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As one of the easiest vacations to plan, cruises offer a quick and easy escape. Whether it’s a 3-night Bahamas cruise or a 9-night Caribbean cruise, make this the year to sail the aqua blue waters and sit on a perfect white sand beach. The homeport for Disney Cruise Line, Port Canaveral is one of the largest cruise ports in the world. Read on for the details you need to know if you’re planning a cruise that leaves from Port Canaveral, Florida.
Disclosure: Brands mentioned provided some consideration.
As one of the busiest ports in the world, Port Canaveral serves cargo and naval ships in addition to cruise ships. At last count, 4.5 million cruise passengers departed out of Port Canaveral, averaging about 10 ships a day.
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It’s the homeport for several cruise ships from Carnival Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International. Port Canaveral is just 45 miles east of Orlando, making it easy to spend a few days at Disney World, Universal Studios or one of the other Florida theme parks before heading out on your cruise.
Nearby Florida Airports
Orlando International Airport (airport code: MCO) offers flights to 135 different domestic and international destinations. With 850 flights on 44 different airlines, it’s the 10th largest airport in the United States.
Orlando Sanford (SFB) is serviced by Allegiant Air from several destinations across the U.S.
Orlando Melbourne (MLB) features service from Delta Airlines to Atlanta. And American Airlines offers flights to Charlotte, North Carolina, and Philadelphia.
Carnival Cruise Line
Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal is the homeport for several of Carnival’s ships — the Breeze, Elation, Liberty and soon-to-launch Mardi Gras. Cruise offerings range from 3-night Bahamas cruises to 8-night Southern Caribbean cruises.
Carnival Breeze sails to the Eastern Caribbean on a 7-night cruise, with a passenger capacity of 3,690. Ports-of-call include the Dominican Republic, the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk. The Breeze also sails a 7-night Western Caribbean cruise with stops at Cozumel, Belize, Roatan and Costa Maya, Mexico.
The Carnival Elation sails 4-night cruises to the Bahamas with a passenger capacity of 2,130, and two 5-night Eastern Caribbean cruises including one with Grand Turk and the Dominican Republic ports-of-call. The other cruise stops in the Bahamas and Grand Turk.
Carnival Liberty sails 3-night and 4-night Bahamas cruises with several ports-of-call. Its passenger capacity is 2,970.
The Carnival Mardi Gras, a new megaship that will carry 5,200 passengers, will launch in late 2020. The Carnival Victory will be revamped and renamed Carnival Radiance. It is scheduled to debut late 2020 with 2,700 passengers.
Read More: Complete Guide to Planning a Family Cruise
Norwegian Cruise Line
The NCL Breakaway, with a passenger capacity of 3,960, sails 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Ports-of-call include: Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; Jamaica; Grand Cayman; Puerto Rico, and Cozumel, Mexico.
The Sun, with a passenger capacity of 1,970, sails 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises as well as 5-night western Caribbean cruises that stop in Key West and Mexico ports-of-call.
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Royal Caribbean International
Harmony of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s larger ships, is so big that it’s divided into neighborhoods. It sails 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises. Find ports-of-call such as Royal’s private island, Coco Cay, as well as St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.; St. Kitts; Puerto Rico; St. Maarten; Roatan, Honduras; Cozumel, and Costa Maya.
Mariner of the Seas has a passenger capacity of 4,250 passengers. It sails 3- and 4-night Caribbean cruises to the Bahamas, with a stop at Coco Cay.
Disney Cruise Line
Port Canaveral is the homeport for sister ships Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Both carry about 4,000 passengers. Find an on-board water coaster and enjoy fireworks during your cruise.
Disney Dream offers 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises. Ports-of-call include Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
Disney Fantasy offers 3- and 4-night Bahamas cruises, too. Additionally, the Fantasy offers a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise, stopping at Tortola, B.V.I.; St. Thomas, U.S.V.I., and Castaway Cay. The 7-night Western Caribbean cruise stops at Cozumel; Georgetown, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica, and Castaway Cay.
Read More: Complete Family Cruise Packing List
Find five cruise terminals with parking garages nearby or attached. Each offers an area for cruise passenger pick up and drop off.
Cruise Terminal 1
Used exclusively by Royal Caribbean, this terminal is the closest to The Cove restaurant area. Includes more than 1,000 parking spaces in a garage. Located at 9050 Discovery Road.
Cruise Terminal 3
Under construction and to be used for Carnival’s new Mardi Gras, CT3 will be called The Launch Pad. It is next to Jetty Park and will offer more than 1,800 parking places.
Cruise Terminal 5
Used by Carnival cruise ships and includes a parking garage. Located at 9245 Charles Rowland Dr.
Cruise Terminal 6
Carnival cruise ships use this terminal and it includes a parking garage. Located at 9241 Charles Rowland Dr.
Cruise Terminal 8
Used by Disney Cruise Lines and features a parking garage with 1,000 spaces. Located at 9155 Charles Rowland Dr.
Cruise Terminal 10
Norwegian Cruise Ships use the CT10. It features a parking garage with 1,200 spaces along with an outdoor lot. Located at 9005 Charles Rowland Dr.
What to do at Florida’s Space Coast
This seven-story indoor-outdoor observation tower is a must-do before or after your cruise. Part museum and part space observation platform, this is the place to learn about the area’s maritime history along with hands-on displays about the region.
VIP Launch Tickets are available in advance for upcoming launches, including SpaceX launches.
Located at 670 Dave Nisbet Dr. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission $6.50 and kids (3 to 10) is $3.75.
Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar
Overlooking the harbor, Rusty’s offers a casual dining atmosphere. Find a tiki bar, deck and indoor seating with live music most nights. The menu is mainly seafood, grilled, streamed, raw and fried.
Located at 628 Glen Cheek Dr. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Ron Jon Surf Shop
Got teens? Then head to this iconic 24-hour surf shop.
Located at 4151 N. Atlantic Ave. in Cocoa Beach.
Kennedy Space Center
Learn about what’s happening in space at the premier NASA Visitor Center.
First up, see the retired Space Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis. Walk through the Rocket Garden to see a visual history of the evolution of the rocket. Another must is the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Also board the tour buses for the working Kennedy Space Center’s Spaceflight Center, including a look at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Don’t miss the upcoming Mission to Mars with live shows and interactive exhibits.
Located at Space Commerce Way. Adult admission is $57, and kids 3 to 11 are $47, this includes the bus tour and IMAX film. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., later during holiday breaks and summer.
Rocket Launch Viewing Point
Check out NASA’s launch schedule before your cruise out of Port Canaveral. If one is scheduled, make it a point to see a launch. It’s exciting and something the kids will remember.
Located at FL 401, Cape Canaveral. This site is free and offers a limited amount of bleacher seating.
Sands Space History Center
As the former Air Force Space and Missile History Center, learn about the launches from the Air Force’s launch complex.
Located at 100 Spaceport Way. Open Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday from 9.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Free
Jetty Park Beach and Pier
Find the 35-acre park near the Port of Canaveral. Swim there under the watchful eye of a life guard. Or fish off the pier.
Also find tent campsites, RV sites and cabins for rent along with food concessions. Located at 9035 Campground Dr. Camping additional.