Port Canaveral Voted Best US Cruise Homeport of 2023

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Florida’s Port Canaveral has been named the Best US Homeport for 2023 in the annual Cruise Hive Awards. It’s the fourth consecutive year the port has won the honor.

Port Canaveral Retains Crown as Top Homeport in United States

Located on the state’s east coast, Port Canaveral earned 34% of the vote, more than twice the votes of second-place finisher PortMiami. Nearly 20 ports in total competed for the annual honor.

The Cruise Hive Awards have been an annual feature since 2014. Voting opened on October 1, 2023, and closed on Friday, December 22. Cruise Hive readers could each cast one vote in each of the eight categories. Check the results so far right here.

Best US Cruise Homeport
Best US Cruise Homeport

The Cruise Hive Awards make the second milestone for Port Canaveral in 2023. In February 2023, the Florida Ports Council announced that the port – east of Orlando on the state’s Atlantic coast – had 4.07 million multi-day passengers in 2022. That topped Miami’s total of 4.02 million, making Port Canaveral the world’s busiest cruise port for 2022. That designation was reversed this December when PortMiami regained the title for 2023.

Port Canaveral is home to many of the industry’s top cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, and Royal Caribbean International. It offers easy access to more than 50 destinations, including the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Eastern and Western Mexico.

Port Canaveral
Photo Credit: Canaveral Port Authority

Guests traveling through the port laud its short transfer time from Orlando International Airport and the parking availability. Its proximity to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Florida, and SeaWorld Orlando makes it a convenient port for family vacationers. 

PortMiami and Port Everglades Finish in Top 3 for Best US Homeport

Finishing second in the Cruise Hive Awards for Best US Homeport in 2023 was PortMiami with 16% of the vote. Its location on the southern tip of Florida makes it a popular spot to begin cruises to the Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean, hence its nickname the “Cruise Capital of the World.”

In third place with 14% of the votes was Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, giving Florida ports the top three spots on the Cruise Hive list. Port Everglades is home to various cruise lines, including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, and Royal Caribbean.

PortMiami and Port Everglades also finished in second and third place, respectively, in the three previous years.

Port of Galveston in Texas finished in fourth place in 2023 with 8% of the vote. Positioned on the Gulf of Mexico, the port recently invested $250 million in improvements to accommodate Carnival’s newest ship, Carnival Jubilee. The ship began its sailings from the port beginning December 23, 2023, and is scheduled to remain home-ported in Galveston until at least April 2026.

Best US Cruise Homeport
Best US Cruise Homeport

Port Tampa Bay was voted into fifth place with 3% of the reader vote, followed by Port of San Diego (3%), Port of New Orleans (3%), Port of Baltimore (3%), Bayonne in New Jersey (2%), Port of Seattle (2%), and Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York (2%). 

Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles in California, Port of Charleston in South Carolina, Port of Boston, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, JAXPORT in Florida, and Port of Mobile in Alabama also received votes but garnered less than 2% of the overall total. 

Port Canaveral Projects More Growth in 2024

Located 45 miles east of Orlando, Port Canaveral initially opened in 1953 and primarily served Florida’s commercial fishing industry. In the 1960s, it took on an important role in America’s space program as the homeport for the nearby Kennedy Space Center. 

In 1982, Port Canaveral opened its first dedicated cruise terminal. Carnival Cruise Line homeported its first ship there in 1990, followed by Disney Cruise Line in 1998, and Royal Caribbean in 2000. 

Read Also: 10 Amazing Things to Do in Port Canaveral

We’re very excited for the future,” said Capt. John Murray, Port Canaveral CEO, at November 2023’s State of the Port address. “We have some great assets coming online in the next few years and a lot of surprises for the business as a whole.

For 2024, officials at Port Canaveral project its terminals will homeport 13 cruise ships, host 7.3 million passengers and expect 913 ship calls.

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