I would like to suggest that a better solution to the cruise terminal opportunity can be found by “thinking outside the boat.”
There are two types of cruise ships visiting the city: 100-plus day trip stops (by various cruise lines) and 60-plus full cruise turn-around events by Carnival Cruise Lines.
The first type of cruise does not significantly increase traffic and does not require parking. It has only one major need — quick and easy access to the primary historic/tourist areas of the city.
The second type has totally different requirements: 1) easy interstate and street access to and from the terminal, and 2) secure parking for passenger vehicles during the cruise. It does not need access to the historic/tourist areas.
Having worked for Carnival at the terminal, I am aware that a significant majority of Carnival’s arriving passengers drive directly in on the day of the cruise and drive directly home on their return, without utilizing local lodging or visiting local historical/tourist locations.
The current facility (if economically remodeled) meets the need of day trip ships perfectly. It is located at the heart of the old historic/tourism area and can effectively provide access for tour buses, carriage tours, taxis, pedicabs, and walking tours.
An attractive terminal for resident turn-around cruises, located close to an I-26 exit (with enhanced local street connections) and away from tourist area traffic would be the ideal solution.
Thus, thinking “outside the boat” may suggest having two terminals in different locations (at the Columbus Street and Union Pier locations).