Port Canaveral is working towards record profits driven by the cruise industry this year, according to Port CEO Capt. John Murray at the port commission budget meeting on Wednesday morning.
Despite the slow start due to COVID, the port welcomed more than 3 million cruise passengers during the 2022 financial year and expects to make $94 million in cruise-driven revenue.
This is only slightly below the $106 million the port made in the record year 2019. But these numbers pale in comparison to what the Port Authority expects for 2023.
Occupancy Over 100% During Record-Breaking Month
July 2022 will go into the books as one of the busiest months in the history of Port Canaveral. With ships operating at more than 100% occupancy rates, the numbers are far above what the port projected to see for the fiscal year.
Last year, the Port Authority expected to operate at around 50% occupancy for the first three months of 2022, concluding at approximately 75% for the rest of the year. With the fiscal year ending on September 30, Port Canaveral expects 25% more cruise passengers to pass through than last year’s budget.
“July was an exceptionally strong month,” said Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray at the port commission budget meeting. “I can say that our numbers have really ticked up in the number of passengers that are flowing through the port. So it’s been a good year.”
So far, in the last ten months, Port Canaveral has handled 674 calls from cruise ships with more than 3.2 million multiday passengers. In the previous six weeks, more than 100,000 guests sailed from the port each week, with more than 120,000 during the last week of July.
2023 Expected To Be Busiest Year Ever For Port Canaveral
With 112 more homeport calls during 2023 than during 2022 and 99 calls from ships visiting the port on one-day calls, Port Canaveral will be busier than ever next year, totaling 909 multiday calls.
The port authority proposed a new budget of 154 million dollars for next year, an increase of 32 million dollars over 2022.
The importance of cruises to Port Canaveral becomes apparent when considering that 124 million dollars of the proposed budget come from cruise ships using the port. This is a far cry from the losses the port projected to make during 2021.
Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean will be using Port Canaveral extensively next year, both scheduling three ships permanently and one seasonally. For Royal Caribbean, this includes the world’s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas.
Carnival Cruise Line is scheduled to use the port during 264 homeport calls, while Royal Caribbean is scheduled for 231 homeport calls and 58 one-day visits from ships sailing the east coast.
Other cruise lines that will use the port extensively are Disney Cruise Line with Disney Wish and Disney Fantasy, accounting for 157 homeport calls, and MSC Cruises with MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside, accounting for 73 homeport calls and 15 port visits.
Lastly, Norwegian Cruise Line will use Port Canaveral as homeport for three cruise ships, including the Norwegian Prima. For the first time, Marella Cruises, part of TUI, will use Port Canaveral as homeport for Marella Discovery.
Where will the money go?
With the record-breaking revenue the Port Authority expects to see during the 2023 fiscal year, cruise ship guests can expect to see some major upgrades to the port facilities.
Already plans have been drawn up to invest 14.7 million dollars in passenger gangways, parking, airconditioning and air-cleaning units, canopy replacements, improvements to the elevators and escalators, and completing the upgrades to Terminal 10.
Port Canaveral has always been one of the most popular cruise ports in the world, contributing to the industry’s recovery in a significant way. With the projections issued by the Port Authority this week, this recovery is leading to record profits for cruise lines and the Port Authority.