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Changes Coming to Port Canaveral, including $38M project, Shifting Cruise Ships

Changes are coming to Port Canaveral in hopes of eliminating congestion and parking issues for the port’s cruise ship passengers. These changes are necessary as Port Canaveral is one of the world’s busiest cruise ports, just behind Port Miami. It is estimated that over four million passengers went through Port Canaveral for cruises in the 2022 financial year. On top of that, more than 5.4 million tons of bulk cargo move through the port every year.

The changes coming to Port Canaveral focus on the cargo business taking place in the port, as well as on parking at the port and on the cruise ship lineup. These changes come just in time for cruise lines to shift to their summer itineraries.

Port Canaveral Cargo Business

While Port Canaveral is largely known for its cruise business, the port operates a great deal of cargo business, as well. For the current budget year that started on October 1, 2022, total cargo tonnage has increased by 14.2 percent for the first five months of the budget year, as compared to one year ago.

Recently, port commissioners unanimously voted to award Orion Marine Construction, Inc., of Tampa the bid to redevelop the North Cargo Berth 4. The total contract awarded was $38.64 million, with 75 percent of the funding coming directly from Florida Department of Transportation grants.

According to Port Canaveral’s Chief Executive Officer, John Murray, the port’s cargo berth cannot handle many current cargo ships. This fact is mostly due in part to the berth’s design and structural deterioration and safety issues caused by the poor condition of the existing bulkhead wall. As a result, the cargo berth has been mostly offline since 2014.

Another project to upgrade a cargo berth at the port is being headed by Rush Marine, Inc., of Titusville. They were awarded a $48.07 million upgrade project on the North Cargo Berth 3. This project has also been funded largely by federal and state grants.

Changes to Port Canaveral’s Ship Lineup

The lineup of cruise lines based out of Port Canaveral will be changing significantly as certain cruise lines shift their ships to different ports for the 2023 summer season. These changes include the following:

  • Royal Caribbean: The cruise line will be returning the Mariner of the Seas to Port Canaveral after the vessel underwent over a month of drydock updates. In addition, the Jewel of the Seas will be making its last Port Canaveral sailing of the 2022-2023 winter season at the end of April.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line: The Norwegian Prima was sailing out of Port Canaveral during the winter cruise season but has made its final sail for the season as of March 26 and is now heading to Europe for the summer cruise season. In addition, the Norwegian Getaway is replacing the Norwegian Escape at the port for the summer season as of mid-April.
  • Marella Cruises: Marella will be starting service out of Port Canaveral on May 7 when its vessel, the Marella Discovery, starts sailing out of the port.
  • MSC Cruises: Up until April 19, the Meraviglia was sailing out of Port Canaveral, but it has now been replaced by the Seaside. While the Meraviglia will not be based out of the port, it will continue to visit Port Canaveral on port-of-call visits. Its new home port will be New York City at the end of April. This fall, the Seashore will replace the Seaside at the port.
 Parking Congestion Solutions

For anyone who has sailed out of Port Canaveral, it comes as no surprise that parking congestion is at the top of the list of items to improve around the port. As part of these changes, Port Canaveral will be creating more surface parking spaces, especially near Cruise Terminal 1. This terminal is where Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s mega-ship, will be based, beginning in November 2023. Adding this megaship to the lineup of vessels already sailing out of Port Canaveral means that the port will be dealing with even more passengers than before, especially since the Allure of the Seas, a large ship, will be replacing a smaller vessel.

As a result, port commissioners approved adding 892 parking spaces, with room for an additional 409 spaces in a potential Phase 2 of the project.

Parking brings in a large portion of revenue for the port. For example, cruise passenger parking alone brought in $17.92 million in revenue for the first five months of the current budget year. This makes up approximately 22 percent of the port’s total operating revenue during that same time span. Adding even more parking spaces to the mix will only increase this revenue for the port, which is why parking has become such a priority for Port Canaveral.

The Financial Status of Port Canaveral

Being one of the world’s busiest ports, the financial status of the port is in good shape. According to the port’s Chief Financial Officer, Michael Poole, the port’s operating revenue for the first five months of the current budget year of $81.59 million is more than 26 percent above the projected revenue of $64.69 million.

What is the reason for this increase in revenue? One reason could be the fact that the vessels sailing out of Port Canaveral are operating at an average of 100 percent of their double-occupancy capacity. Many of these vessels have three or four passengers staying in cabins intended for one or two passengers. When creating the port budget, the commissioners planned for the ship’s sailing at 100 percent of their double-occupancy capacity.

Another reason for the positive financial outlook has to do with the fact that cargo revenue is 20 percent over initial budget projections. This revenue is only enhanced by shipments of petroleum, granite, and lumber.

Currently, Port Canaveral is in discussions with commercial space companies, including Space Perspective, Relativity Space, and Blue Origin. These companies could join SpaceX as customers of the cargo sector in the port.

How will improved finances help the port?

Due to the fact that Port Canaveral’s revenue is far ahead of its current projections, Poole has indicated that he plans to ask port commissioners for a midyear budget adjustment this month in hopes of reflecting more accurate numbers. This adjustment could allow port officials to ask for approval on some other capital projects sooner than planned, which is what the port has already done currently with the North Cargo Berth 4 project. This project was originally scheduled to start in the next budget year but has been given the all-clear given the state of the port’s finances.   

The Miami-based cruise ship accident and maritime injury law firm of Delgado Trial Attorneys  possess a skill set that few other maritime attorneys can claim. Raul’s extensive experience representing the cruise lines and developing their defense strategies for years before bringing their skills and training to represent the passengers and crew members that suffered injuries because of a cruise line’s negligence. Combined with Raul Delgado, Sr.’s  45 years of personal injury experience fighting on behalf of injured accident victims, Delgado Trial Attorneys offers a combination of experience in all types of cruise ship personal injuries unlike any of their competitors. Our experience allows us to effectively strategize and advocate for every client we represent. We have handled all types of cruise ship passenger accidents over the years with a focus on slip, trip and falls, medical malpractice, FlowRider accidents, sexual assaults, Death on the High Seas, and more. Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation. Virtual sign-ups available. Visit to learn more.


Big Changes in Store for Port Canaveral (

Port Canaveral to see changes (