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Port Canaveral overtook Miami as world's busiest cruise port in 2022 (updated)

A busy day at Port Canaveral
Port Canaveral for the first time became the world's busiest cruise port in 2022 with 4,072,396 multi-day passengers, just topping PortMiami's 4,022,544.

'We’ve always aimed to be the best cruise port in the world, but what an achievement to now be known as the busiest,' Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray said. 'This historic milestone is testament to the efforts of our team and cruise partners to provide a best in class experience for all cruise guests sailing from Port Canaveral.'

Update: This story originally cited Florida Ports Council numbers which have 3,988,094 multi-day passengers listed for PortMiami, but port Director/CEO Hydi Webb in an update told Seatrade Cruise News that Miami's in-transit numbers were not included so, with those, the total was 4,022,544. 

'We are excited to see the cruise industry bounce back strong,' Webb said. 'Last year, PortMiami proudly welcomed more than 4 million cruise passengers during a transitional year, and we expect to grow even more in 2023.' 

Miami, she said, has five new ships and is rolling out improvements like easy-access roadways and technology to support fast and efficient operations and soon will become the first port on the East Coast with multiple terminals providing shore power. 

Port Everglades 1.6m

Following the top two, Port Everglades had 1,621,216 multi-day passengers in 2022.

Other Florida cruise ports

Other Florida ports with cruise business include Port Tampa Bay (418,200 passengers in 2022), Port of Key West (198,411), Port of Palm Beach (188,235) and JAXPORT (90,241), all numbers according to Florida Ports Council, citing the ports. 

The Council's pre-pandemic statistics show Florida's embarkations increased by 41% between 2010 and 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 3.9%. In 2019, Florida ports accounted for 60.1% of total US cruise passenger embarkations.

As the industry continued its COVID-19 recovery in 2022, 41% fewer passengers were carred than in 2019, the Florida Ports Council said while noting the state's ports led US cruising's recovery.

It is anticipated that Florida ports should reach 2019 passenger levels in 2023.

2027 projections

The Florida Ports Council also listed 2027 estimates for cruise ports. These figures include single day passengers for the ports that have day cruise operations.

PortMiami estimates going to 8.4m in 2027.

In Canaveral's case, the figure would go from 2022's 4,210,260 (adding in 137,864 single day passengers) to an estimated total (single day and multi-day) 6,434,000 in 2027.

And Port Everglades would go from 2022's 1,717,908 passengers (adding in its 96,692 single day passengers) to an estimated 2027 total (single day and multi-day) of 5,176,280.