Sailing on a cruise from the Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal? Here are some tips and information for cruisers that can help you on your trip.
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Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal Tips and Information for Cruisers
Port Canaveral Location
Port Canaveral FL is located about 45 miles east of Orlando. It’s fairly easy to fly into the Orlando International Airport, Sanford International Airport, or Melbourne International Airport, and travel to the cruise port. We always fly into Orlando International Airport, due to the number of available flights from Boston.
However, some families choose to do other things as well. You can plan a Disney land and sea vacation, and spend some time at Walt Disney World before or after your cruise. That works especially well with the three or four day Disney Dream itinerary.
Families may also consider spending time near Port Canaveral before or after their cruise. Activities in the area include the Kennedy Space Center and the Space Coast beaches (including Cocoa Beach and Melbourne Beach).
Getting to and from Port Canaveral
If you are traveling on the Disney Cruise Line, you’ll have some specific transportation options offered to you. These are available at an additional fee, but I find them to be so convenient. We always take the shuttle.
There are two options – one leaving Orlando International Airport, and one leaving from the Walt Disney World resort hotels. You’ll want to add these on your trip itinerary when you book, or later through DCL or the travel agent you booked with.
There are other options as well, including shuttles, private cars, Uber/Lyft, and cabs. Port Canaveral parking is also available. It’s currently $17 per day, and you’ll park near your specific cruise terminal.
If you are hoping to get a rental car so you can continue to explore the area after your cruise, there are several options available. As always, I recommend booking in advance to make sure there is a car available when you need it.
Port Canaveral Cruises
I’ve specifically mentioned Disney Cruise Lines here, because that’s who I typically cruise with. But Port Canaveral hosts other cruise lines as well. These include:
- Royal Caribbean
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Norwegian Cruise Line
Cruise lines and ships are always subject to change.
Sailing out of the Port Canaveral on Disney Cruise Line
Admittedly, I’ve only sailed Disney Cruise Line from Port Canaveral, and I’ve always found the process to be easy and straightforward. If you are taking Disney transportation from the airport, you’ll leave your luggage before boarding the motorcoach at the airport.
Once you arrive at the port, you’ll be directed through security, then will travel upstairs to the check-in area. The Disney terminal is so well-appointed, and it really gets you in the spirit of traveling with Disney.
There are three separate check-in areas. One is for first-time cruisers, one is for Castaway Club silver and gold members, and one is for concierge guests and Platinum Castaway Club members.
When you check-in, you’ll make sure you have a credit card on file, sign any relevant paperwork, and have your photo taken. You’ll be given a Key to the World card, as well as a lanyard if you are a Castaway Club member.
A boarding number will be given to you at that time. You can sit in the waiting area and wait for the number to be called. While you wait, you can walk outside to get a great photo of the ship, and can even wait in line to take a photo with Minnie or Mickey.
Customs at Port Canaveral
Once you exit the ship, you’ll head downstairs towards customs. If you’ve tagged your bags to be picked up outside your room and delivered to your room, you’ll need to find them before going through customs. There are lots of bags, but the sections are well labeled so they are easy to find. I usually check bags for longer cruises and carry my own for shorter ones.
After you see the customs officials, you’ll walk out of the terminal to find the various transportation options. If you are taking the Disney transportation to the airport or the theme parks, they are very easy to find and run continuously.
Port Canaveral Hotels
I always recommend that cruise passengers arrive at least a day in advance. The risk of flight delays is always a risk, and arriving early can definitely help mitigate that risk.
You’ll have lots of options when choosing where to stay that night. Some guests choose to go to Walt Disney World first, while others prefer to stay near the Orlando International Airport (where they can get transportation to the port in the morning). You may also consider staying near the port. Here are some options:
Orlando International Airport
I absolutely love staying at the Hyatt right at the airport. It’s so convenient, and they even handle your bags for you and take them right from your room to the cruise port. This hotel also offers day stay rooms, if you find yourself in need of a place to hang out before a later flight after your cruise.
We’ve stayed here a few times and enjoyed our stay. There’s a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport, and you can enjoy the signature DoubleTree service.
Near Port Canaveral
I haven’t personally stayed near the Port Canaveral cruise terminal, but these hotel have great reviews.
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Cape Canaveral
- Radisson Resort at the Port
- Residence Inn Cape Canaveral Cocoa Beach
It’s about a 50 minute ride, although there can sometimes be traffic to make the ride longer.
Both airports – MCO and Sanford Airport, are both somewhat nearby. It’s usually easier to get transportation from MCO, however.
I prefer to stay at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. It’s so convenient, and it’s a really nice hotel where you can get some great sleep before your cruise.