The port's last record was set March 20, 2010, with 53,365 cruisers.
'We were cautiously optimistic that we would break the record this year, but didn't want to celebrate prematurely. It is difficult to judge how many families would be sharing staterooms with children and driving up the count,' Port Everglades chief executive and director Steven Cernak said.
Plus, one ship came from drydock without passengers, which would have added another 2,000 people.
The port hosted eight cruise ships on Dec. 20, including Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Conquest, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Silhouette, Holland America Line's Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, Princess Cruises' Regal Princess and Royal Princess, and Royal Caribbean International's Allure of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas.
The same ships will return on Sunday, Jan. 3, with the exception of the 3,560-passenger Royal Princess, which is due back from its 10-day eastern Caribbean cruise on Jan. 9. But joining the Jan. 3 lineup will be the 680-passenger Pacific Princess for another eight-ship day.