Port of Port Canaveral (Orlando)
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Even with all of these superlatives, most cruise passengers associate Port Canaveral with Orlando, just 45 miles west -- and with Walt Disney World, Universal theme parks and SeaWorld so close, it would be difficult to find a cruise port anywhere that offers access to more theme parks and family-friendly tourist attractions. But, for those who've already had (or care to pass up) the Orlando experience, Port Canaveral is definitely worth a pre- or post-cruise visit.
The port bills itself as Orlando's closest beach with dolphins, manatees, loggerhead turtles and miles of pristine sand -- minus the crowds that are typical of South Florida. A mile and a half of bike paths run throughout Port Canaveral, as well as three parks, including Jetty Park where camping and fishing opportunities abound. The bustling Cove at Port Canaveral features a variety of restaurants and shops.
But, with Port Canaveral smack in the middle of what's known as Florida's 72-mile Space Coast, the premier attraction is the Kennedy Space Center, where guests can meet and talk to actual astronauts. The U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, six miles from the visitors' center, houses the world's largest collection of astronaut memorabilia, as well as displays, exhibits and tributes to the heroes of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.
Port Canaveral is primarily a turnaround port, so for the most part, travelers pass through the area on the way to boarding their cruises. Ships based in Port Canaveral sail itineraries that range in length from three to seven days. Considering its proximity to Orlando, it's no surprise that Disney Cruise Line's fleet homeports there, but Carnival and Royal Caribbean vessels also call Port Canaveral home. It's mostly a turnaround port, but some lines (such as Norwegian Cruise Line and Seabourn) make regular port calls there throughout the year.
Top Port Canaveral (Orlando) Itineraries
Oasis of the Seas7 Night Western Caribbean CruisePort Canaveral , Labadee, Falmouth, Cozumel, Port CanaveralNow
Carnival Liberty3 Day Nassau CruisePort Canaveral , Nassau, Port CanaveralNow
Disney Dream3 Night Bahamian Cruise from Port CanaveralPort Canaveral , Nassau, Castaway Cay, Port CanaveralNow
Disney Fantasy7 Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral with Star Wars Day at SeaPort Canaveral , St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Castaway Cay, Port CanaveralNow
Carnival Magic7 Day Exotic Eastern CaribbeanPort Canaveral , Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk, Port CanaveralNow
Where You're Docked
Port Canaveral Cruise Port Address:
9005 Charles M Rowland Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920
Cruise ships dock at Port Canaveral, about 54 miles from the Orlando International Airport, less than an hour's drive. There are three terminals: Disney docks at its dedicated facility (terminal 8); other ships dock at either terminal five or terminal 10.
Good to Know
If you are lucky, you might be in town for a rocket launch. However, it's hard to plan ahead, due to the frequency of delays because of weather and technical problems. Check with hotels or the Kennedy Space Center for a schedule of space launches.
If you're heading to Orlando remember the summer and school holiday periods, in general, are the busiest seasons. The parks are naturally more crowded then, and lines for rides are longer -- an hour or more in some cases -- which can be frustrating, particularly on a first visit when you want to "see it all."
Not all taxis in Orlando are metered. Before getting into an unmetered taxi, settle on a fare with the driver. If you request a taxi through your hotel, note that sometimes they use nonmetered, limo-service cars that may be more expensive. Clarify that you want to get a taxi, not a limo car.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
The currency is the U.S. dollar. Credit cards are accepted everywhere, and ATM's are available in major hotels and at tourist attractions. On the south side of the port on George King Boulevard is a Wachovia Bank with an ATM. In Orlando, ATM's are available at major hotels and and at all the theme parks.
English is the primary language spoken in Port Canaveral, but you're also very likely to encounter some Spanish.
A T-shirt from the massive Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach -- open 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- is a must. Other unique options include freeze-dried ice cream and other space food from the Kennedy Space Center gift shop.
Any drink that includes orange juice (mimosas and screwdrivers are popular choices) is a sure winner, as Central Florida has numerous orange groves for an abundance of fresh fruit and juice. Or, perhaps, try a beverage that's a bit more exotic like a "Burnt Orange" (brulee orange muddled with agave nectar, Don Julio Tequila, Anejo Tequila, Grand Marnier, orange juice and flaming orange). It's one of the signature cocktails ($13) at Todd English's bluezoo, a trendy restaurant and bar at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort.
More Cruise Itineraries
- Disney Dream Cruises to the Bahamas
- Disney Fantasy Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
- Enchantment of the Seas Cruises to the Bahamas
- Carnival Sunshine Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
- Oasis of the Seas Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
- Carnival Magic Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
- Majesty of the Seas Cruises to the Bahamas