America’s busiest cruise port is about to get busier

by | Aug 15, 2023

  • Celebrity Cruises has chosen Port Canaveral to homeport its Celebrity Equinox for sailings to the Caribbean, beginning December 3, 2024, through April 19, 2025.
  • Port Canaveral, the world’s busiest cruise port, has made significant improvements and investments in its infrastructure and facilities, enhancing its position as a premier maritime gateway.
  • The Celebrity Equinox features 13 decks, 1,426 staterooms, and accommodations for 2,850 passengers, having undergone a multi-million-dollar refresh in 2019

The world’s busiest cruise port is about to get a little bit busier. Port Canaveral, located just a few miles south of America’s busiest spaceport, issued a joint press release with Celebrity Cruises announcing the recently refurbished Celebrity Equinox will be homeported at Port Canaveral, starting December 3, 2024, through April 19, 2025. The move further reinforces Port Canaveral’s status as the world’s busiest cruise port and, the company says, is a major part of Celebrity Cruises’ expansion plans into the Caribbean.

According to the press release, Celebrity Equinox will set sail with 20 different itineraries sailing from Port Canaveral to destinations such as The Bahamas, Belize, Grand Cayman, Mexico, San Juan, and St. Maarten. Two special sailings in March 2025 will include stops at Celebrity’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

“We are thrilled to welcome Celebrity Cruises as our new partner and honored to be part of their Caribbean expansion plans,” stated Capt. John Murray, Port Canaveral CEO. “The demand for Celebrity Cruise sailings from our Port has been growing. Now, with Celebrity Equinox homeported here, there are great opportunities for even more cruise travelers to experience the cruise line’s high-quality experience, while experiencing the comfort and ease of travel provided by our Port.”

The selection of Port Canaveral comes amid a number of strategic growth moves and improvements to the port’s infrastructure. Eighty percent of the Port’s revenue is generated from the cruise business, making investments in state-of-the-art facilities a big part of Canaveral’s strategy. Port Canaveral has recently seen harbor improvements, new cruise and cargo terminals, and the construction of an inland warehouse and logistics center in nearby Titusville.

The Port Authority says it is focused on its primary mission to serve as Central Florida’s maritime gateway for import and export – and not just the cruise business. It already plays a key role as an economic engine for Brevard County, while the ongoing expansion and harbor improvements are designed to enhance business activity and include increasing the channel depth to 43 feet to accommodate even larger vessels.

In recent years, Port Canaveral has made significant progress in areas such as infrastructure, safety & security, seaport resilience, and tourism boost. Port leaders lobbied state lawmakers last year for infrastructure enhancements, including a bridge replacement on State Road 401 and improvements on State Road 528 which lead to the port.

Other recent improvements around the Port include a new public boat ramp, upgrades to Jetty Park campground, and the opening of a new concession with Fishlips Restaurant as the operator. Some 200 small businesses currently operate at Port Canaveral, ranging from marinas and restaurants to retail and charter boats.

All that infrastructure is necessary to support cruise ships like the Celebrity Equinox, which measures 1,041 feet long and 122,000 gross tons, and features 13 decks and 1,426 staterooms to accommodate 2,850 passengers. By modern cruise standards, the ship is relatively small, but the ship underwent a multi-million-dollar refresh in 2019, introducing new design concepts and guest experiences.

As a part of the port’s future growth plan, the Port Authority is developing a strategic master plan to define a long-term vision that ensures sustainable, viable, community-supported development in compliance with the Port District Charter. Additionally, the Port Authority will consider further improvements to the Cove and other areas within the Port to continue to thrive as a vital part of Central Florida’s economy and a significant hub for cruise travel.

1 Comment

  1. Terri grennan

    I have to wonder if the governor is counting his money with getting the bid for the cruise lines….it certainly will help off set some of the losses from Disney

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