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Port Canaveral cruises: A guide to cruising from the Orlando area

Sailing out of Port Canaveral might not be as picturesque as cruising from PortMiami, but don’t underestimate the experience. Lucky passengers might witness a rocket launch from the neighboring NASA complex or see dolphins playing in the wake as the ships sail past the shoreline of Jetty Park on the way out to sea.

And while you might be more familiar with the Miami and Fort Lauderdale departure ports, you are as likely to sail from the Orlando-area, Central Florida port as you are from one of the East Coast ports. In 2023, the bustling port brought in 6.8 million cruise passengers, served as the home port for 13 ships and scheduled 906 ship calls.

From Port Canaveral, you can sail to the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Bermuda and even across the Atlantic on cruises of two to 14 nights. Seven major cruise lines currently sail from Port Canaveral: Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and MSC Cruises.

The port is (or soon will be) home to some of the newest and most popular cruise ships, including Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas and new Utopia of the Seas and Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wish and new Disney Treasure.

Getting to the port is easy as it’s accessible from Interstate 95 and close to three airports — though it’s nearly an hour’s drive from Orlando International Airport (MCO). Whether you want to overnight by the airport or close to the port, you will find a range of hotels to suit every budget and loyalty program affiliation.

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Port Canaveral cruise port overview


Port Canaveral cruise terminal information

Each of the cruise terminals at Port Canaveral has a different address. Here is a list of the cruise lines sailing from Port Canaveral and their affiliated terminals.

A terminals’ addresses

Cruise Terminal No. 5: 9245 Charles Rowland Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 (Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line)
Cruise Terminal No. 6: 9241 Charles Rowland Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 (Carnival Cruise Line)
Cruise Terminal No. 8: 9155 Charles Rowland Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 (Disney Cruise Line)
Cruise Terminal No. 10: 9005 Charles Rowland Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 (Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises)

B terminals’ addresses

Cruise Terminal No. 1: 9050 Discovery Road, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 (Royal Caribbean)
Cruise Terminal No. 2: 180 Christopher Columbus Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL, 32920 (Overflow)
Cruise Terminal No. 3: 220 Christopher Columbus Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 (Carnival Cruise Line)

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Related: How to book a cruise using points and miles

Number of terminals: 7

Port Canaveral is accessible, but contact your cruise line if you need a transfer from the terminal entrance to the ship.

Even though Port Canaveral is a departure port for many cruise lines, it can also be a port of call for ships sailing from the Northeast. Currently, some Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises ships spend a day in Port Canaveral on select itineraries through September.

Port Canaveral cruise ship schedule

Airports near Port Canaveral cruise port

Three airports serve the Port Canaveral cruise port. The most popular is Orlando International Airport (MCO), which is about 50 minutes away. Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB) is also about 50 minutes away, and Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) is about an hour from the port.

Most major airlines, including Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, American Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, fly into MCO.

If you’re flying into MLB, current carriers include Allegiant Air, American and Delta.

At SFB, the main option is Allegiant.

Related: Best airline credit cards

Depending on which airport you’re flying into and which airline you’ve booked, you might be able to cut costs with companion passes. Southwest offers this deal to travelers who earn 135,000 qualifying points or take 100 qualifying one-way flights in a calendar year. Those traveling with Delta can also get a companion ticket with a few of the Delta and American Express cobranded credit cards.

Because no one likes waiting around in a chaotic airport terminal after a cruise, you might want to bring a credit card that provides you with lounge access. MCO offers seven different lounges, including a Priority Pass lounge called Club MCO. Priority Pass membership starts at $99, or you can get access as a travel perk from a credit card such as the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

American Airlines passengers can access The Admirals Club with a Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® (see rates and fees), which includes a complimentary Admirals Club lounge pass. The Delta Sky Club is open to travelers with paid lounge access via a subscription or one-time paid visit, or those who have select Delta-branded American Express cards.

Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access

How to get to the Port Canaveral cruise port

Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras departing from Port Canaveral, Florida. PAUL HENNESSY/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

Whether you’re headed straight from the airport or from a pre-cruise hotel, you have several options on how to get to the Port Canaveral cruise port. If you are headed straight to Port Canaveral from the airport, be sure to give yourself at least three hours. Your plane should land no later than 10 a.m. to ensure you can claim any luggage, get your ride and get to the port before the boarding time ends in the afternoon without feeling rushed and flustered.

Cruise line transfers

Many cruise lines that sail from Port Canaveral offer transfer services from the airport or a hotel directly to the terminal. Talk to your travel agent to be sure it’s part of your overall travel package, and if it’s not, ask if you can buy the transfers individually.

For example, Disney Cruise Line can offer ground transportation from local airports to the embarkation port and back to the airport when the cruise is over. The transfer is a per-person flat fee that must be added to your cruise reservation in advance through the Disney Cruise Line app. The round-trip cost is $90 per person. If you only need one-way service, you have to call Disney Cruise Line to reserve.

Related: Should I book my flight through my cruise line?

Independent airport shuttles

Cruisers looking for a transfer to and from the airport, hotel or cruise terminal can do so with independent airport shuttles. Consider companies like Airport Canaveral, where shared shuttle rides in a minibus start at $20 per person and a private van starts at $125 a ride for up to five people. If you need more room for larger parties and still want a private ride, you can rent a private Sprinter shuttle starting at $220. Airport Canaveral currently serves MCO and MLB.

Prices for these services are one-way.

You’ll want to consider a few criteria when deciding between a cruise transfer or an independent shuttle. The first is how big your party is. Cruise-branded transfers are often per-person costs, while individual transfers are one price for a set amount of customers.

For example, if four people are taking a Disney cruise, the total cost for a cruise-run transfer would be $360 for round-trip service from the airport to the terminal and back to the airport at the end of your trip. For the same group, Airport Canaveral can supply a private van for $300 round-trip (the price for up to five people).

It often makes more financial sense for solo travelers or small groups of two or three to take a cruise line transfer, but larger groups can save money with independent transfers.

Beyond party size and total cost, consider time and accessibility. On a cruise-run transfer, you might have to wait for an entire busload of guests to arrive and get loaded onto the bus before departing the airport. With a private transfer, you can leave when you’re ready and not have to wait for anyone else.

Additionally, most of the cruise-run transfers are on large buses, which might not be the most accessible option for folks who have trouble with stairs. If you’re traveling with someone with mobility challenges, a private transfer can offer more flexibility in the type of car or shuttle you book.

Independent car services

Travelers who want a private transfer can also book an independent car or van service. Prices for car services from MCO to Port Canaveral can start around $200 for a one-way trip in a luxury car that can accommodate three people. If you need a larger vehicle, a van or SUV can start around $225 and has seats for up to six people.

Orlando Luxury Transportation is a highly rated black car service that offers airport-cruise port connections. You can book a luxury SUV from MCO to Port Canaveral for five people for around $230 or a Sprinter van seating up to 14 people for around $300.

Taxis and ride-hailing services

Getting a taxi to Port Canaveral is fairly easy. Taxi stands are on Level One of Terminals A and B at MCO. If you’re flying into the new Terminal C, curbside arrivals are on Level Six.

Four cab companies serve MCO: Diamond Cab Company, Quick Cab, Town & Country Transport and Mears Taxi Yellow/City Cab. The cabs can carry up to nine passengers and charge the same fare no matter how many people are in the car. Fares are determined by a meter, but the average fare to Port Canaveral is about $115.

For a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft, head to Level Two at Terminals A and B or Level Six at Terminal C. The average route price is $69 for an Uber X and $94 for an Uber XL from MCO to Port Canaveral. Be aware that it can occasionally be challenging to get a driver to actually show up because some don’t want to drive all the way to Port Canaveral from the airport if they think they won’t be able to get a fare back to MCO.

Related: Frequent Uber or Lyft user? These are the best credit cards for you

Hotel shuttles

Many of the hotels near Port Canaveral offer shuttle service to the port. Free transfers or rental car parking can be a challenge to find, so contact the property to inquire about options before making a reservation. Hotel shuttle transfer costs can vary based on the location and type of hotel, but many cost around $10 per person.

Port Canaveral cruise port parking


On-site parking

Port Canaveral has a mix of parking garages and surface lots where you can park at your assigned terminal. On embarkation day, the parking facilities are open starting at 10 a.m. Parking costs $17 per day, plus tax, for standard vehicles and recreational vehicles. All payments are made with credit cards, and cash is not accepted. If you are parking at the Terminal 3 parking garage, E-PASS and SunPass are also accepted as payment.

You can drop your luggage off with the porters at the terminal before parking. Security makes the rounds through garages and surface lots daily.


If you’re driving to the port, but want a cheaper alternative to parking on-site, consider a park-and-cruise option. These lots offer secure parking with a cruise shuttle for a set fee.

Park N Cruise Port Canaveral offers a parking lot 2 miles from the port for $10.95 per day. The parking fee includes a free shuttle for up to four people, and additional passengers cost $5 per person. Shuttles depart every 30 minutes for the terminal.

If you plan on spending the night at a nearby hotel, look for ones that offer a park-and-cruise package that includes a hotel stay and parking for the duration of your cruise. The Hampton Inn Cocoa Beach/Cape Canaveral offers a “Park, Stay, & Go” deal where you can book a room for one night and get included parking for up to seven nights, plus shuttle service to Port Canaveral.

No matter where you park, give yourself plenty of time to get to the terminal. For convenience, park at one of the on-site lots or garages. To save some money, check in to a nearby hotel or park in an off-site lot.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Hotels near Port Canaveral cruise port


You won’t find a lack of hotel choices around Port Canaveral, especially in Cocoa Beach, which is the nearest city to the port. It’s about 15 minutes away and a straight shot down state Road A1A from the cruise terminals. Since Port Canaveral and Cocoa Beach are on the same barrier island, you’ll find everything from beachfront hotels to basic accommodations near the cruise terminals, though you’ll have more options the deeper into Cocoa Beach you’re willing to travel.

For those who want to or need to stay in Orlando because of a late arriving flight or better points options, there are some good options near the airport in the cool Lake Nona neighborhood.

Hilton hotels near Port Canaveral

Two hotels that offer clean stays and quick overnights are the Homewood Suites by Hilton Cape Canaveral-Cocoa Beach and the Hilton Garden Inn Cocoa Beach Oceanfront (50,000 and 46,000 points per night, respectively).

Both are in convenient locations about 10 minutes from the cruise terminal and are walkable to nearby restaurants. The Homewood Suites by Hilton offers free breakfast, while the Hilton Garden Inn has breakfast for a fee. Either way, don’t fill up on hotel pancakes when there’s an incredible lunch waiting for you on the ship.

Related: Best Hilton credit cards

Marriott hotels near Port Canaveral

If you’re traveling with a large or extended family, consider staying at the Springhill Suites Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach (32,000 points per night, so you could use a Marriott 35k free night certificate on some dates of the year).

The all-suite hotel has a port shuttle that costs $10.80 per person one-way, and you must call the hotel to reserve a transfer. Additionally, the hotel offers complimentary breakfast to get your day going.

Another all-suite option is the TownePlace Suites Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach (31,000 points per night). The new hotel offers free breakfast and has two bars, including one out by the pool so adults can enjoy a cocktail while kids swim.

If you’re planning to spend a few days in Orlando before your cruise, consider staying at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes (42,000 points per night). The 500-acre property is just a short drive to the theme parks for families but far enough away that it feels like an adult retreat if you don’t have kids. The resort just completed a multimillion-dollar renovation, including upgrading all of the rooms and suites and adding a new water park and poolside burger bar.

Hyatt hotels near Port Canaveral

If your flight into MCO is late, consider the Hyatt Place Orlando Airport for a pre-cruise stay (9,500 points per night).

The hotel offers free breakfast, a pool and digital check-in, the latter of which is great for late incoming flights. After a good night’s rest, hop on the hotel’s free airport shuttle to get a ride to Port Canaveral from MCO, which will be easier to book than a ride from the hotel itself.

Non-points hotels

The Cocoa Beach area is rife with boutique hotels and accommodations that don’t participate in the three major loyalty programs.

One of our favorites is The Inn at Cocoa Beach, which is right on the water. The inn has 50 rooms and is adults-only. The hotel offers a full breakfast, complimentary wine and cheese hour, beach chairs, a pool and free on-site parking.

If you’re looking for a high-end hotel in Orlando to spend the night, consider the Lake Nona Wave Hotel in the heart of the booming Lake Nona neighborhood. The hotel is only 6 miles from the airport and offers luxurious suites that start at 875 square feet, with separate living room and bedroom sleeping quarters, plus a whole bath and half bath. The hotel also has one Michelin-recommended restaurant, Bacan, where the whole truffle roasted chicken is not to be missed.

Restaurants near Port Canaveral cruise port

If you need to grab breakfast or dinner during your pre-cruise stay, you’ll find plenty of dining options in Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral, including beachfront seafood and great burgers. State Road A1A and state Road 520 are the main routes through the city, and that’s where you’ll find most of the restaurants.

For a great drink right off state Road A1A, try Ellie Mae’s Tiki Bar, where you can score half-off cocktails every Wednesday through Friday from 2 to 5 p.m.

If you want to wave at departing cruise ships before or after you set sail yourself, head to one of the port-facing restaurants on Glen Cheek Drive. Most of the restaurants have spacious outdoor patios where you can dine and bid bon voyage to the ships as you eagerly await the start of your own vacation at sea. A local favorite is Seafood Atlantic, which has been working with local fishermen to bring in the freshest seafood in the area since 1984.

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Things to do in Port Canaveral before or after your cruise

Cruise ship enters Port Canaveral from the Atlantic Ocean viewed from Cocoa Beach, Florida. PETER TITMUSS/UCG/UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP/GETTY IMAGES

Since Port Canaveral is right in the middle of the state of Florida, the cruise port can be a central hub for an extended stay. If you only have a few days to extend your vacation, here are the best things you must do.

Explore the beaches

Florida is known for its beautiful beaches. If you’re looking for a sandy shore right next to Port Canaveral, Cocoa Beach is the spot. If you’re willing to travel a bit farther, Daytona Beach has plenty of shoreline. Just be sure to skip the beach during the busy spring break season since both areas are known for an influx of college parties.

Related: What to do on Florida’s Space Coast when you need a break from the theme parks

Hit a theme park or 2

Going to an Orlando theme park is a rite of passage for many families with kids. If you’re cruising out of Port Canaveral, consider adding a few days to the front of your trip to explore Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando Resort (featuring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter). Both have multiple parks, on-site hotels and transportation options to and from the airport. If your family wishes to explore Disney, you can also book transfers to and from your Disney hotel to Port Canaveral.

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Just 30 minutes from Port Canaveral is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where you can learn about NASA and space exploration. Don’t miss taking the bus tour of the facility, which is about two hours long and includes a stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

If you think rockets are cool, you will want to check the rocket launch schedule for Cape Canaveral before leaving home. If you’re lucky, you might be in Port Canaveral or Cocoa Beach to watch a launch. Depending on the time of day, you might already be on your cruise ship, in which case, the entire ship will start to shake as a rocket lifts off.

If you’re not on your ship, the best places to watch are either from the beaches or the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier.

Shopping near Port Canaveral cruise port

If you left something at home by accident or need to stock up on supplies like bottled water for a cruise, you’ll want to head to one of the major shopping centers near Port Canaveral.

The Avenue Viera is about 30 minutes from the port. The open-air mall has retailers like Kohl’s, Belk and Old Navy if you need to grab a new outfit or swimsuit. The Merritt Square Mall is about 15 minutes from Port Canaveral and has large department stores like JCPenney and Sears, plus specialty stores.

If you need to bring snacks or water onto the ship, you’ll find a Publix grocery store about 10 minutes from the port. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with your cruise line’s policies regarding carrying on prepackaged snacks, soda, alcohol and bottled water, as many limit what you can bring.

If you’re looking for a souvenir shop, Cocoa Beach’s North Atlantic Avenue is dotted with cute places to find T-shirts and tchotchkes. Favorites include Alvin’s Island, The Funky Mermaid Cocoa Beach and Ron Jon Surf Shop.

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