Port Canaveral to Reopen for Cruise Ships After Hurricane Ian

Port Canaveral has already partially reopened after Hurricane Ian, and will reopen to cruise ship traffic after midnight.

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As of 4 p.m. Friday evening, September 30, Port Canaveral has entered Condition Recovery after the passage of Hurricane Ian, and port operations are slowly resuming.

This means cruise ships will shortly be able to return, and cruise lines can resume their normal homeport operations.

Port Canaveral Now Open

Initial post-storm safety assessments are now complete and Port Canaveral has entered Condition Recovery as regular operations are gradually permitted to resume.

Condition Recovery allows small vessels (500 gross tons and less) to return to the port facilities, even as the port’s water surveys are continuing to ensure there is no channel blockage.

For comparison, the smallest cruise ships currently homeported at the central Florida port are Carnival Cruise Line’s sister ships Carnival Freedom and Carnival Liberty. Both of these Conquest-class vessels weigh in at 110,000 gross tons.

It is expected that at midnight Friday night, the port will open for all other marine traffic, including the larger cruise ships.

The largest cruise ship that currently calls Port Canaveral home is Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas, an Oasis-class vessel that weighs 226,963 gross tons and is considered the third largest cruise ship in the world by gross tonnage.

Cruises to Resume

Multiple cruises scheduled from Port Canaveral have been canceled or delayed due to Hurricane Ian, but as the port is now reopening, cruise lines can resume normal operations, including:

  • Carnival Liberty – Likely to dock to debark on Saturday, October 1; September 29 departure canceled
  • Disney Wish – Expected to return October 1; September 30 departure canceled
  • Norwegian Getaway – September 29 sailing canceled; ship’s arrival to her new homeport not yet determined
  • MSC Divina – Likely to debark October 1; September 29 sailing canceled
  • Independence of the Seas – September 30 sailing delayed to October 1
  • Mariner of the Seas – Likely to debark October 1; September 29 sailing shortened
Cruise Ships in Port Canaveral, Florida
Photo Credit: Robert Michaud / Shutterstock

Four other ships currently homeported at Port Canaveral – Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom and Mardi Gras; Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Fantasy, and Royal Caribbean International’s Harmony of the Seas have not had their scheduled times in Port Canaveral adjusted due to the storm.

It is possible, however, with so many vessels needing to debark on alternative schedules and with delayed arrivals, there may be further adjustments to ships’ docking times or dates to accommodate not only the marine traffic, but to accommodate the thousands of passengers moving to and from the port terminal.

Guests expecting to visit Port Canaveral this weekend should stay in close contact with their cruise line for updated arrival and departure times, as well as any other adjustments as needed.

Hurricane Ian Port Damage

Port Canaveral has not suffered any significant damage as a result of Ian, which impacted the area as a strong tropical storm, having lost strength as it crossed the Florida peninsula after making initial landfall on the west coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

Because the port has been spared more severe damage, the Strike Team of local first responders assembled to assist with post-storm recovery has now been deployed to assist with rescue and recovery efforts in southwest Florida, where the brunt of the storm was felt. Recovery in the most heavily impacted areas will likely take weeks, even months.

Adjacent areas at Jetty Park, which borders Port Canaveral just south of the marine channel, have been more damaged, with boat ramps now unusable and storm debris remaining to be cleared.

Localized flooding is widespread throughout central Florida, and cruise passengers debarking at Port Canaveral to drive home should take great care with their routes, avoiding flooded areas and staying alert for road debris and downed power lines.

Guests with transfers to local airports may also want to note that some roadways may be blocked or flooded, causing slightly longer transit times between the cruise port and airports. Both Orlando International Airport and Melbourne Orlando International Airport have resumed normal operations, though individual flight schedules may vary.

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