Florida has five main cruise ports and they are located in these cities - Jacksonville, Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa. I've often said that when you live on a peninsula you had better enjoy the water. If you're a regular cruiser you know the diversity of cruises Florida has to offer. If you've never been on a cruise, even a weekend cruise, they offer one of the best Florida vacation
Cruises offered from Port Canaveral
include 1- to 7-day trips aboard ships from three major cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Lines, and Royal Caribbean International. Many cruises out of the northeast U.S. visit Port Canaveral, making scheduled port of call stops here. This gives their passengers the opportunity to enjoy a day of fun exploring Cape Canaveral
, Cocoa Beach
, and the Orlando attractions
Port Canaveral is one of the busiest cruise ports in the world with nearly 1.3 million multi-day cruise passengers passing through annually; it hosted 109,175 multi-day cruise passengers in October of 2008 alone.
Port Canaveral Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines
currently has two beautiful ships home-ported in Port Canaveral, including one of the largest on the seas today - the impressive Carnival Dream
. The other is the Carnival Sensation
. Carnival offers 3- and 4-day cruises to the Bahamas and 7-day cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean. These itineraries include stops in Nassau; Freeport; St. Thomas; St. Maarten; Key West; Belize City; and Cozumel and Progreso, Mexico. Carnival Cruise Lines has a brand new 3,650-passenger ship called the Carnival Dream that made Port Canaveral its home in December 2009; it's 1004 feet long and 158 feet wide. Beginning at the end of 2011 Carnival Cruise Lines is scheduled to add another ship, the Carnival Ecstasy, to the fleet at Port Canaveral. The Ecstasy will be making 4- and 5-day trips to the Bahamas.
Disney Cruise Lines
has two ships in port: the Magic
, and the Dream
. They offer 3-, 4-, and 7-day cruises to the Bahamas, the eastern and western Caribbean, and Disney's private island getaway, Castaway Cay. These itineraries include stops in Nassau; St. Maarten; St. Thomas/St. John; Castaway Cay; Grand Cayman; and Cozumel. They also have a 14-day one-way transatlantic cruise aboard the Magic to Madeira, Gibraltar and ports in Spain. In 2012 the Disney Fantasy is scheduled to start running out of Port Canaveral. The Fantasy will be making 5- to 7-day trips to Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Costa Maya; and Cozumel.
Royal Caribbean International
has one of the highest space-per-guest ratios in the cruise market. The Monarch of the Seas
and Freedom of the Seas
, both ported at Cape Canaveral, offer 3-, 4-, and 7-night cruises to the Bahamas, eastern and western Caribbean and private island Coco Cay. These itineraries include stops in Nassau; Coco Cay; Charlotte Amalie; Phillipsburg; Ocho Rios; George Town; Labadee; and Cozumel.
Cruise Ships at Port Canaveral »
Port Everglades - Fort Lauderdale
Port Everglades is a huge cruise port located in Fort Lauderdale
. Port Everglades is one of the world's busiest cruise departure ports and holds the world record for hosting the most cruise passengers in a single day. 49,234 passengers cruised from there on January 3, 2009. More than 4 million cruise passengers pass through Port Everglades annually, with ships sailing year round; the peak season is from November to April. Fort Lauderdale is crisscrossed by 300 miles of navigable waterways and is known as the "Venice of America." It also has 23 miles of beaches, plus shopping
and entertainment, making Fort Lauderdale a great place to explore either before or after your cruise.
Ships Sailing from Port Everglades
Ten cruise lines with more than 30 cruise ships sail out of Port Everglades. A majority of cruises go to the islands of the eastern Caribbean but some go to the exotic Mexican coast of the western Caribbean. There are many varieties of ships and cruises to choose, ranging from the ultra-luxury yachts of Seabourn to the more casual Carnival Cruises; they offer everything from day cruises to 8-day excursions.
Carnival Cruise Lines
has two ships that sail from Port Everglades: the Carnival Miracle
and the Carnival Freedom
. They set sail on 2-, 6-, 7- and 8-day cruises. These itineraries include stops in St. Maarten; St. Kitts and St. Lucia; Panama; Costa Rica; Belize; Limon; Colon; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, USVI; Antigua; Tortola, BVI; Grand Turk; La Romana, Dominican Republic; Aruba; Curacao; Catalina Island; Dominican Republic; and Key West.
has 7- to 16-day Caribbean and transatlantic cruises aboard the Celebrity Constellation
, the Celebrity Infinity
, Celebrity Solstice
and the Celebrity Equinox
. These itineraries include stops in St. Maarten; Antigua; St. Lucia; Barbados; Grenada; Aruba; Curacao; Bonaire; Cartagena, Colombia; Costa Rica; Huatulco; Acapulco; Puerto Vallarta; Cabo San Lucas; Cozumel; Manta, Ecuador; Lima, Peru; Arica, La Serena and Valparaiso, Chile; Costa Maya; and Roatan. Their transatlantic cruises go to Ponta Delgada, Azores; Barcelona; Provence (Toulon), France; Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy; Lisbon, Portugal; Seville (Cadiz), Spain; and Malaga, Spain.
The Cunard Cruise Line
has one ship, the Queen Victoria
, that sails on 11- and 15-day cruises from Port Everglades. These itineraries include stops in Panama; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Acapulco, Mexico; Los Angeles, California; St. Thomas, USVI; Antigua; and more.
Holland America Line
has over 130 years of cruising experience. This cruise line prides itself on spacious, elegant ships and accommodations. They have several ships that sail from Port Everglades on 7- to 45-day trips all over the world, in the Caribbean, to and through the Panama Canal, and several transatlantic cruises. You can sail on the MS Westerdam
, the MS Nieuw Amsterdam
, the MS Eurodam
, the MS Noordam
, the MS Statendam
, the MS Zuiderdam
, the MS Rotterdam
, the MS Maasdam
, the MS Amsterdam
, the MS Prinsendam
, and the MS Veendam
Their itineraries include stops in Grand Cayman; the Panama Canal; Costa Rica; Huatulco, Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas; Grand Turk; Puerto Rico; St. Thomas; Tortola; St. Maarten; and Half Moon Cay, their own private island. The 16-day transatlantic cruise to Rome includes Lisbon and Portimao, Portugal; Cadiz, Almeria, Ibiza, and Barcelona, Spain; and Monte Carlo, Monaco.
have a distinctly authentic Italian style. The Italian essence is evident in the way the cabins and common areas are furnished and in the excellent cuisine. Enjoy 7- to 10-night cruises aboard the MSC Poesia
. Itineraries include stops in Puerto Rico; St. John; Saint George; Fort-de-France, Phillipsburg; Nassau; Isla De Roatan; Montego Bay; Charlotte Amalie; Ocho Rios; Cozumel; and more.
, of The Love Boat fame, sails many ships including the Caribbean Princess
, Ruby Princess
and Emerald Princess
for 7- to 27-day cruises from Port Everglades. Their itineraries include stops in Bonaire; Grenada; Dominica; St. Thomas; St. Kitts; Barbados; St. Lucia; Antigua; St. Maarten; St. Thomas; Grand Turk; Jamaica; Grand Cayman; Cozumel; and their own private island, the Princess Cays.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
is a true luxury cruise line sailing from Port Everglades. Regent Seven Seas luxury vessels are designed for guests numbering in the hundreds rather than the thousands. They specialize in personal, individual service - upscale but not uptight, that's their motto. They have three ships sailing from Port Everglades: the Seven Seas Voyager
, Seven Seas Mariner
, and the Seven Seas Navigator
. They have 7- to 18-day Caribbean cruises as well as a 24-night transatlantic cruise with stops in Southampton (England) via Baltimore; Norfolk; New York; Halifax; Corner Brook; L'Anse aux Meadows; Reykjavik; Heimaey; Torshavn; Kirkwall; Portree; Belfast; Dublin; Waterford; Cobh; and Falmouth.
Their shorter 13-night transatlantic cruise goes to New York; Newport; Boston; Bar Harbor; Halifax; and L'Anse aux Meadows on your way to Iceland. They have a 135-night world cruise that offers exotic ports of call including Papeete; Sydney; Bali; Singapore; Shanghai; Hong Kong; Saigon; Port Victoria; Cape Town; and many more.
Their Caribbean itineraries include stops in St. Thomas; St. Barts; St. Kitts; St. Maarten; and Grand Turk, with stops in Key West, Cozumel, Belize City, Santo Tomas, and Costa Maya being added in November of 2010.
Royal Caribbean International
has five ships that sail from Port Everglades: the Navigator of the Seas
, Jewel of the Seas
, Liberty of the Seas
, the Oasis of the Seas
, and her brand-new sister ship, the Allure of the Seas
, which is two inches longer, making it the world's longest cruise ship. Enjoy 4- to 13-night cruises. Their itineraries include stops in Key West; Grand Cayman; Belize; Costa Maya; Cozumel; Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, St. Maarten; the Bahamas; Jamaica; Ponta Delgada, Azores; Brest and Cherbourg, France; Harwich, England; and more. Their 13-night transatlantic cruise to Italy stops in Tenerife, Canary Islands; Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Ajaccio, Corsica; and Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. This is a one-way repositioning cruise.
When you take a cruise on a Seabourn Cruise Line
ship from Port Everglades, the experience is truly unique. Each of the yachts is a private pleasure craft for just 104 couples. Some special amenities on these cruises include movies under the stars, caviar in the surf, open bar, spa, and casino. They offer exclusive shore excursions that often include sumptuous meals or private visits not available to the general public. When conditions permit, the ship lowers a unique water sports platform that allows guests to swim, snorkel, jet ski, and water ski from the back of the yacht.
Seabourn Cruise Line has four ultra-luxury ships to choose from: the Seabourn Odyssey
, the Seabourn Spirit
, the Seabourn Quest
, and the Seabourn Sojourn
. They have 5- to 14-day Caribbean and Panama Canal cruises, and their itineraries include stops in Grand Turk; Antigua; Barbados; St. Barts; St. Kitts, BVI; and more. They have a 28-day Central America cruise that sails to Belize; Honduras; Costa Rica; Panama; and Nicaragua.
They have 12-, 13-, and 15-day cruises to Funchal and Lisbon, Portugal; Malaga and Cartagena, Spain; Monte Carlo; and Gibraltar. They also have 28- to 109-day transatlantic cruises to Bridgetown, Barbados; Devil's Island, French Guiana; Recife; Salvador de Bahia and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; St. Helena Island; Walvis, Namibia; Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Durban, South Africa; Sri Lanka; Malaysia; Singapore; Vietnam; Taiwan; China; India; Oman; Egypt; Greece; Italy; and more.
are authentic luxury; their cabins are all suites with ocean-views. The three ships they sail from Port Everglades - the Silver Cloud
, the Silver Spirit
, and the Silver Whisper
- are smaller in comparison to mass-market vessels, but just as opulent. They have one of the finest wine cellars at sea with a chilled bottle of Pommery Champagne waiting in every cabin along with a fully stocked complimentary beverage cabinet that is restocked daily with your personal favorites. They offer 7- to 15-day round-trip and one-way cruises; their itineraries include stops in Virgin Gorda, BVI; Marigot; St. Martin; St. John; Antigua; Castries; St. Lucia; Bequia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; St. George's; Grenada; Bridgetown; Barbados; and more.
The Discovery Sun
has daily fun-filled 'day' cruises to the Bahamas, and you can upgrade to stay a few days should you decided to.
More about Fort Lauderdale »
Port of Miami
The Port of Miami is one of America's busiest ports and is recognized worldwide with the dual distinction of being the Cruise Capital of the World and the Cargo Gateway of the Americas. The Port contributes over $17 billion annually to the South Florida economy with an annual cargo tonnage of 7.5 million and nearly four million in passenger traffic each year.
Nearby South Beach Miami
is also a popular port of call with Lummus Beach
, one of Florida's most popular beaches
featuring natural white sand and excellent water quality. South Beach is also famous for its Art Deco, an eclectic form of elegant and stylish modernism characterized by geometric and jumbled shapes.
Ships Sailing from Port of Miami
In an effort to continue its position as a world-class facility, Miami is continuously preparing for the next generation of cruise vessels. Two of the terminals are some of the most modern cruise facilities in the world, featuring a VIP lounge, a high-tech security screening facility for embarkation, airline counters, and an airport-style conveyor baggage system. Each terminal features a convenient one-stop federal multi-agency facility for passenger processing.
The Port of Miami offers a choice of popular 3- to 11-day cruises plus a few that sail longer, with prices to fit all budgets. Ports of call easily reached from Miami extend from the Bahamas to the eastern and western Caribbean; Mexico; Key West; South America; and farther. The cruise lines home-ported at Miami are:
Azamara Cruise Lines
sails one ship, the Azamara Journey
, on a 13-day transatlantic cruise. The itinerary includes stops in Gibraltar; the United Kingdom; and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy.
Carnival Cruise Lines
has five ships that sail out of Miami: the Carnival Imagination
, Carnival Destiny
, Carnival Valor
, Carnival Glory
, and the Carnival Liberty
. They offer 3- to 7-day cruises, and their itineraries include stops in Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Grand Turk; Half Moon Cay; Isla Roatan; Belize; Mahogany Bay; Key West; and more.
sails two ships from the Port of Miami: the Crystal Serenity
, and the Crystal Symphony
on 12- to 14-day cruises. Their itineraries include stops in Bermuda; St. Maarten/Phillipsburg; St. Barts, West Indies; the Netherlands; Colombia; Mexico; California; Portugal; Morocco; Spain; Panama Canal and Gatun Lake; Turks & Caicos/Grand Turk; the UK; and more.
has three ships that sail from Miami: the Celebrity Century
, Celebrity Eclipse
, and Celebrity Millennium
. They sail 2- to 7-day cruises and their itineraries include stops in Key West; Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Ocho Rios and Falmouth, Jamaica; Nassau, Bahamas; Roatan, Honduras; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.
They have two 13-day transatlantic cruises - with stops in Ponta Delgada, Azores; Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain; Cherbourg, France; Southampton, England; Paris (Le Havre), France; and a 15-day Panama Canal cruise with stops in Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Panama Canal (cruising), Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala; Acapulco, Mexico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and San Diego, California.
Norwegian Cruise Lines
has six ships that sail to or from Miami: the Norwegian Epic
, Norwegian Jewel
, Norwegian Pearl
, Norwegian Sky
, Norwegian Dawn
, and the Norwegian Sun
. They sail 2- to 14-day cruises, and their itineraries include stops in St. Maarten; St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands; Nassau; Costa Maya; Roatan; Cozumel; Nassau; Great Stirrup Cay, Grand Bahama Island; Ocho Rios; Grand Cayman; Samana; Tortola; Antigua; Barbados; St. Kitts; Dominica; Cartagena; Puntarenas; Puerto Quetzal; Huatulco; Acapulco; Cabo San Lucas; Roatan; Belize City; Costa Maya; Key West; and more.
They also have 11- and 15-day transatlantic cruises. Their itineraries include stops in Ponta Delgada, Azores; Barcelona and Majorca, Spain; Provence (Marseille), France; and Palma, Mallorca.
Royal Caribbean International
sails two ships out of Miami: the Majesty Of The Seas
, and the Jewel Of The Seas
on 3- to 5-day cruises. Their itineraries include stops in CocoCay and Nassau, Bahama; and Key West. They also have a 12-day transatlantic cruise that stops in Ponta Delgada, Azores; Brest, France; Cherbourg, France; and Harwich, England.
has two ships home-ported in Miami: the Regatta
and the Marina
. They offer 10- to 16-day cruises whose itineraries include stops in Charleston, South Carolina; Williamsburg, Virginia; Hamilton, Bermuda; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic; Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands; Cartagena; Panama Canal; Puntarenas; Puerto Chiapas; Huatulco; Acapulco; Cabo San Lucas; Los Angeles; Virgin Gorda; Gustavia; Tortola; St. John; Belize; Puerto Limon, Costa Rica; George Town, Cayman Islands; and more.
They also have a 14-day transatlantic cruise to Spain with stops in Kings Wharf, Bermuda; Funchal (Madeira), Portugal; Tangier, Morocco; and lastly, Baecelona, Spain.
Port of Tampa
The Port of Tampa
has three cruise terminals that deliver state-of-the-art design, customer-friendly information areas, superior security, full passenger amenities, and on-terminal parking. Passengers receive the type of service that meets and exceeds their expectations.
Together with the city of Tampa, the Port of Tampa continues to develop Channelside
, a bustling complex that is an enticing combination of dining, shopping
, and an IMAX theater. Its outdoor plaza often hosts live music and it is literally steps from the Port's cruise terminals. While at Channelside be sure to visit the adjacent Florida Aquarium. The Aquarium is a large-scale, 250,000-square-foot facility that is home to more than 20,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida and all over the world.
Ships Sailing from Port of Tampa
Port of Tampa now home-ports three cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean. They offer a variety of multi-day cruises and various itineraries.
Carnival Cruise Lines
has three Port of Tampa-based ships: Carnival Paradise
, the Carnival Inspiration
, and the Carnival Legend
, that sail on 4- to 14-day cruises. Their itineraries include stops in Grand Cayman, Cayman Island; Cozumel; Belize City; Mahogany Bay; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; through the Panama Canal; Costa Rica; Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and Isla Roatan.
Holland America Lines
has one ship that sails from Tampa, the MS Ryndam
. Tt offers 7- to 15-day cruises to Key West; Belize City; Santo Tomas, Guatemala; Costa Maya; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Mahogany Bay, Honduras; and more.
They also offer 15- to 42-day transatlantic cruises with stops in Half Moon Cay, Bahamas; Funchal (Madeira), Portugal; Santa Cruz (Tenerife), Spain; Arrecife, Canary Islands; Cadiz (Seville), Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Vigo, Spain; St Malo, France; Cherbourg, France; Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium; Dover (London), England, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and more.
has two ships, the Jewel of the Seas
and the Radiance of the Seas
currently sailing from the Port of Tampa, with 4- and 5-day cruises. Their itineraries include stops in Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico.
They also offer a 15-day Panama Canal cruise that stops in Cartagena, Colombia; Colon, Panama; Panama Canal (Cruising Canal); Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala City), Guatemala; Acapulco, Mexico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; and San Diego, California.
More about Tampa Florida »
JAXPORT - Jacksonville
cruises sail from the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal, which is in North Jacksonville. Carnival Cruise Lines
is the only line in service at JAXPORT; from there they sail the Carnival Fascination
. The Fascination, which entered service in 1994, offers 4-, 5-, and 7-day cruises to Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas; Half Moon Cay; Key West; and Grant Turk.
Cruises out of Jacksonville currently operate from a temporary cruise terminal provided by the Jacksonville Port Authority, but to get to this terminal all ships have to sail beneath electric power lines and the Dames Point Bridge. This is problematic because more than 80 percent of cruise ships in service today are too tall to do this, and the cruise industry is phasing out smaller vessels which do fit underneath the bridge and power lines. JAXPORT is currently in the process of reviewing options for a permanent cruise terminal without height restrictions.
Key West - Port of Call
While Key West
has no active cruises that use it as a home port, many cruises that leave from other Florida ports make stops or port calls in Key West, some for a short time, some for the entire day. Key West is a great port of call because there is so much to do. If you're there later in the day you have to go to Mallory Square
to watch the sunset and all the street performers and vendors that it brings out. World famous Duval Street
is a party any time of the day; with all of its history, restaurants, shops and bars you could spend all day just hanging out there. They also offer all kinds of tours throughout the city on trains, trolleys, or walking tours; there is even a ghost tour at night
Cruise Vacation Features
Cruise ships are amazing and have often been called floating cities. Think about the advertisements you've seen on TV and how much they show to do and see. The amenities onboard will depend on the size of the ship. Some ships have rock-climbing walls; some have mini wave-pools you can surf on, some even have ice skating rinks. They all have duty-free shops where you can buy everything from liquor to jewelry and of course all the souvenir trinkets you can fit into you luggage. They all serve world-class cuisine 'round-the-clock it seems, because there's always a buffet or snack table somewhere.
The shows are Broadway quality and many have comedy clubs or piano bars as well. Most have play rooms and special places and events for the kids, especially on the Disney Cruises. Cruise lines have some of the best casinos around; they have poker tables where you can play 21, Texas Hold 'em, and other card games. Other gambling
options are craps tables, roulette tables, and gaming machines of all kinds, including video poker. They all have workout rooms and one or more pools with wide expansive pool decks where people can gather and hang out or join in the games the cruise directors have planned, because there is always something going on. When you get to your ports of call you can enjoy shore excursions for the day which can be booked either on the cruise or as you're planning your trip before you even board your ship. So "All Aboard" and let's set sail!
With all the ports to choose from and the many itinerary options they offer, you're sure to find a cruise that suits your schedule and captures your imagination.
Cruise itineraries change frequently and PlacesAroundFlorida.com
will make an effort to keep up to date, but please check with your Cruise Line for current information.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com