Port Report: PORT CANAVERAL, FL
Royal Caribbean is one of many cruise lines that home ports several ships at Port Canaveral, located along Florida's East Central coast near space and theme park attractions.*
Space Coast Cruising
Rockets to Popularity
By Lizz Dinnigan
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know Port Canaveral is the quintessential cruise launch site. Centrally located on Florida’s central east coast, the port is so popular that 4.5 million cruise passengers sailed from here last year.
Clever families can combine an Orlando/Disneyworld (about an hour west) vacation with a cruise departing Port Canaveral.
At right, children are shown at Disney's Animal Kingdom with Pluto.*
Or, cruisers might arrive a day early to explore the unforgettable NASA Kennedy Space Center (www.kennedyspacecenter.com) and the U.S. Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory (www.brevardcc.edu/planet/).
Both space attractions are about a 25-minute drive of the cape. The Kennedy Space Center is the only place in the world where you can tour launch areas, meet an astronaut, see rockets up close and train in spaceflight simulators.
But you don’t have to travel far to keep busy until your cruise departs. Port Canaveral's Cove waterfront recreation area has 12 eateries and lounges, ranging from a tiki bar to an upscale seafood and oyster bar to a sub shop.
The port also fields bike paths, boat charters, a casino ship and at night, dancing and karaoke. Three on-site public parks feature extensive recreational facilities.
Visitors particularly enjoy the 35-acre Jetty Park with its beach and campground as well as the quieter, four-acre Port’s End Park.
Editor's Tip: The port's Jetty Park is a very popular place for witnessing a Space Shuttle launch.
Excellent highway signage will direct travelers to the facility. The port's cruise facilities include six tropical-themed cruise embarkation terminals measuring between 24,000 and 80,000 square feet, each with its own parking garage.
The visitor parking rate is $12 per day; oversize vehicles pay double. Cash, Visa, Mastercard and travelers’ checks are accepted. Reservations are not necessary.
Port Canaveral’s east-west highway links are state roads 528 (the Beachline), 520 and 50. These highways intersect with U.S. Highway 1, Interstate 95, the Florida Turnpike and Interstate 4.
The closeness of the excellent local roadway system to the port terminals is visible above.*
For directions to the port, visit (www.portcanaveral.org/directions.php).
Orlando International Airport is about an hour west (www.orlandoairports.net), and Melbourne International Airport (www.mlbair.com) is 50 minutes south.
A one-way taxi trip from Orlando to Port Canaveral is at least $105, so be prepared with enough cash if you plan to catch a cab to the port.
Cruising from Port Canaveral
Cruisers will find six modern terminals awaiting their cruise embarkation at Port Canaveral.*
Cruise lines embarking/disembarking at Port Canaveral in 2007 and early 2008 are:
- Carnival Cruise Line: Carnival Sensation and Carnival Glory
- Disney Cruise Line: Disney Magic and Disney Wonder
- Royal Caribbean International: Mariner of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas
Among the cruise lines featuiring a port call at Port Canaveral in 2007 and early 2008 are:
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Spirit
There are several options for accessing local attractions from the port.
During busy cruise embarkation and disembarkation periods, shuttles and taxis are either outside all cruise terminals or can be called.
Space Coast Area Transit (www.ridescat.com) operates local public trolley service for $1.25 one way between the port and 13th Street in nearby Cocoa Beach.
Visitor representatives also regularly staff kiosks at cruise terminals (such as the one shown at right). They will assist cruise visitors in understanding the tourism options available in the area.
Future plans at Port Canaveral include the $147 million Ron Jon World tourist complex.
Opening in 2008, it will be located on 26 acres of port-owned land on the Banana River.
This new Ron Jon attraction will include a flagship Ron Jon surf shop, 400-room hotel, water park, board sports attraction, and restaurant and bar.
For More Information
Port Canaveral Cruise Port Telephone: 321-783-7831
Cruise Port Web: www.portcanaveral.org
Local Tourist Information: www.space-coast.com
The cruise terminal serving Royal Caribbean and its nearby parking garage are shown at left.*
Lizz Dinnigan is a freelance writer and copy editor for SouthernTravelNews.com™ and SouthernCruising.com™. She is the former associate editor - cruise for Travel Agent Magazine, a major national weekly trade publication.
*Photos are owned, copyrighted and used courtesy of Port Canaveral or Walt Disney World Resort. All rights reserved. Please do not copy nor link to these photos. Thank you.