One Cruise Line From Port Canaveral US Cruisers Can’t Take

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A new cruise line will begin homeporting from Port Canaveral, Florida in May, but Floridians – and most US citizens – cannot set sail. Marella Cruises’ Marella Discovery will depart from the world’s busiest passenger cruise port for the first time on May 7, 2023, but the UK-based cruise line is not easy for US citizens to book, as it is geared primarily for British holiday-seekers.

Marella Cruises From the US – But Not for US Cruisers

Marella Cruises is repositioning Marella Discovery to Port Canaveral for six months beginning in May, but despite being the busiest passenger cruise port in the world and a great departure point for cruisers from the United States, most US cruisers won’t be able to sail on the ship.

This is because Marella Cruises operates almost exclusively for British and European vacationers, and the most common bookings for the line, including the sailings for Marella Discovery, are package options that include airfare and the options for hotel nights for full travel arrangements.

Because the only available flights are from United Kingdom airports and a valid UK address is necessary for booking, this makes it nearly impossible for US cruisers to book one of these cruises.

Marella Cruises first intended to begin sailings from Port Canaveral in 2021, but postponed those plans due to the pandemic. Now, the ship is ready to set sail.

Marella Discovery Itineraries

Marella Discovery will offer a variety of unique itineraries from Port Canaveral, all but one of which are 7-night sailings.

The very first cruise, departing on May 7, 2023, is the “Sunshine State and Sands” itinerary, visiting Amber Cove, Grand Turk, and two ports in Florida – Key West and Miami. Similar itineraries in the coming months may substitute Bimini for Grand Turk, and of course itineraries are always subject to change.

The “American Dream” itinerary is another 7-night roundtrip that visits Charleston and New York, as well as Freeport in The Bahamas. The “Floridian Favourites” itinerary spends the week visiting top Florida destinations like Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, as well as Bimini or Nassau, depending on the departure date.

Marella Cruises
Photo Credit: StudioPortoSabbia / Shutterstock

Of special interest is one 14-night autumn sailing, a round-trip “East Coast Adventure” departing Port Canaveral on October 22, just in time for excellent fall foliage.

That cruise will visit destination in New England and Canada, including Newport, Rhode Island; Bar Harbor, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; and three ports in Canada – Saint John in New Brunswick and Sydney and Halifax in Nova Scotia.

On November 5, Marella Discovery will depart Port Canaveral on an 11-night repositioning sailing to Bridgetown, Barbados, with calls in Miami, New Orleans, and Amber Cove along the way. The ship will remain homeported in Bridgetown until May 2024.

Marella Discovery was originally constructed in 1995 as Splendour of the Seas for Royal Caribbean International, and was sold to TUI Cruises in 2016. The Vision-class ship sailed briefly as TUI Discovery before being rebranded as Marella Discovery in 2017.

The ship weighs in at 69,130 gross tons, with a passenger capacity of 1,830 guests along with up to 750 crew members.

Other Port Canaveral Cruise Options

While US cruisers may not be able to set sail aboard Marella Discovery, there are many other popular options from Port Canaveral.

Five major cruise lines – Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and Disney Cruise Line – all use the central Florida port as a homeport, often with multiple ships of different classes, sizes, and designs offering a wide range of itineraries to The Bahamas, Mexico, and throughout the Caribbean.

Furthermore, Port Canaveral is also an occasional port of call visit for Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, P&O Cruises, Costa Cruises, and other cruise lines.

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