The Busiest Cruise Port in Florida is … Not Miami

Port Canaveral near Orlando is the top passenger port in 2022

Norwegian Prima at Port Canaveral’s Cruise Terminal 5
Port Canaveral is home to some of the newest and largest cruise ships in the industry. Canaveral Port Authority

Florida is a paradise for cruise-ship adventurers with five major ports to choose from. And in 2022, for the first time, Miami has ceded the top spot to Port Canaveral in terms of cruise passengers.

The Florida Ports Council has announced that Port Canaveral – east of Orlando on the state’s Atlantic coast – had 4.07 million multi-day passengers in 2022. That tops Miami’s total of 4.02 million.

Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale came in third with 1.6 million passengers, followed by Port Tampa Bay (418,000), Port of Palm Beach (188,000) and JAXPORT in Jacksonville (90,000). The Port of Key West logged 198,000 passengers but is considered a port of call rather than an embarkation port.

Experts don’t expect Port Canaveral’s reign to last too long. Miami projects to have 8 million passengers in 2027 while Canaveral expects closer to 6 million.

Here are some more interesting tidbits about Port Canaveral:

  • It was voted “Best U.S. Cruise Homeport” for the third consecutive year recently by CruiseHive.
  • It’s the closest port to the Central Florida theme parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.
  • It serves Carnival, Disney, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean ships.
  • It’s currently home to Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, right now the biggest cruise ship in the world with room for 7,000 guests.

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