Cruise Ports In Florida (With Map)

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Cruises depart from destinations all over the world. You can explore almost every region of the globe on a cruise, whether you want to sail around the Mediterranean, or experience the Caribbean, or South America, Asia, Australia and so on…

So it might surprise you to learn that one single US state is home to not just the world’s busiest cruise port, but actually the top 3 cruise ports in the world.

Cruise Ships in Miami Port

And it has other cruise ports as well.

I am, of course, talking about Florida, which has millions of people passing through its terminals every year, many of whom will be exploring the Caribbean and Bahamas but others sailing to further afield destinations too.

In this guide, I’ll take you through all the details of the different cruise ports, which cruise lines sail from them, and how to get to them.

How many cruise ports are in Florida?

There are six cruise ports in Florida – Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville and Palm Beach. Some websites may only list five ports, as the Palm Beach port accommodates ships from only two smaller cruise lines.

The largest port in the world is the Port of Miami, with Port Canaveral and Port Everglades just behind it. Tampa is still a pretty popular port as is Jacksonville, but a lot of people forget to include Palm Beach when talking about Florida ports just because of how much smaller it is.

In order of popularity (by number of cruise passengers who visited the port), the six ports are:

  1. Port of Miami (Miami)
  2. Port Canaveral (Orlando)
  3. Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale)
  4. Port Tampa Bay (Tampa)
  5. Jaxport (Jacksonville)
  6. Port of Palm Beach (Palm Beach)

It’s worth noting that for this guide I’ve had to rely on the cruise passenger information from a little while ago – the organization which compiles this info hasn’t updated it for a few years, but this still gives an indication of the size of the ports.

Check out the cruise port traffic stats if you want to know more.

Map of Florida Cruise Ports

Here’s a map of the cruise ports in Florida, so you can easily see where they are in relation to each other:

Map of Florida Cruise Ports

Now, I’ll go into a little detail about of the ports…

1. Port of Miami

The Port of Miami is not just the largest cruise port in Florida – it’s the busiest port in the whole world, with around 5.3 million cruise passenger visits according to the latest stats, and typically around 1,200 cruise ship visits every year – an average of around 4 ships every single day.

Cruise Ships in Miami Port

Many of the largest cruise lines in the world use the port of Miami for embarkation, including:

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Carnival
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Seabourn

And many smaller cruise lines do too. It’s equipped to handle the biggest ships in the world – the Oasis-class ships, and soon the Icon-class ships for Royal Caribbean – but smaller luxury ships use the port as well.

The nearest airport to the port is Miami International Airport, which is around a 10-mile drive, taking typically 20-40 minutes by cab (depending on traffic, which can get pretty hectic). Miami is a large airport and many cruise passengers will be able to fly directly to the airport from their home country.

If you do find yourself with a pre- or post-cruise night in Miami due to your flights, there’s loads to see and do within easy reach of the port.

Head to Miami Beach, or explore the vibrant shops of Midtown. There are a number of museums, and there are some fantastic restaurants to choose from as well.

2. Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral may not be quite as busy or large as Miami in terms of passenger numbers, but it is still substantial – it has around 4.5 million cruise passengers coming through the port each year, and is visited by around 1,400 ships – which is more than Miami tends to average.

Cape Canaveral, USA. The arial view of port Canaveral from cruise ship

The port is another that is visited by many of the major cruise lines in the world, including:

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Carnival
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC

It’s not quite as varied as the number of cruise lines sailing from Miami, but you still get some of the largest ships in the world calling here, including Wonder of the Seas.

The nearest airport to Port Canaveral is Melbourne Orlando International Airport, which is 27.5 miles from the port, so around a 45-minute drive.

Most international passengers would fly into Orlando International Airport though, which is around 46 miles away, although thanks to the direct roads it has a similar journey time.

Orlando and the surrounding area are obviously packed with great attractions for a pre- or post-cruise adventure. While there are lots of things to do near Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal, the Kennedy Space Center being one of the biggest within a short distance.

There are loads of fun family activities near the port, including mini golf, beaches, escape rooms, manatee sanctuaries and more, while both Universal Studios and Disney World are around a 1-hour drive from the port.

3. Port Everglades

Port Everglades is the third-busiest cruise port in Florida and in the world, with an estimated number of passengers coming through the port of around 3.8 million per year.

View of Port Everglades

That’s pretty huge, when you consider that Barcelona – the biggest port in Europe – has 1.1 million fewer cruise passengers every year. And Port Everglades averages around 850 ship visits a year too, so it’s still typically more than two per day on average.

There are a smaller number of cruise lines that do visit the port though:

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Holland America Line
  • Silversea
  • Viking Ocean Cruises

The nearest airport to Port Everglades is the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and it is super close – less than 4 miles, taking around 10 minutes in a cab on a quiet traffic day, and there are regular shuttle buses running too. Getting to the port from the airport really couldn’t be easier.

If you have time before or after your cruise, the Fort Lauderdale beaches are excellent – they may not be as well-known as Miami’s beach but they are just as stunning and a little quieter too.

There’s not a huge range of famous attractions nearby beyond that though, although you can always find good restaurants and some interesting shops within easy reach.

As the airport and cruise port are so close, I’d suggest booking one of the best hotels near Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port and enjoying the facilities for a day before your cruise. This will also provide you with a handy place to store your lugagge.

4. Port Tampa Bay

The port in Tampa is significantly smaller than the three major ports in Florida – it has a typical passenger number of around 1 million each year. This still puts it in probably the top 30 ports in the world, around a similar size to New Orleans, Juneau and Piraeus, the port for Athens.

Tampa Skyline Florida

Despite its smaller size, it still plays home to ships for some of the biggest cruise lines in the world… just not the biggest ships in their fleet. Often it’s the older ships that homeport in Tampa Bay.

The cruise lines visiting the port include:

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Carnival
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Marella Cruises

It’s around a 30-40 minute drive on average from the port to the nearest airport, which is Tampa International Airport, around 10 miles from the port. The drive does take you through the city though which is why the journey time tends to be a little longer.

But because you travel right through the city, you can easily find a good central hotel if you need to stay over before or after your cruise due to your flights. This also has you well-placed to explore, where you could visit Busch Gardens theme park, or the ZooTampa, the Florida Aquarium or Big Cat Rescue if you’re sailing with kids who love wildlife.

5. Jaxport

Jaxport, situated in Jacksonville, is significantly smaller again than Tampa and so is much, much smaller than the big three ports. Typical passenger numbers are around 360,000 annually, with around 75 or so ship visits each year.

Photo Credit: JAXPORT, (CC, BY-NC 2.0)

And most of those ship visits are Carnival, specifically the Carnival Elation. It’s one of the smaller ships in the Carnival fleet but it still offers a fun experience. American Cruise Lines is a smaller cruise line that also has multiple ship visits to Jaxport, including American Star and MS Independence.

Jacksonville International Airport, the nearest airport to Jaxport, is around 13 miles from the terminal, with a typical journey time between 20 and 30 minutes.

If you do have time to kill in Jacksonville before or after your cruise, check out the Museum of Science and History, or the popular Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. There’s also a tiger conservation centre too.

6. Port of Palm Beach

The Port of Palm Beach is based in West Palm Beach to the north of Miami. It’s a significantly smaller port than the others on this list, and is served by very few cruise lines.

West Palm Beach, Florida (US)

The main cruise line that uses the port is American Queen Voyages, whose smaller ships explore some of the lesser-known destinations around the US coastline. SeaDream also has yachts making very occasional visits to the port.

More commonly, you’ll find cruises to the Bahamas from the port for the Margaritaville at Sea ‘cruise line’ – more a holiday experience than a traditional cruise line. These 2-night and 3-night cruises are very much about the experience of that fun ‘Margaritaville’ party than a traditional cruise holiday.

The nearest airport to the port is Palm Beach International Airport, which is around 11 miles away by car. While it is an international airport, it is normally served by internal US flights.

There are some good beaches not too far from the port, along with the popular Manatee Lagoon attraction, but it’s not as tourist-y a place as Miami or Fort Lauderdale if you were flying in the day before.

What is the best cruise port in Florida?

There isn’t really a ‘best’ cruise port because it will depend on which cruise line and ship you want to sail on, and where you want to go. Miami and Port Everglades are the two biggest but many people enjoy Port Canaveral if combining a cruise and a theme park holiday.

Most people don’t tend to have a favourite port when it comes to disembarkation though, unless there’s one that they live closer to.

Since most people cruising from Florida will be travelling to the state from elsewhere, the more important factors are which ships and sailings are available.

What is the largest cruise ship port in Florida?

The largest cruise ship port in Florida is also the busiest, and that is Miami. It has 11 cruise terminals in total and serves around 5 million cruise passengers every year – around 20% more than Port Canaveral, the second busiest cruise port.

Miami is also a bustling cargo port as well, making it an exceptionally busy area – but there is now an undersea tunnel connecting the port with the mainland to remove a lot of the traffic from downtown Miami.

However, it’s important to clarify that Port Canaveral is busier in terms of the number of ship visits – averaging around 1,400 compared to 1,200 for Miami. They just carry fewer passengers overall.

The Bottom Line

Each of the top ports in Florida is relatively easy to access although it depends on where in the world you’re flying from. From Europe, direct flights tend to head to Miami and Orlando, which would make Port Everglades a little more inconvenient potentially.

Ultimately though, what matters most is the ship and itinerary. Unless you have your heart set on a particular pre- or post-cruise experience (such as Disney World) then it’s better to let your cruise dictate your embarkation port, since you can easily arrange to get there.

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

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