A Guide to Port Canaveral Cruise Port Terminals
Brevard County, Florida, houses one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, Port Canaveral.
While the nearby Port Miami boasts global popularity, Port Canaveral is not without its charm.
It has some of the busiest terminals, seeing more than four million passengers passing through them every year.
You will find cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean International, Disney, and Carnival, offering services from there.
Port Canaveral’s strategic location is what makes it perfect for starting a cruise holiday. It sits an hour East of Orlando, with the towns of Titusville and Cocoa Beach not too far away. So, you can be sure of finding plenty to see and do.
If you are looking for an adventure-filled getaway, then cruising from Orlando is your best option. The region, fondly referred to as the Space Coast, offers a plethora of activities to include in your itinerary.
It has miles of exquisite shorelines, the Kennedy Space Center and theme parks. With such attractions, the destination is perfect for different types of vacations. You can visit the region solo, as a couple on a romantic trip, or with children for fun family time.
Cape Canaveral’s perfect climate means you can enjoy many activities all year. Whether it’s your first cruise or not, Port Canaveral gives you many reasons to begin your journey here.
Learn how to plan your Port Canaveral cruise with tips from this guide. Find information about everything, from how to get around to accommodation ideas in the area.
Port Canaveral in Florida
Cape Canaveral Cruise Terminals
Port Canaveral has several cruise terminals and they are:
A Terminals (North Side) – Exit 54A
- Cruise Terminal #5 – 9245 Charles Rowland Dr.
- Cruise Terminal #6 – 9241 Charles Rowland Dr.
- Cruise Terminal #8 – 9155 Charles Rowland Dr.
- Cruise Terminal #10 – 9005 Charles Rowland Dr.
B Terminals (South Side) – Exit 54B
- Cruise Terminal #1 – 9050 Discovery Rd.
- Cruise Terminal #2 – 180 Christopher Columbus Dr.
- Cruise Terminal #3 – 220 Christopher Columbus Dr.
Getting to Port Canaveral and The Nearest Airports
Knowing how to get to the destination makes planning less complicated. You also save time when you don’t have to look for transportation options at the last minute. This section highlights some alternatives available to get in and around the port.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the area’s main airport within easy reach of the cruise port and one of the busiest in the world. It is a top choice for cruisers. The time it takes from the airport to the port is approximately 45 minutes.
State Road 528 or the Beachline Expressway, is the road to take when going to the port from the airport. Note that the expressway is a toll road whose charges depend on your entry and exit point.
The closest airport is Melbourne International Airport, approx 28 miles from the port. Other options include Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) 61 miles from Port Canaveral and Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB), located around 73 miles from the cruise terminals.
Whether you arrive early or on the day of determines the best transportation modes. We highlight a few below from Orlando International Airport.
Cruise line transfers or shuttles
If you land at the airport on cruise day, the cruise line shuttle service might be your best solution.
Cruise lines have shuttle services that take passengers straight from the airport to the terminal. So, you can count on catching your ship. However, this transport method is expensive, which is why you should consider it only when necessary.
You can opt to use one of the private shuttle services in the area to get around or to get to the port.
Several companies operate shuttles in the city. A good number of them do pick-ups at the airport, but you can find others that get passengers from other locations. Therefore, you can plan your day according to shuttle availability. Independent shuttles are cheaper and reliable.
Check fares for Private Transportation to Cruise Port from Orlando
You can use a hotel shuttle service if you are staying around the area before your cruise. This service is typically available when coming or leaving.
Hotels can arrange your transportation from the airport to the hotel and later to the terminal. The shuttle from your hotel to Port Canaveral won’t cost you much.
If the above means of transport don’t meet your needs, you can consider a few others.
Ride-share services such as Lyft and Uber are examples. You get privacy and convenience, but it will cost you. A taxi serves the same purpose. Renting a car is another practical solution.
A generous number of parking lots serve Port Canaveral, given how busy it gets. Each terminal has a parking space to ease accessibility. After leaving your vehicle, you only have to walk a short distance to the ship.
Hence, if you are driving, the official cruise parking is the most convenient alternative. A flat fee applies to official parking. At the time of writing, the rate is $17 per day. However, if your vehicle is big, it might cost you a daily charge of $29.
Accessibility parking is present in every terminal. If you have special equipment in your vehicle, such as a wheelchair ramp, then you are exempt from parking fees.
Another parking solution is independent lots. You can choose to leave your car in one of the private spaces near the port. Since some of these locations are not too close to the terminals, they provide shuttle services.
Therefore, don’t concern yourself about how you will get to your ship. The appeal of independent parking is low cost. You can pay as little as $10 a day for parking.
Hotels in the cruise town are quick to offer parking spaces to guests. Some places can throw in free parking when you book a stay, while others can include an extra charge.
Best Time to Visit and Cruise from Port Canaveral?
Expect pleasant weather year-round at the Space Coast. It’s why the region attracts tourists throughout. Summer is the best time to go on a cruise. Before sailing away, you can enjoy time at the beach.
From May to the last week of September is the hottest period here. Temperatures drop from December to the start of March. Winters in Cape Canaveral come with little to no rainfall, so you don’t have to worry about rough weather. March to May is peak season. The calm and warm weather makes this time perfect to visit the cruise port.
Late summer to fall is the off-peak cruising season. It’s the best time to land generous deals from cruise lines and other services. You can slash a decent sum off your vacation budget by capitalizing on discounts.
Besides off-peak season, watch out for the last-minute rush when cruise lines are scrambling to fill seats. You can book a great cruise at low prices by waiting until this time. The wave season, which is between January and March, is another period with big sales.
Where to Stay Near the Port?
Being one of the busiest cruise ports, Port Canaveral caters to a wide category of accommodation demands. The region around the port, the airport and nearby towns have hotels for all budgets.
So, you need not worry about finding the right place to stay. Your specific requirements will determine where to stay. For example, if you arrive a couple of days before your cruise, then you might opt to stay near the port to see the sights and be close enough when it’s time to leave.
The following are some options to look into when planning your accommodation.
1. Cape Canaveral (Closest to Port)
The city that houses the cruise port sits on Florida’s coastal region. It’s a buzzing city with an array of restaurants, bars, and entertainment spots. So, you won’t run out of things to do if you will be around for a few days. Resting just south of the port, Cape Canaveral has the region’s biggest hotels. Shuttle services are some of the offerings available for cruise passengers at hotels in the city.
2. Cocoa Beach
The beach has more than enough accommodation choices to serve its influx of visitors throughout the year. With Banana River, the Atlantic Ocean, Crescent Beach, and Port Canaveral surrounding this destination, it’s the perfect location to spend a few days before or after a cruise. You can stay at a boutique hotel a few steps from the ocean or a luxurious suite with all amenities provided. Some options include
Some cruise passengers prefer staying near the airport, especially if they arrive late. Instead of getting accommodation in the port, you can book a room at one of the several hotels close to the Orlando International Airport. It saves you the stress of driving to Cape Canaveral if you arrive a few hours or a day before the cruise. Dining and drinking spots shouldn’t be a problem with the numerous establishments around and near the airport. Hotel recommendations for this location include
Sights to See and Things to Do
The Florida Space provides a wide selection of attractions and activities. All you have to do is stack your itinerary with the most suitable ones for your vacation.
Because it’s a popular embarkation destination for cruises, Port Canaveral works hard to ensure people of all ages have fun while here. Whether you wish to give the kids a good time at one of the various theme parks or learn a few things about space, you have an impressive list to work with.
Whether you intend to spend a few days around the port before or after your cruise, the destination doesn’t disappoint. Here are popular ideas to consider:
The region is not the Space Coast for nothing.
Some of the most incredible activities to indulge in when in the area involve space.
After all, it’s where America’s space program lives, courtesy of the Kennedy Space Center.
Discover astronautical attractions, like shuttles from the Apollo program.
Visit exhibits that showcase how far humans have come in exploring space and the plans in store for future projects.
Do you want to watch a rocket launch? Then you have several locations from which to pick.
The Canaveral National Seashore on Playalinda Beach, the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier, and Titusville’s US Astronaut Hall of Fame are some of the places with rocket launch observation points.
Find the most convenient location where you can combine other activities and get the most out of your vacation.
3. Cocoa Beach
You can’t leave Cape Canaveral without seeing Cocoa Beach, even if it’s just to bask in the sun and catch a sunset.
Located only 20 minutes from the cruise port, Cocoa Beach is a hive of activities.
From surfing to swimming to aerial adventures, you can spend an entire day here and never get enough.
Dine at popular restaurants, hit entertainment spots to unwind, and visit the gift shops along the coastline for souvenirs.
Are you interested in knowing more about the port and its history? Then you can’t afford to leave the Exploration Tower out of your list.
Sitting right in the port, the seven-story structure houses various exhibits that tell the region’s story.
Whatever your age, it’s an awe-inspiring attraction to visit. Learn everything from the port’s origin to the complexities of cruise ship navigation.
Apart from the interactive displays, the Exploration Tower gives magnificent views of the region. You can also watch rockets launching from the observation deck.
Right next to the Kennedy Space Center is a national wildlife refuge that lets you interact with nature.
The 140,000-acre Meritt sanctuary hosts various wildlife species that you can see on your nature walk.
It has manatees, alligators, snapping turtles, bald eagles, wood storks, river otters, and dozens of other animals and plants.
A guided kayak tour allows you to encounter most species at the Meritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Sitting on a riverfront that guarantees stunning scenery, the Manatee Sanctuary Park is the flagship park in the city of Cape Canaveral.
The park’s location next to a manatee’s protected habitat, the Banana River, means you can see the creatures.
However, the sanctuary offers more than manatee sightings.
It’s one of the best places to get some exercise before going on a cruise or after. It has excellent fitness facilities and hiking trails.
(Latest update November 15th 2023)
Please contact us if any information is incorrect or not up-to-date.