Port Canaveral Becomes World’s Busiest Passenger Cruise Port

Edging out PortMiami by a slim margin, Port Canaveral is now the world's busiest cruise port with more than 4 million passengers.

The record has been passed and Port Canaveral has taken over from PortMiami as the world’s busiest passenger cruise port.

The news comes as the 2022 passenger totals have been released from the Florida Ports Council, and Port Canaveral tops out at over 4 million passengers, a slim margin over PortMiami’s impressive numbers.

Busy Year for Port Canaveral

While the year began slowly with cruise lines continuing to limit guest capacity for health and safety restrictions, 2022 quickly gained momentum as cruise travel dramatically rebounded.

Thanks in part to Port Canaveral’s proximity to Orlando and the faster easing of local community restrictions in that part of Florida, compared to more stringent health and safety measures in the more populous communities of South Florida, the cruise port gained a slim lead over PortMiami to become the world’s busiest passenger cruise port.

Port Canaveral, US Homeport
Photo Credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

In total, 4,072,396 multi-day cruise guests moved through Port Canaveral, edging out PortMiami’s updated 4,022,544 multi-day guests, an updated number directly from the port rather than 3,988,094 from Florida Ports Council.

“We’ve always aimed to be the best cruise port in the world, but what an achievement to now be known as the busiest,” said Captain John Murray, Port Canaveral CEO. “This historic milestone is testament to the efforts of our team and cruise partners to provide a best in class experience for all cruise guests sailing from Port Canaveral.”

Multi-day cruise guests are those passengers on a voyage lasting more than one day. Single day guests, on the other hand, are sailing on vessels such as casino boats or similar entertainment sailings but do not have overnight stays. Multi-day guests can include both homeport sailings as well as day port visits.

Other Florida Cruise Ports

Florida is home to four additional cruise ship homeports: Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale just 21 miles (34 kilometers) from Port Miami; Jaxport in Jacksonville in the state’s northeastern corner; Port Tampa Bay on the west coast; and Port of Palm Beach still further north from Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

None of the other homeports comes close to the passenger traffic of either Port Canaveral or PortMiami, though they all serve different cruise lines and offer great vacation options for guests.

Cruises from Fort Lauderdale
Photo Credit: Ruth Peterkin / Shutterstock

Port Everglades saw 1.6 million passengers in 2022, while Jaxport, Port Tampa Bay, and Port of Palm Beach totaled 90,241, 418,200, and 188,235 guests, respectively.

Port of Key West is another popular cruise port in the Sunshine State and saw 198,411 guests, though the port is not used as a homeport, only as a port of call visit.

Totals to Rise Dramatically in Years to Come

It should be noted that all Florida’s multi-day cruise port passengers combined totaled 10.5 million guests. While this is an impressive total for a year when all cruise ships were not sailing the full year and restrictions still limited passengers, it is far below the 2019 total of 17.8 million, before the pandemic shutdown halted the cruise industry.

Florida Ports Council projects that the cruise industry in Florida ports should be close to 2019 levels in 2023, with even higher totals in years to come.

Port Canaveral Cruise Ships
Photo Copyright: Robert Michaud / Shutterstock

Read Also: Port Canaveral Is Best US Cruise Homeport for Third Consecutive Year

Forecasts for 2027 bring Port Canaveral to 6.4 million passengers that year, with PortMiami projected to host 8.4 million. Of course, port improvements at all Florida homeports will continue in the next few years to accommodate growth, welcome more advanced ships, and provide adequate security and safety for all vessels, crew, and guests who move through the ports.

Which Florida homeports have you sailed from? Do you have a favorite? Share your thoughts cruising from the Sunshine State in the Cruise Hive Boards!

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