Three of the major cruise ports in Florida resumed operations over the weekend, after having shut down last week when Hurricane Ian slammed into the state as a Category 4 hurricane, one of the strongest to hit the United States in the nation’s history.
JAXPort/Jacksonville, Port Tampa Bay, and Port Canaveral/Orlando all reopened to maritime traffic, including cruise vessels, on Saturday, October 1. The ports had been closed down in preparation for the storm’s arrival and were the ones forecast to be nearest to the direct path of Hurricane Ian.
Being further from the trajectory of the storm, Port Everglades/Fort Lauderdale and PortMiami both reopened on Friday, September 30, resuming scheduled departures and giving the several liners that were stuck at sea amid the hurricane a place to dock.
In a statement, Port Canaveral officials said that the port’s Jetty Park & Rodney Ketcham Park boat ramps would remain closed until further notice, because of damage inflicted by the hurricane, but its roadways were open and cruise operations had resumed on Saturday, October 1. It did, however, encourage cruise passengers who were scheduled to depart over the weekend to check with their line for updated schedule information.
In an update issued on Friday, September 30, JAXPort also reported there was no damage to its facilities and announced it would reopen/resume normal operations at 06:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 1.
In its own statement, Port Tampa Bay also reported no damage due to the storm.
The statement read that the Port’s PUSH teams had fully assessed the docks, wharves, and terminals. Commercial vessel traffic was again being queued for a return to full operations at the port, meaning they were open for business.
Image: Port of Tampa (Florida)
With the reopenings, a number of cruise ships that had been stuck out at sea amid Ian have finally been able to sail back to port. 3 of Carnival Cruise Line's delayed ships were berthing at Florida ports on Saturday, October 1: Carnival Elation, Carnival Liberty, and Carnival Paradise.
Royal Caribbean’s ships Independence of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas were also able to return to their homeport at Port Canaveral on Saturday, October 1, while Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wish arrived at Port Canaveral on Sunday, October 2.