Everything You Need to Know About Cruise Ports in Florida

Home to many of the world's busiest ports, here's everything you need to know about all the cruise ports in Florida.

Everything You Need to Know About Cruise Ports in Florida

Florida’s cruise ports are among the busiest and most recognized shipping ports in the world, with Port Canaveral overtaking PortMiami as the busiest cruise port on the planet in 2022. A third port in the state, Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, comes in as the third busiest cruise port both in Florida and worldwide.

How many cruise ports are in Florida in total? In addition to the ports already mentioned, the state rounds out its offerings with Port Tampa Bay, JAXPORT in Jacksonville, and the Port of Palm Beach. An additional port in Key West serves as a port of call on many Bahamas and Caribbean itineraries.

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7 Cruise Ports in Florida

1. PortMiami

PortMiami is located on Dodge Island in Biscayne Bay. It is connected to the mainland by both the Port Miami Bridge and The Port of Miami Tunnel. Known as the “Cruise Capital of the World,” PortMiami is the largest cruise port in Florida. It’s home to ships from many lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, and Regent Seven Seas, among others.

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Located just an island over is Miami’s famous South Beach neighborhood. This area is home to expansive beaches, pastel art-deco buildings, luxury and boutique hotels, shops, restaurants, and a renowned nightclub scene.

To the west on the mainland is downtown Miami. Downtown features the open-air Bayside Marketplace shopping center, Little Havana neighborhood, and the large Bayfront Park. Other nearby attractions include the Miami Seaquarium, Jungle Island nature theme park, and the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science.

Popular Nearby Hotels: DoubleTree Biscayne Bay, Intercontinental Miami, Holiday Inn Port of Miami-Downtown, Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, Kimpton EPIC hotel, and Hilton Miami Downtown. Cruisers can also opt to stay in the popular Brickell neighborhood with plenty of hotel choices, including the trendy EAST Miami or SLS Brickell.

Airport Transportation Information

If you’re flying into Miami International Airport, expect at least a 20 minute drive to get to PortMiami — more if there’s heavy traffic. Rideshares and taxis are available. Many hotels offer shuttles from the airport and to the cruise port, so look into whether your hotel has this option.

If you’re flying in day-of (which we don’t recommend), your cruise line may also have a shuttle directly from the airport to the cruise port. Other shuttle companies are also available, as well as public transport such as the Metrorail and Miami Trolley.

Cruisers may also fly into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for a voyage out of Miami. This is about a 45 minute drive. We recommend using a rideshare to get from FLL to PortMiami, but shuttles, taxis, and public transportation are also available.

2. Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral is often referred to as Orlando’s cruise port, thanks to its less-than-an-hour drive to the city’s downtown area. Located on Merritt Island in Cape Canaveral, Port Canaveral is central to both northern and southern Florida. This makes it an easy driving port for many Florida residents.

In addition, its proximity to Walt Disney World is the reason it’s the most popular port for Disney Cruise Line. Other cruise lines that sail from Port Canaveral include Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, MSC, and Princess Cruises.

Cruise Ports in Florida

One of the most popular activities to do before or after a voyage — or during a port call to Canaveral — is to visit Kennedy Space Center. The visitor complex includes an astronaut hall of fame, a rocket garden, and interactive and informational exhibits. There’s also a shuttle launch experience, kids’ programming, and the Space Shuttle Atlantis on display.

Other activities near Port Canaveral include the Manatee Sanctuary Park, The Wizard of Oz Museum, helicopter tours, airboat rides, and more. Many cruisers also head further inland pre or post-cruise to visit theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando. Of course, there’s also the nearby Coco Beach.

Popular Nearby Hotels: Radisson Resort at the Port; Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Port Canaveral; Hampton Inn & Suites Cape Canaveral Cruise Port; Residence Inn by Marriott Cape Canaveral; Home2Suites by Hilton Cape Canaveral Cruise Port; SpringHill Suites Cape Canaveral. Cruisers can also opt to stay in the Cocoa Beach area.

Airport Transportation Information

There are three convenient airport options for those sailing from Port Canaveral. They are Orlando International Airport (MCO), Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), and Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB). MCO and MLB are located about a 45 minutes’ drive away and SFB is located about an hour away.

If arriving at MCO, there are several ways to get from the Orlando airport to Port Canaveral. Many cruise lines have their own shuttles from the airport to Port Canaveral, such as Disney Cruise Line. Carnival offers a shuttle from both MLB and MCO. Some hotels may also offer shuttles, with independent shuttles available as well. Rideshares, taxis, and public transport via bus are also options.

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3. Port Everglades

Port Everglades is the third-busiest cruise port in the world. It serves as home to cruise ships from lines including Celebrity, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Silversea, Disney, and Viking, among others. Located just south of downtown Fort Lauderdale, the land that makes up Port Everglades is actually located in three municipalities: Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Dania Beach.

If you’re looking to get some shopping in before or after your cruise, head north just across the river to Las Olas Boulevard, which is lined with shops and restaurants. Then, take a stroll along the Las Olas Riverwalk. Located 14 miles west of Port Everglades, Sawgrass Mills is the largest outlet mall in the U.S., making it another great shopping option.

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Other nearby activities and points of interest include the Museum of Discovery and Science, Ft. Lauderdale Beach, downtown Hollywood, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, and the Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise.

Popular Nearby Hotels: Crowne Plaza Fort Lauderdale Airport, Holiday Inn Express Ft. Lauderdale Cruise-Airport, Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port, Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel, and Four Points by Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port. There’s also the popular Marriott Harbor Beach among others on Ft. Lauderdale Beach and nearby Dania Pointe with a few hotel options.

Airport Transportation Information

Port Everglades is located a quick 10-minute drive from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Rideshares, taxis, and public transportation via bus are all available. Many hotels offer airport and cruise port shuttles, and there are also independent shuttle company options.

And similar to PortMiami, cruisers may alternatively fly into Miami for a sailing from Port Everglades. We recommend ridesharing but taxis, shuttles, and public transportation are also available.

4. Port Tampa Bay

Port Tampa Bay is located on the west coast in central Florida. Its convenient downtown Tampa location makes it a great option for those who want to spend some time in Tampa before or after their voyage, then hop on the ship without much of a (or any!) drive. Tampa is a popular starting point for western Caribbean voyages. Though, other Caribbean, Bahamas, and Panama Canal itineraries originate in the city as well. Cruise lines that sail from Tampa include Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, and Celebrity.

Cruise Ports in Florida

A popular attraction to visit before or after your voyage is the Florida Aquarium, located next to the port. The American Victory Ship & Museum, located in the same area, is a historic United States Merchant Marine Ship that you can walk through.

For upscale shopping and dining, head to Hyde Park Village which is just a mile from the port. The Glazer Children’s Museum and the Tampa Museum of Art are located near the port, which are along the two-mile-long Riverwalk.

Popular Nearby Hotels: The Westin Tampa Waterside, Tampa Marriott Water Street, Hotel Tampa Riverwalk, Hilton Tampa Downtown, Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa/Ybor City/Downtown, and Aloft Tampa Downtown

Airport Transportation Information

Cruisers may fly into one of two airports to get to their cruise out of Tampa: Tampa International Airport or St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. The Tampa airport is a quick 25 minute drive, depending on traffic. St. Pete-Clearwater usually takes around 35-40 minutes.

Some cruise lines have shuttles from Tampa International Airport to the cruise port. Further, independent shuttle companies have options from both airports. Some hotels also offer their own shuttles from the airport and to the cruise port. Public transportation through Tampa’s TECO Line Streetcar is also available, but we don’t recommend it for getting to the cruise port because only one route runs near it. Rideshares and taxis are also available.


Located on Florida’s northeastern coast, JAXPORT is primarily a cargo port. However, two cruise lines currently have ships based in Jacksonville as well: Carnival Cruise Line and small-ship company American Cruise Lines. Located on the St. John’s River, cruisers have a scenic sail away as they wind down the river for a couple miles before reaching the open ocean.

Cruise Ports in Florida

Things to do in Jacksonville before or after your cruise include visiting the Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens, exploring the Museum of Science and History, and catching a performance at the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. There’s also Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Ponte Vedra Beach within about a 30 minutes’ drive. If you want a quiet place to enjoy the ocean, you can also head to Amelia Island, which is under an hour away.

Popular Nearby Hotels: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Jacksonville – Blount Island, Hampton Inn Jacksonville East Regency Square, Courtyard Jacksonville I-295/East Beltway, Marriott Jacksonville Downtown, and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Jacksonville Riverfront

Airport Transportation Information

The drive from Jacksonville International Airport to JAXPORT is around 20 minutes, depending on traffic. Rideshares, taxis, and independent shuttles are all available. Many hotels have airport shuttles, though you aren’t likely to find many hotels in Jacksonville that also offer shuttle service to the cruise port.

6. Port of Palm Beach

When many people think of cruising from Florida, they’d never think of Palm Beach. But the city does have a port and it’s home to one cruise ship: Margaritaville at Sea Paradise. The sole vessel under the Margaritaville at Sea cruise brand, Paradise sails short two-night voyages between Palm Beach and Freeport, Bahamas.

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Fun attractions in Palm Beach and West Palm Beach include the Manatee Lagoon, the Palm Beach Zoo, the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, the Norton Museum of Art, Rapids Waterpark, and Mounts Botanical Garden. For time outside and at the beach, consider visiting the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park or Phil Foster Park, which includes an underwater snorkeling trail.

Popular Nearby Hotels: Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa, Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront/Palm Beaches Resort, SpringHill Suites by Marriott West Palm Beach I-95, and Courtyard by Marriott West Palm Beach

Airport Transportation Information

The drive from Palm Beach International Airport to the Port of Palm Beach is about 20 minutes. Rideshares and taxis are available. Further, some hotels offer shuttles to and from the airport as well — though they likely won’t offer a shuttle to the cruise port.

7. Port of Key West

We had to include the Port of Key West on this list of cruise ports in Florida as well. Even though it isn’t a cruise ship homeport, it does serve as a port of call on many itineraries to the Bahamas and Caribbean.

Located on the westernmost tip of the islands that make up the Florida Keys, the city of Key West has a distinctly Florida charm highlighted by its Old Town historic district and pastel houses.

Cruise Ports in Florida

Popular activities in Key West include taking a stroll on Duval Street — lined with unique shops and vintage restaurants. Cruisers can also visit the famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar for a sloppy joe, explore the Hemingway Home & Museum, and take a photo at the southernmost point of the continental U.S.

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How many of these cruise ports in Florida have you visited? Do you usually cruise from Florida? Drop us an anchor below to share your favorite cruise ports from which to depart.

Sarah has been writing about the cruise industry since 2015, and in that time has taken a dozen cruises and counting. Her favorite onboard activities include trying the casual dining options, spending time in the spa’s thermal suite, and attending the love & marriage show. You can keep up with her on Instagram at @IAmSarahJaneB.
Sarah Bretz, Contributor
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