What cruise port would you say is the busiest in the world?
Last Friday, a new winner claimed the heavyweight belt based on 2022 passenger data.
It's not New York City. It's not Southampton, England. And it's not Miami—that city lost its lead when the new numbers came out.
The new busiest cruise ship port on Earth is Port Canaveral in the middle of Florida's Atlantic coast. Located about 60 miles east of Walt Disney World, the port is often listed as Orlando because cruises that start or end here are a common add-on for families who vacation in the theme park capital.
The result was a true squeaker. Port Canaveral's tally of eligible passengers was 4,072,396, while Miami's final result was 4,022,544. That's a difference of just 49,852 passengers.
If you're wondering, the next-busiest cruise port in Florida, which also places third in the world, remains Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades. It notched just 1,621,216 eligible passengers.
Port Canaveral could soon pull even farther ahead. It's poised to get dramatically easier to reach, which will only add to its appeal with vacationers.
Later this year, the expanded Brightline rail service from Miami and South Florida is slated to open a new station at Orlando International Airport, just 44 miles from the port. Additionally, the railway authority has purchased land that would enable an additional station to be built in Cocoa, just 10 miles from the port.
Cruise lines with regular departures from Port Canaveral include Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, MSC, and Disney Cruise Line, which uses the facility as its primary home port.
Port Canaveral's new title was announced on Twitter by the official port authority.
PORT CANAVERAL IS THE BUSIEST CRUISE PORT IN THE WORLD: We’ve always aimed to be the best cruise port in the world, but what an achievement to now be known as the busiest,” stated Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray. “This historic milestone is testament https://t.co/WjsuK9WWvH… https://t.co/wTo1i1LE9U pic.twitter.com/2dCRcRZFjQ
— Port Canaveral (@PortCanaveral) February 24, 2023
"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," said the port's CEO, Capt. John Murray, in a statement.
More cruise availability often translates into lower fares, so if you're looking for cheap cruise vacations, make sure to include Port Canaveral in your searches. Cruises from the port tend to favor itineraries in the Western Caribbean and the Bahamas.
The locale also benefits from lower airfares, since deals to Orlando, a popular destination with lots of flight choices, can often be easiser to find than bargains to Miami.