Florida Cruise Ports: Your Full Overview and Guide

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Among the Florida cruise ports across the state, passengers can enjoy a wide range of benefits, adventures and fun discoveries. Six of these destinations serve as homeports for a number of cruise lines and the seventh (Key West) remains a top port of call for many ships and itineraries.

Each of the cruise ports in Florida has modern, up-to-date facilities with a variety of amenities, creating a comfortable and convenient process to embark and disembark. And they each have their own “personality” with unique attributes and opportunities for visitors to enjoy.

Some are massive in scope and scale, while others are surprisingly small – one, single berth! Each prioritizes comfort and convenience for passengers with ample seating, ADA-compliant amenities, parking facilities, and helpful staff members ready to answer questions and offer assistance where needed.

All these cruise ports in Florida are easily accessible from major airports, interstates, and even rail transportation.

Cruise Ports in Florida

There are seven cruise ports in Florida, including PortMiami, Port Canaveral, Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay, JAXPORT, and Port of Palm Beach. There is also a port in Key West, but this is mainly used for cruise ship calls rather than a homeport.

Below are the main points and basic information about each of these cruise ports in Florida, interspersed with helpful hints and insider tips on “must-see and do” items at each port, which cruise lines sail from there, and anything else to make your cruise departure or arrival as smooth as possible.


Often called the “Cruise Capital of the World,” Port of Miami is known as the largest and busiest port on the planet to come aboard for a vacation at sea. This will likely be your homeport if your itinerary carries you to Mexico, the Bahamas, or various Caribbean destinations.

Cruise Lines that Operate to or from Port of Miami:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Holland America Line
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Seabourn

Located with a view of the Miami skyline from Biscayne Bay, the hugely popular Florida cruise port welcomed over 7 million passengers for the 2023 fiscal year, a 6.7% increase compared to 2019.

Travel options to reach your ship are numerous – shuttle services from the airport, rideshares, public transportation and personal vehicles (with plenty of parking available).

Traveling from Miami International Airport to PortMiami takes up to around 20 minutes, depending on the traffic (especially in downtown Miami), and the distance is just over 8 miles. A taxi can cost up to $33.

Of all the cruise ports in Florida, this one sets the standard for state-of-the-art infrastructure, bringing comfort and convenience to passengers. Additionally, environmental sustainability guides many of the improvements and plans moving forward.

Cruise Ships at PortMiami, Florida
Cruise Ships at PortMiami, Florida (Photo Credit: Francisco Blanco)

For example, several of the cruise lines’ terminals allow docking ships to “plug in” to what is called the “largest shore power system in the world.” This means turning off the engines, thereby reducing emissions and noise!

Worth Reading: Miami Cruise Port Parking – Where to Park Guide

Arrive early and explore this vibrant city renowned for its nightlife, beaches, culture, sightseeing, and food scenes. Start your party on Ocean Drive; relax at the famous South Beach; immerse in the sights, sounds and tastes of Cuba in Little Havanna; or, take a guided tour for an overview of this exciting city.

Port Canaveral

Like other cruise ports in Florida, Port Canaveral embraces the need for stewardship of the fragile ecosystems where ships travel. This is one of the many reasons it continues to earn awards like “Best Cruise Homeport in the U.S.” with Cruise Hive readers. What began as a naval and cargo port 60 years ago now serves over five million cruise ship passengers across more than 900 cruise ship calls per year.

Cruise Lines that operate to or from Port Canaveral:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Marella Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Costa Cruises
  • Cunard Line

The port has six terminals, all easily navigable thanks to clear signage. You will have no trouble locating your ship’s line in the midst of the busiest cruise port in the world.

Insider tip: If there is time, visit the port attraction known as Exploration Tower. It is a multi-story structure (that looks like a sail) with interesting exhibits about the port and THE best views of the area.

Port Canaveral
Photo Credit: Canaveral Port Authority

You may also want to take a “day” trip to the offshore waters on a casino cruise. Guests heading there for a cruise should also visit the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, only a 21-minute drive north of the port. The world-famous Walt Disney World and its theme parks in Orlando are just 58 miles away.

You might want to know that the closest airport to Port Canaveral is Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is approximately 73 Km (45 miles) and takes around 43 minutes to drive to the port.

Worth Reading: Port Canaveral Cruise Parking – What You Need to Know

Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises all have homeported ships at the port. Port Everglades also receives more than 100 port-of-call dockings from other cruise lines such as Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and more.

Vacationers set sail to more than 50 destinations located throughout the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. While in this area of the state, add a trip to nearby Disney World (one hour away), Cocoa Beach, or the Kennedy Space Flight Center before or after your cruise.

Port Everglades

While embarking and disembarking on a cruise vacation can be a hectic and hurried endeavor, Port Everglades offers a different experience. Passengers at this Florida cruise port discover that they have a reason to slow down, look around and explore the surroundings. The reason: art, and lots of it!

Cruise lines that operate to or from Port Everglades:

  • Princess Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Holland America Line
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Silversea
  • Viking Cruises

Unique amongst cruise ports in Florida, this location is a destination in and of itself. It is located in Fort Lauderdale on the east coast of Florida. Eight of the cruise terminals have public art displays by renowned artists.

These include luminous wall and glass sculptures, tile mosaics, lighted maps and splendid murals all awaiting the perfect photo opportunity. And, while at the terminal, download entertainment (books, movies, music and more) via the county library’s Instant eCard privileges – all for free.

Cruise Ships in Port Everglades
Photo Courtesy: Port Everglades

Reaching this port, which welcomed its first cruise ships more than 90 years ago, is convenient. It sits on the southeastern coast of the state near three international airports, three interstates, and the Florida Turnpike. The area is served by three train systems as well as public buses, taxis and rideshare options.

Read Also: IDEAL Hotels NEAR Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port (Port Everglades)

Voyages are available throughout the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Mexico, Africa, Europe, the Pacific coast, and even Antarctica. Select from either a round trip or a one-way passage for your next dream vacation at sea.

Port Tampa Bay

One of the best benefits of setting sail from a smaller Florida cruise port is access to local attractions. At Port Tampa Bay, two of the city’s popular places are within walking distance of all three terminals – The Florida Aquarium and Sparkman Wharf.

Cruise lines that operate to or from Port Tampa Bay:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Margaritaville at Sea

The former is a top-rated facility for stewarding aquatic and terrestrial animals and their habitats “from tree level to sea level.” The wharf showcases the city’s downtown waterfront with retail shops, eateries, and live events.

While in the area, be sure to visit Busch Gardens and Zoo Tampa or catch a professional sports team in action. Stroll the local beaches and discover vibrant nightlife in local establishments.

Tampa Cruise Port
Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock

Insider tips: Watch time “melt away” at The Dalí Museum; enjoy Latin dining in Ybor City; and, hunt for real shark teeth on the beaches in nearby St. Pete. (Hint: bring along a small container, or your pockets are going to get wet!)

Four cruise lines call Port Tampa Bay “home,” including Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line. Itineraries from this location on the western (Gulf) side of the state include voyages to several Caribbean islands and destinations in Mexico, Central America, and Venezuela.

Read Also: Full Guide on Car Rental Near Tampa Cruise Port

Traveling from the Tampa International Airport to Port Tampa Bay takes approximately 20-30 minutes, depending on the traffic, which is just over 10 miles. A taxi to the port can cost around $35, which is a flat fee and could change, so always ask first.

Upon arrival, passengers can grab last-minute shopping items and some tasty treats from food trucks located along the waterfront area. Ample seating, ADA-compliant facilities, and free Wi-Fi at all terminals make this a comfortable port.


Nestled along the St. Johns River in the upper northeastern part of the state sits JAXPORT (or the Jacksonville Port Authority). While its main area of commerce is as a container port (Florida’s largest), one passenger terminal welcomes voyagers to their next cruise adventure.

Cruise lines that operate to or from the Port of Jacksonville:

  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line

This port, while up-to-date, feels like a vacation from another era, in a positive way! There are fewer crowds, ease of access, and only Carnival Cruise Line ships at this small Florida port.

Carnival Cruise Ship in Jacksonville, Florida
Carnival Cruise Ship in Jacksonville, Florida (Photo Credit: NEFLO PHOTO)

Taxis and minivans offer services from the airport, and passengers driving their own vehicles will find the parking area is well-lighted, fenced and secured 24 hours per day. Passengers arriving at the 15,000-square-foot embarkation area can pick up drinks, snacks, and miscellaneous items at a small shop in the terminal. Ships leaving from this small port are generally boarding for four- and five-day excursions to the Bahamas. 

While traveling through the “flip side of Florida” (as Jacksonville calls itself), enjoy 22 miles of beaches and 40 miles of the Intercoastal Waterway – more shoreline than any other city in the country.

Fishing expeditions, the street arts scene along with rotating exhibits in the Cork Arts District and taste creations from a new generation of Southern chefs await. Also, make time to visit one of the twelve museums in the city, offering impressive collections of the culture, history, art, and science from the area.

Port of Palm Beach

Discover a unique adventure at this location with only one terminal and one berth – a land and sea combination sure to please everyone in your group. Port of Palm Beach is located 80 miles north of Miami and is even further from Port Canaveral at 135 miles out.

Cruise lines that operate to or from the Port of Palm Beach:

  • Margaritaville at Sea

This Florida cruise port is home to mainly one mainstream cruise line created from a partnership between the former Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line and Margaritaville at Sea. However, there is a multitude of ways to create just the right package for your next cruise vacation.

Year-round, book cruises for two-night/three-day excursions to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island aboard a Margaritaville at Sea ship. Most passengers take this opportunity to “catch a ride” on a beautifully appointed floating resort and book a stay on the island for an extended tropical getaway.

Margaritaville at Sea Paradise Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Port of Palm Beach

Explore pristine beaches, dive crystal clear waters (Insider tip: Unexso to swim with dolphins!), golf, go boating and fishing, try your luck at the casinos, stay out late at the nightclubs, and shop for duty-free souvenirs.

To encourage passengers to return again and again, the cruise line has offered unlimited vacation passes. These passes along with a “cruise & stay” package – cruise plus luxury resort accommodations on the island – can be a gift for the wallet with a bit of good timing.

Before and after the cruise, take a short drive from the terminal to Manatee Lagoon for family fun, interactive events, and a chance to see these gentle giants of the sea. For another nature experience, Singer Island offers hiking, biking, snorkeling, and a nature center for the eco-adventurers.

Key West

Cruise passengers whose itineraries include a stop at this port of call are in for a treat! Located at the southernmost tip of the continental United States, this Florida cruise port lies at the end of a chain of islands.

The surrounding community is a blend of cultures, artistic endeavors and culinary delights celebrating diversity. Visitors can easily explore all that the town of Key West has to offer.

Strategically, there are three piers utilized by several hundred visiting ships each year, that are sailing to or from the Caribbean. Two of the piers (Mallory Square and Pier B) are within an easy walk of downtown. The third (Outermole) is only a 10-minute shuttle ride away.

Key West can at times be a stop for transatlantic and repositing cruises and is frequented by ships that are part of the Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and a few more lines throughout the year.

Cruise Ship in Key West
Photo Credit: Worachat Sodsri / Shutterstock

When disembarking at the modern terminals, stop at some of the kiosks to inquire about guided tours (such as sandbar hopping, boating, paddling and haunted tours) or set out on a self-guided walking excursion.

Grab a bite to eat at one of the many eateries that range from upscale dining to locally-owned seafood shacks. Head over to Duval Street for a vibrant nightlife scene complete with live music and tasty tropical drinks. Spend time in nature at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park, the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Key West Aquarium and stroll the beaches.

Get the camera ready for a snap at the iconic Southernmost Point Buoy and join the sunset celebration at Mallory Square close to the ship. Insider tip: Take the opportunity to see original works of art and literature at The Audubon House and The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, respectively.

Final Thoughts

Whether your journey upon the sea launches from the world’s largest and busiest port or a single terminal, boarding a ship at any Florida cruise port can become part of everyone’s fun vacation memories.

Read Also: Top 10 Busiest US Cruise Homeports

Each port offers something different, with different experiences in the surrounding area. Depending on which cruise line, ship, and itinerary may also impact which cruise port in Florida you choose, relatively all of them include Caribbean voyages.

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