Bustling Port Canaveral is set to see a significant expansion in its parking facilities. With passenger counts rising and new cruise ships arriving in 2024, the port’s commissioners have unanimously approved over $67 million for the construction of two northside parking garages.
These ambitious plans align with the port’s status as the world’s busiest cruise port and reflect the phenomenal growth experienced within the industry. For this year, Port Canaveral expects to welcome 6.4 million cruise passengers, many of whom will be arriving at the port by private vehicle.
Expanding Infrastructure at Port Canaveral
The world’s busiest cruise port, Port Canaveral near Orlando, Florida, will construct two additional parking garages to be completed by the end of 2024.
William Crowe, the port’s vice president of engineering, construction, and facilities, emphasized the urgency of the construction. He noted that the parking garage projects would be fast-tracked so they would be completed by October 2024.
The eight-level, 1,940-space garage near Cruise Terminals 5 and 6 and a six-level, 1,081-space garage near Cruise Terminal 10 will bolster the port’s existing parking facilities.
William Crowe said during the Port Commission Meeting on August 23: “The garages are supposed to reach substantial completion in October 2024, with final completion by December 2024. So that meets the timeframes that are needed and are very fast-tracked according to the vessel schedule that’s increasing.”
Port Canaveral has always been one of the most popular cruise ports in the United States, primarily because the port is highly accessible by private vehicles. The massive increase in passenger numbers that the port has seen since the global pause in operations means that increasing parking spaces is just one of the many measures the port has taken recently.
The construction of Terminal 3 already included an elevated cruise parking facility for an additional 1,800 vehicles, meaning that Port Canaveral will have added nearly 5,000 parking spaces by Q4 of 2024.
The new parking garages will serve cruise terminals that host various cruise lines, including Marella, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, and MSC. The cruise garage work is the biggest item on the port’s $175.67 million capital projects budget for the 2023-24 budget year.
Port Canaveral’s Advantage over Southern Florida
Adding parking spaces isn’t just about convenience for the cruise guests; it symbolizes a significant leap in the cruise industry’s growth. In February, Port Canaveral became the busiest cruise port worldwide, edging out PortMiami by a slim margin.
2022 proved to be a bustling year for Port Canaveral as it played host to over 4 million passengers, a number that slightly eclipsed PortMiami’s numbers. As the world’s busiest cruise terminal, Port Canaveral expects to welcome around 6.4 million passengers in 2023, with further growth anticipated in 2024
Port Canaveral’s geographical advantage, being closer to Orlando, has given the port a strategic advantage. This advantage over ports in southern Florida means that cruise lines are directing more and more assets to Port Canaveral.
Two new cruise lines are making their debut at Port Canaveral in 2024 – Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess in November 2024 and Celebrity Cruises’ Equinox in December 2024. Royal Caribbean International announced in June 2023 that Utopia of the Seas will operate from Port Canaveral and debut in July 2024.
Cruise ships from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, and MSC Cruises also homeport at the port. At the same time, ships from several cruise lines also make regular stops at Port Canaveral, including Cunard Line, Holland America Line, and TUI Cruises.