Port Canaveral (cruise port to Orlando, Florida USA) is currently ranked world's second-busiest cruise port - after Miami Florida. As homeport, this is a major touraround port destination (serving roundtrip itineraries) with annual shipping traffic 4,5+ million cruise ship tourists. Cape Canaveral is a leading USA homeport for all the world's largest cruise companies - Carnival, Royal Caribbean, NCL Norwegian, Disney.
Cape Canaveral Port
Port Cape Canaveral is located on Florida's Atlantic coastline, between Miami and Jacksonville. Orlando City is bounded by Port Canaveral (north), Banana River (east), Cocoa Beach (south) and Atlantic Ocean (west). As deepwater seaport, Port Canaveral has a very high volume of traffic. From a total of 6 million cargo tons moved through the port annually, 2,7+ million tons (3 million short tons) are bulk cargoes. Common cargo includes petroleum, aggregate and cement. The port features hoppers and conveyors for loading products directly into trucks, as well as bulk cargo containers' facilities. The channel is about 13 m (44 ft) deep.
There are 70,000 m2 (750,000 ft2) of covered freight storage capacity. In 2004 Port Canaveral handled 3,600,000 t (4,000,000 short tons) of cargo. It exports fresh citrus and bulk frozen citrus juice is stored in one of the biggest freezer warehouses found in the state. The port also receives salt for water softening, lumber, automobiles, steel sheet and plate. Port Canaveral transships items for sea, air, space and land. Its Foreign Trade Zone is one of the nation's largest general-purpose FTZs, more than 13 km2 (5 ml2). Each year the port boosts economy by 1/2 billion dollars.
Port's cruise shipping business started in 1964, with SS Yarmouth Castle. The 1927-built steamship (for Chadade Steamship Company) was acquired by Yarmouth Cruise Lines in 1957. The liner was American-owned and Panama-flagged. In 1965, the ship burnt at sea (between Nassau and Miami).
In 1965 was constructed a sea lock as part of Canaveral Barge Canal. The lock is still in use, maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Shipping and commercial fishing was also served by three 120 m (400 ft) long cargo piers constructed on port's north side in 1976. The seaport has supported NASA's space projects from the nearby JF Kennedy Space Center. During NASA's Apollo program, Saturn V rocket's segments transited via the port lock. Space Shuttle's external tanks were floated for each mission into Port Canaveral, and the rocket boosters were towed back via the seaport, being fished from the Atlantic after each space launch.
In August 2015, commissioners approved USD 81 million port development project for upgrades of terminals 5 and 10, aimed at handling larger-sized vessels (details in the "terminal" section below). The project's financing was secured through bank loans and bonds.
Following President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, in late-January 2017 were officially issued reports about cruise passengers being detained by US Customs and Border Protection. All detainees had to provide background info about them, their families and also their past life in their native countries. Trump's executive order was signed on January 27, and includes a 90-day ban on travel to USA by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen.
In early-November 2017, Royal Caribbean announced company's decision to homeport here in 2019 the world’s largest passenger vessel - Harmony of the Seas (max capacity 6687 passengers plus 2100 crew). Starting May 2019, Harmony OTS offers 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean roundtrip itineraries. Harmony will replace Oasis of the Seas (re-deployed in 2019 to Miami). Also in 2019, Mariner of the Seas will be homeported here for 3- and 4-night short cruises to Bahamas. The Mariner ship has max capacity 4200 passengers and 1180 crew. The ship first arrived in Port Canaveral in 2003 (inaugural cruise on November 14).
In December 2017, Carnival Cruise Lines announced the homeporting of Carnival Elation in 2019. Starting May 12, 2019, the ship operates year-round scheduled 4-5-day “long weekend” Bahamas cruises. Departures are on Thursdays (4-day itinerary to Freeport and Nassau) and on Mondays and Saturdays (5-day itinerary to Amber Cove Dominican Republic and Grand Turk Island).
In December 2017, Port Canaveral completed the 6-month long West Turning Basin deepening project, now allowing max draft of 45 ft (13,7 m). Port's containership terminal (North Cargo berths 5 and 6) is operated by GT USA. During the dredging works were removed over 22,3 million ft3 (632,000 m3) of seabed material. For the dredging was contracted the company Dutra Group (based in San Rafael, California). The project's total cost was USD 7,5 million, with approx 2/3 of the cost covered by FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation). Port's entry channel was cleared from obstructions (bridges, power lines) and is now without air draft restrictions. West Turning Basin has quay length ~600 m (2000 ft) at draft 43 ft - one of East Coast USA's deepest cargo berths without vessel air draft limits.
In January 2018 was approved the construction of a new multi-purpose cargoship berth ("North Cargo Berth 8" / NCB8). By the project was also built a seawall (900 ft / 274 m) and pier extension (100 ft / 31 m) with capacity to handle vessels with LOA length up to 850 ft / 259 m. At the new berth can be handled various heavy project cargoes (including aerospace). Berth's depth is 35 ft (11 m). The USD 17,9 million berth construction contract was awarded to the Tampa-based company Orion Marine Group. The contract includes building the bulkhead, seawall, relieving platform and dredging. Construction works started in March 2018, with scheduled completion by mid-2019.
In 2018, two port development projects received funding for maintenance works in the seaport. The contractor is USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers). For the projects were allocated USD 14,76 million (Canaveral Harbor Sand Bypass and jetty upgrades) and USD 1,47 million (Harbor and Locks).
On December 5, 2018, Canaveral Port Authority (CPA) approved a series of bonds (up to USD 117 million) for financing "Cruise Terminal 3" (dubbed "Launch Pad") project. In 2020, at the new Terminal 3 (CT3) will be homeported Carnival’s newest and largest (LNG-powered) liner Mardi Gras.
- Project's financing package included bonds up to USD 80 million (30-year, Series A and B) and up to USD 37 million (20-year loan, Series C) by SunTrust Bank (specializing in mortgage, personal and small-business banking). The bank is subsidiary of the Atlanta GA-based SunTrust Banks Inc (reported assets in March 2018 USD 199 billion).
- Additionally was approved increasing seaport’s PNC Bank credit line from USD 25 to 50 million. The port also received from Florida Department of Transportation USD 6 million in grants for the infrastructure works.
- Carnival Cruise Terminal 3 has dedicated wharf, adjacent parking (6-storey, capacity 1800 vehicles) and a newbuild road. Project's total improvements cost USD 163 million, of which $50 million were contributed by Carnival Corporation. The facility is scheduled for completion in September 2020.
On May 22, 2019, Disney Cruises signed with CPA a 20-year operating agreement for homeporting two of company's all 3 newbuilds. Under the new deal, Disney will have 3 ships homeported here (2 new, 1 old) and will increase the number of guaranteed roundtrips from 150 per year (2019) to 180 (2023) and 216 (2024 and beyond).
In early-March 2020 was launched an RO-RO Division in Port Canaveral - dedicated vehicle terminal with max annual capacity 240,000 cars. The 16-acres terminal is at South Cargo Pier 4 and serves mainly new import automobiles. The terminal has a large climate-controlled warehouse (sized 20,000 ft2 / 1860 m2). In FY2019, the port handled a total of 12514 vehicles.
Following the port's ban for cruise ship dockings and passenger operations (due to the Coronavirus pandemic), in the period April 3 through May 30, 2020, Canaveral Port Authority furloughed all its employees dedicated to cruise shipping operations.
IMPORTANT: For a 5-month refurbishment project in 2020 (June through November) will be closed Disney Cruise Terminal 8. Disney's 2020 summer voyages will not be affected as the company will alternatively use Terminal 10 during the reconstruction period.
Cape Canaveral port statistics
Note: Port's FY (fiscal year) runs from October 1 (current year) through September 30 (next year).
In FY2017, the cruise port handled 4,52+ million passengers (6,4% increase over FY2016). The number of multi-day passengers (4,234+ million) was 7,1% increase over 2016. Statistics showed that just in March 2017, the number of visiting cruiseship tourists was 469,847. This was port's 1-month record and a 19% increase over March 2016. Port's FY2017 total revenues were USD 47,4 million (freight and passengers).
For FY2018, the seaport reported a record year with USD 103,75 million in total revenues (218,9% increase over 2017). Cargo and cruise shipping volumes were also all-time high. The number of handled cruise ship passengers increased by 7,7% - to 4,568431 million. Port’s handled cargo tonnage increased by 6,9% - to 6,404944 million tons. Port's total economic output was USD 3,9 billion with around 32650 jobs supported (USD 1,3 billion in wages) inlcuding 17200 port workers (USD 0,7294 billion in wages).
For FY2019, the port had ~5% growth (over FY18) in revenues from cruise shipping. By homeporting operations (turnarounds) Port Canaveral is currently ranked world’s 2nd-busiest (after Miami) cruise port with handled in 2019 total 4,634154 million passengers (4,568431 million in 2018).
For season 2019, the cruise port reported a record berth booking with estimated 4,7+ million passengers.
Port Canaveral cruise terminal
Besides being a large cruise port, Port Canaveral is also among USA's (and the world's) largest naval and cargo sea ports. On average, each day 10 cruise vessels enter the port. The following cruise port map shows Port Canaveral port's infrastructure, the location of terminal facilities, connecting roads and transportation links to Orlando City.
Port Canaveral is the nearest Disney World city, situated about one hour east of Orlando by car. The Orlando International Airport is 45 miles away. The distance to Tampa is two hours and to Jacksonville – two hours and a half.
There are seven cruise terminals. In a regular use are 5 – numbers 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10. They are newer, located on port's north side and serve larger ships. Southside terminals are older. Gambling ships use Terminal 2. Terminal 3 is the new Carnival Cruise Line's terminal. Terminal 4 is also used, but rarely.
Cruise terminal parking rate is USD 15 per day (Port Authority subject to change). There is a parking lot beside each cruise terminal. Port Canaveral offers complimentary cruise parking for disabled Veterans. Approved are waiving cruise parking fees for vehicles with DV (Disabled Veteran) license plates issued under Florida Statutes "s.320.084", "s.320.0842" or "s.320.0845".
(NEW) Carnival Cruise Terminal 3 (CT3-Launch Pad)
In late April 2017 at Port Canaveral started construction works of a new cruise terminal. The facility is on the site of "Cruise Terminal 3" (port's southern / B side), west of Jetty Park and east of The Cove (dining-shopping-attractions complex). On June 7, 2017, engineering and design works for the new terminal were officially approved. Canaveral Port Authority Commissioners approved USD 1,2 million funding for CH2M Engineering’s project management contract. This was the first phase of the 2-year work plan to construct a modern facility with capacity to serve vessels up to 8,000 passengers. At the new passenger terminal can berth even the world's largest cruise vessels of RCI's Oasis-class. CH2M Engineering provided engineering, support services and waterside design for the new Terminal 3.
Project's budget is USD 163 million (initially estimated cost was USD 150 million), of which $50 million were contributed by Carnival Corporation. Ranked USA's largest single building project, it included demolition of port's oldest terminal, construction of a brand new 2-story building (sized 17,466 m2 / 188,000 ft2), upgrading the existing berth and building a new (adjacent to the terminal) parking garage, roadway and utility improvements. This 20-months long, multi-phased project included 5 separate contracts. Demolition works of the existing Terminal 3 building started in April 2018, at the cost of USD 210,000.
- Following the building demolition, project's next phases included berth demolition, dredging, dockside construction, building passenger boarding (mobile) bridges and terminal building, site works, building a covered parking garage (6-story building, sized 690,000 ft2 / 64,100 m2, capacity 1800 cars).
- On August 30, 2018, Canaveral Port Authority (CPA) Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a long-term terminal operation agreement with Carnival Cruise Line, allowing the company to homeport here its newest and biggest liner.
- Beginning September 1, 2018, the new agreement replaced the old (6-year concession) expiring in 2019. The new 25-year primary term has 4 additional 5-year renewal options. The minimum annual revenue from passenger fees (guaranteed by Carnival) was increased from USD 7 million (fixed, per year) to USD 14,5 million (with annual escalators).
- On January 8, 2019, CPA Board of Commissioners awarded the company Ivey’s Construction Inc the USD 79 million contract for building Cruise Terminal 3, plus USD 29,53 million contract for building the adjacent parking.
- On April 24, 2019, Canaveral Port Authority commissioners unanimously approved several design changes in the CT3 Project to reduce building costs. Ivey's Construction Inc (Merritt Island-based) won the contract in January with a bid of USD 78,98 million. However, design changes resulted in total savings of USD 4,535 million, bringing terminal's total cost down to USD 74,45 million. In all, "Cruise Terminal 3" costs USD 163 million when are added the costs of the adjacent parking garage, waterside improvements, two passenger boarding bridges, design services. Plans were redesigned after engineering studies reduced the number of needed piles (also their size and coating) without sacrificing the structural integrity.
The new Carnival Cruise Terminal (CT3) is a 2-story building (sized 187,000 ft2 (17,370 m2) with max passenger capacity 6500 at a time. Among its amenities are electronic systems to facilitate passenger screening, mobile check-in (for expedite boarding), ATMs, restrooms, waiting and baggage halls, retail shopping area, info kiosks.
Construction works officially started on March 18, 2019. Project's scheduled completion is late-2019 / May 2020. At the new CT3 terminal will be homeported year-round Carnival's largest vessel Mardi Gras (GT 180,000 tons, LNG-powered, capacity 5286 berths / max passengers 6500). The new liner will be LNG-bunkered by a barge.
North (A Side) Cruise terminals (5, 6, 8, 10)
They are located on the A dock at the north side. Along is the Charles M Rowland Drive.
All are up to date and can handle the biggest passenger ships. Especially for Disney Cruise Line ships was built Cruise Terminal 8.
IMPORTANT: For a 5-month refurbishment project in 2020 will be closed Disney Cruise Terminal 8 (June through November). The closure is for installing a new curtainwall-pile (breakwater), removing ticket counters, extending the drop-off canopy, replacing the current seating. Disney's 2020 voyages will not be affected as the company signed a deal to use Terminal 10 until Terminal 8 is renovated.
In 2016, about USD 2,3 million were spent at Disney Terminal 8's renovations. This cruise facility is used exclusively by Disney ships. Cruise Terminal 10 was reopened on November 19, 2016, following USD 35 million expansion and upgrade project which took 6 months to complete. Terminal 10 (1994-built) is used by NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line).
Renovation works included increasing the size of the 2-story terminal building (from 97,050 to 125,825 ft2 / 9016 to 11690 m2). Lower floor's baggage processing area was increased from 42,800 to 64,400 ft2 (3976 to 5983 m2). Upper floor's passengers check-in area was increased from 54,250 to 61,430 ft2 (5040 to 5707 m2).
The development project allowed the terminal to handle larger cruise ships (carrying up to 5,500 passengers). Previously, its max capacity was 3,600 passengers.
Among the major projects of the Cruise Terminal 10 renovations were:
- USD 25,69 million for terminal renovations, with H.J. High of Orlando as contractor. The downstairs area where baggage processing occurs increased from the previous 42,799 ft2 to 64,396 ft2. The upstairs area where passengers check in increased from the previous 54,249 ft2 to 61,428 ft2.
- USD 4,48 million were invested into new mobile Passenger Boarding Bridges (by the Spanish manufacturer ADELTE). The new mobile bridge systems replaced the old fixed gangways and provide better flexibility when used by differently-sized cruise vessels that have different heights and boarding door locations.
- USD 1,79 million were used for the existing cruise pier strengthening. The contractor (Vortex Marine of Oakland, California) used carbon fiber polymer technology to reinforce and extend the pier's life and structural capacity.
In 2016 was completed another (USD 48,4 million) renovation project at Cruise Terminal 5 (used mostly by Carnival Cruise Line). Among the improvements were terminal expansion, pier elongation (by 120 ft / 37 m), new mobile boarding bridges, new parking garage (capacity 1044 cars). The 1991-built Terminal 5 now allows berthing of larger ships (with up to 3500 passengers / previously up to 2500). For the project were contracted a total of 87 companies.
South (B Side) Cruise Terminals (2, 4)
They are located on the B dock at the southwest side. Along is George King Blvd. They were among port's first cruise facilities and can handle not more than 1900 passengers.
(new) Cruise Terminal 1
On November 5, 2016, in Port Canaveral arrived its ever largest passenger ship - Oasis of the Seas. The mega-liner docked at the new "Cruise 1 Terminal" (inaugurated in December 2014). Oasis OTS was homeported here replacing the smaller Freedom OTS.
Facility's main tenant is RCI Royal Caribbean and was designed specifically to handle Oasis-class vessels. The new terminal is sized 188,000 ft2 (17,470 m2) and has a dedicated parking garage with capacity 1007 vehicles. The project cost USD 104,6
Port Canaveral tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center: NASA’s base where Apollo missions have been launched. Watch a movie at the center of IMAX, learn the space exploration future at the Exploration Space show, go to the Apollo Center and the LC39 Gantry or try the Shuttle Launch Experience.
- US Astronaut Hall of Fame: 5 miles away from the Kennedy Space Center. Honor the American astronauts, watch the Science On A Sphere show, try the Sigma 7 Mercury rocket or a real training for astronauts.
- Jetty Park: park at the coastline with a beach, camping and a playground, picnic areas and pavilions. Enjoy the amazing marine traffic view from the pier, favorite place for fishermen and tourists. You can have a coffee, eat or buy something at the Cove Waterfront area, located between the park and the port.
- Cocoa Beach Pier: dating since 1962, Space coast best-known landmark located 4 miles away ftom Port Canaveral. It offers bars, souvenir shops, restaurants, live music and lively beach.
- Orlando Amusement Parks: enjoy the attractions Walt Disney World , Disney/MGM Studios, Universal Studios, Sea World of Florida and much more.
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