PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. —  Port Canaveral broke ground Monday on the largest and most expensive project in the port's history.

  • New CT-3 Terminal to cost $163 million
  • Terminal will be named "The Launch Pad"
  • Project scheduled to be completed by 2020

The new Cruise Terminal 3, which is expected to cost $163 million, is being built on the site of the old cruise Terminal 3, just west of Jetty Park.

Officials broke ground Monday on the two story, 187,000-square-foot facility and nearby six-story, 692,000-square-foot parking garage.

CT-3 will be named "The Launch Pad," and it's a partnership with Carnival Cruise Line, whose largest, new ship will be home-ported there. It will feature space-related displays inspired by NASA's Kennedy Space Center and the port's role in commercial space, with flown rocket boosters and capsules returning from sea into the port.

The Taylors, from Illinois, are longtime Brevard County snowbirds. They said they're amazed how the Port Canaveral area seems to change each year they visit.

"It's mind-boggling how much it's grown," Don Taylor said.

Carnival's largest cruise ship, the Mardi Gras, will begin sailing from CT-3 late next year. The innovative ship is powered by liquified natural gas and boasts the first roller coaster at sea.

"We are proud to be providing cruise guests with a first-class facility from which they can embark and disembark quickly, comfortably, and most importantly, thanks to our port security and Sheriff's teams, safely," said Commissioner Wayne Justice of Canaveral Port Authority.

CT-3 is set to be finished in May 2020 — in time for the Mardi Gras to begin year-round, week-long Caribbean cruises that October. Carnival began operations at Port Canaveral with the ship of the same name on the same spot.