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Port Canaveral plans seventh cruise terminal, eyes 6.4m passengers in 2023

A busy cruise day at Port Canaveral
With cruise revenues exceeding forecasts, Port Canaveral plans to build a seventh cruise terminal by 2026.

Canaveral also hiked its fiscal 2023 multi-day passenger estimate to 6.4m, up from 5.8m, CEO Capt. John Murray told Seatrade Cruise News.

$175m allocated

The Canaveral Port Authority has allocated $175m in its newly revised 2025/26 capital budget for the terminal. 'We've known for a long time we needed another terminal but now it's in the [nearly half a billion dollars] capital budget,' Murray said.

The seventh terminal will be a major facility the size of a CT-1 (used by Royal Caribbean) or a CT- 3 (used by Carnival Cruise Line) and will go on the south side of the port in one of four possible locations, to be determined.

It will be able to handle the largest cruise ships, including Icon and 'Icon-plus,' as Murray put it.

It's possible the $175m could change. (CT-3, the most expensive terminal at the port to date, cost $163m including a new parking garage.)

'May or may not be' for a particular line

'It may or may not be dedicated to any particular cruise line,' Murray said. Instead, it might be committed to a particular size of vessel.

'Multiple cruise lines would love to get their hands on it,' he continued, adding that PortMiami and Port Everglades are 'maxed out' in terms of locations for new cruise facilities.

Canaveral staff will be carefully asssessing locations because 'no matter where it goes, it will impact port users' — though not cruise customers.

Cruise revenues exceed forecasts on higher occupancy

At Wednesday's Canaveral Port Authority meeting, commissioners heard how cruise revenues are topping expectations on higher than projected occupancy.

'The ships are full and then some,' Murray told them. Instead of the 100% occupancy originally estimated, the port is now projecting 110% for the balance of 2023. Some ships are sailing at 125% or even 150% occupancy.

With the higher numbers, cruise-related port fees and parking are adding $26.4m more to the fiscal 2023 (October 2022 through September 2023) budget.

For the first six months, October through March, Canaveral handled 3.39m passengers on multi-day cruises, above the 2.98m budgeted.

6.4m cruisers?

The newly estimated full-year 6.4m multi-day passengers would be way up from the more than 4m in 2022 when Canaveral for the first time became the world's busiest cruise port. Last year its 4,072,396 multi-day count just topped PortMiami's 4,022,544.

More cruise parking on the way

With all the growth, the port plans to significantly expand cruise parking. Space is needed for up to an additional 2,400 vehicles by end 2024, said Canaveral's William Crowe, VP engineering, construction & facilities.