Port Canaveral: Cruise port and the Destination beyond
Port Canaveral on Florida´s Space Coast was recently named the world´s busiest cruise passenger port with over 4 million passengers each year, now home to 20 ships serving over 50 destinations, including Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International – with the world´s largest cruise ship, Wonder of the Seas -, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises and the latest addition, TUI´s Marella Discovery. The Port is easily accessible from Orlando International Airport 45 minutes to the West and Melbourne Orlando International Airport approximately 40 minutes to the South.
Parking is abundant at the Port, free of charge for daytime visitors and the area is well worth visiting even without embarking on a cruise. The Cove is to be found on the South side of the Port and is home to some of the best dining and entertainment that the Space Coast has to offer. Visitors can enjoy fresh seafood, live music and impressive views of cruise ships, rocket parts and wildlife making their way in and out of Port Canaveral. Rising Tide Tap & Table offers 60 beers on tap and several locally brewed Florida beers with view of the seven-storey high Exploration Tower, while Rusty´s Seafood & Oyster Bar is a long-established restaurant serving a mouth-watering abundance of fish and seafood overlooking the water.
Jetty Park lies to the immediate South of the mouth of the Port and is a perfect vantage point for viewing the arrival and departure of the majestic cruise ships. This 14 hectare (35 acre) park is home to a fishing pier, beach and campground. Guests here can participate in a variety of activities including surfing, strolling on the beach and bike rides whilst enjoying the views of the passing vessels. A day pass for the Park costs US$ 15 plus tax and should be purchased in advance. Jetty Park also offers viewing points from the fishing pier for up to 80 rocket launches planned this year from nearby Cape Canaveral Space Force Station and Kennedy Space Center.
The City of Cape Canaveral is the home of the world-famous Port. It is a charming beach town and visitors searching for some local atmosphere can check-out the Cape Canaveral Friday Fest on the first Friday evening of each month, offering a variety of food vendors, drinks and live music along Taylor and Poinsetta Avenues. To the North the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is an iconic site and has guarded the Cape for over 150 years. South of the Port The Wizard of Oz Museum in Cape Canaveral presents an unusual and rare collection of artifacts from the film´s history sending visitors on a nostalgic journey down the Yellow Brick Road. A visit to the Museum concludes with an immersive experience with scenes not included in the motion picture and transports the visitor into the world of the artist, Van Gogh to awaken the senses of wonder.
A visit to Port Canaveral and the surroundings is not just embarking and returning on one of the impressive cruise ships, the time on land can be just as memorable. Furthermore, many of the affordable hotels in the region even offer free cruise parking and shuttles to the cruise ships making the whole experience easy, accessible and relaxing.