JACKSONVILLE, Fla – The first two cruise ships chugged into port Wednesday to provide floating hotels for Super Bowl (search) visitors who otherwise would have no place to stay.
Jacksonville, the smallest market to ever host a Super Bowl, rented five ships for $11.5 million and is parking them along the St. Johns Rivers (search) for five days to help with hotel rooms.
The cruise ships offer more than 3,600 rooms, ranging from the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator (490 passengers) to the Carnival Miracle (2,680 passengers). That gives the city the minimum 17,500 hotel rooms that the NFL requires to host the Super Bowl. Rooms aboard the ships cost $300 to $400 a night.
Two privately chartered cruise ships round out the Super Bowl fleet.
A 32,000-square-foot temporary passenger terminal, complete with a grocery story and rum bar, was built at a working cargo port to bolster the accommodations.
Cruise ships were used as floating hotels at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
For complete Super Bowl coverage, go to FoxSports.com.