 million loan from Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL), of which $10 million went directly to the new terminal, and the remaining $2 million went toward improvements of the current cruise ship terminal on B Street.

The rest of the new terminal funds came from the Port's capital development program.

This year, the Port served 152 vessels with 514,775 passengers.

So far, there is approximately 100 cruises scheduled in 2011 and that number is expected to grow, according to Marguerite Elicone, spokesperson for the Port of San Diego.

"We do have a new line, Azamara Cruises, which will begin offering cruises here in January," Elicone said.

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