The new launch date has been set for the highly anticipated Artemis I moon launch mission, and cruise travelers heading to Port Canaveral need to be aware and may need to adjust their travel plans due to the tremendous tourist interest in the historic launch, the first for the most powerful rocket in history.
New Moon Launch Date Set
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is now targeting the next launch attempt of the Artemis I mission for Monday, November 14, 2022. The launch window is 69 minutes long, and opens at 12:07 a.m. Eastern standard time.
While the early morning launch window will not create as much transit traffic for cruise guests traveling to and from Port Canaveral on that date, the nighttime launch will cause local hotels to fill up quickly for Sunday night.
Cruise travelers who may be planning to arrive a day or two early before setting sail may have difficulty finding an available hotel room close to Port Canaveral, and should make their reservations as soon as possible to ensure availability.
Similarly, any guests arriving into Port Canaveral on Sunday, March 13, will want to make hotel reservations right away if they plan on extending their stay in central Florida after their cruise. Tourism in the region is expected to be higher than typical that weekend as people arrive to prepare for the historic launch.
Guests should also contact hotels to confirm shuttle service to the cruise port on November 14 if necessary. While the launch window closes long before guests should be arriving at the port, unanticipated traffic snarls as launch viewing ends could cause ongoing disruptions to local traffic.
Cruise Ships in Port Canaveral
Sunday, November 13 and Monday, November 14 are both busy days for cruise traffic in Port Canaveral.
On Sunday, four ships will be debarking and embarking guests – MSC Cruises’ MSC Meraviglia, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Magic, and Royal Caribbean International’s Jewel of the Seas and Wonder of the Seas.
On Monday, four more ships will be at Port Canaveral – Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship Disney Wish, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Liberty, and Royal Caribbean International’s Enchantment of the Seas and Independence of the Seas.
Three of Monday’s vessels are homeported at Port Canaveral; Enchantment of the Seas is making a port of call visit scheduled from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
With so many cruise ships scheduled at the port during these two days, hotels will quickly become booked and guests who wait until the last minute to make reservations may find themselves unable to secure a room, or only finding rooms further from the cruise port and less convenient to reach.
Alternative Launch Dates May Also Impact Cruise Traffic
Should the November 14 launch be scrubbed or delayed, alterative launch windows have been planned for Wednesday, November 16 and Saturday, November 19. Both alternative launch windows are still in the early morning hours – 1:04 a.m. and 1:45 a.m., respectively, and both are two-hour time frames.
These early morning alternative dates could still impact Port Canaveral hotel availability, especially on Saturday, as weekend launches generate even more interest and tourist travel.
No cruise ships are planned to be at Port Canaveral on November 16, but Saturday, November 19, will be a very busy day for the port with five cruise ships debarking and embarking guests:
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape, Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy, Royal Caribbean International’s Jewel of the Seas, and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Magic and the line’s flagship, Mardi Gras.
On each launch date, cruise travelers will not need to worry about parking at the cruise port, as the port’s parking garages are reserved for booked cruise travelers. Local law enforcement officers will be on hand before, during, and after the launch windows to safely direct traffic and ensure that guests reach the proper parking facility.