PortMiami is no longer the busiest cruise port in the world, according to a report released by Florida Ports Council, with that title now going to Port Canaveral.
Port Canaveral’s passenger totals during 2022 were 4.21 million, compared to 4.02 million for Port of Miami, but the report predicts that Miami will once more be on top by 2027.
The rise of Port Canaveral as the busiest cruise port in the world is a result of infrastructure investment and the ever-larger cruise ships homeporting year-round, and during the annual Caribbean cruise season.
At the time of writing, 13 cruise ships from five cruise lines (Carnival, Disney, MSC, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean) homeport in Port Canaveral.
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas (an Oasis Class ship with a passenger capacity of 6,780), will begin twice-weekly sailings from Port Canaveral on October 25th.
Marella Cruises will begin cruising from Port Canaveral on May 7th, focusing on the British fly-cruise market.
“We’ve always aimed to be the best cruise port in the world, but what an achievement to now be known as the busiest,” John Murray, CEO, Port Canaveral, told Florida Today.
“This historic milestone is testament to the efforts of our team and cruise partners to provide a best-in-class experience for all cruise guests sailing from Port Canaveral,” he added.
Murray said the new ranking is significant because Port Canaveral always has had “a friendly rivalry” with the PortMiami and Port Everglades. He added that he is not concerned about the projections that Miami will again exceed Port Canaveral in passenger counts by 2027, with 8.40 million passengers that year, compared with Port Canaveral’s 6.43 million.
The numbers are “very speculative,” according to Murray, and Port Canaveral could reach the 2027 projection way before then, with 2023 projections already looking likely to far exceed the 2022 figures.
“We have a very active plan for the future,” Murray said, with Port Canaveral likely to need to build another cruise terminal in the next three to five years, marking a significant turn around in fortunes following the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the port was shutdown for 16 months.
“It’s great to see it coming back strong,” he said. “There’s a lot of economic impact to the state of Florida from all of our cruise ports.”
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