Where to find the best views for sail away from Port Canaveral
Whether you live near Port Canaveral, visit the area or stay in nearby Orlando, the experience of a sail away from Port Canaveral is filled with grandeur and amazement.
Port Canaveral has grown by leaps and bounds in just a few years. Behind all this expansion is the incentive to attract more cruise ships to this central Florida cruise port. And they’re succeeding.
At this time, Port Canaveral is home to ships from Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and seasonally, Norwegian Cruise Line.
There’s also Jetty Park, a beautiful and unique beachfront campground. It features a general store, RV parking, walking paths and its Jetty Park pier that extends 1,200’ out over the ocean.
Grills and Fishlips
If you plan to visit on a Saturday or Sunday, the best time to arrive is around 3:30pm. Though the ships don’t begin their parade out to sea until approximately 4:30pm, to get an outdoor table next to the water, a 3:30pm arrival is important. An early arrival will increase your chances to snag a good outdoor (and maybe shaded) table.
Similar to being on a cruise ship, you can always ask to share an unfilled 6-seat table with others, especially at Grills. Since you can’t just homestead a table, I suggest that you enjoy a late lunch, early dinner or a couple of appetizers and drinks.
Once the ships begin their procession through the channel and out to sea, people will move to the fence to take the best photos. Do the same.
A smaller and quieter restaurant/seafood market, Seafood Atlantic gives you the same views as Grills and Fishlips but with fewer people and fabulous fresh fish. I always buy fresh fish or seafood at the little market. They’ll pack it in ice for your drive home.
This is my favorite place to watch a sail away from Port Canaveral.
You may have to pay an entrance fee of a few dollars, but it’s well worth it. Once inside the park, follow the winding path until you get to the parking area. Park, grab your camera/smart phone and head towards the pier.
Thirsty? Stop at the camp store and get a cold drink…or BYO. If it’s a hot, sunny and typical humid Florida afternoon, you may not want to begin your long walk out to the end of the jetty until it’s close to sail away time. There’s no shade at all…just an open walkway, fresh ocean breezes and hungry pelicans that line the handrails, waiting for a fisherman’s handout.
When is sail away from Port Canaveral
Your best bet is to check the websites for Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Disney to find out the sail away times. But do it a week before you plan to go to Port Canaveral. If you wait until the day of the cruise to check the departure times, they will have been removed from the cruise lines’ websites.
Spur of the moment visit? Call the cruise lines for the sail away times.
Directions to Port Canaveral, the Cove and Jetty Park
From Orlando, simply drive east on SR 528, affectionately called the Beachline. Watch carefully for road signs to Port Canaveral, as Florida notoriously lacks in good road signage.
When you finally and excitedly see cruise ships in front of you on your left, you’ll soon want to exit 528. Merge briefly onto A1A south and stay to your right. Exit and go left under the overpass and follow George King Blvd and look for signs to The Cove. You can enter the Cove area on either Flounder St. or Glen Cheek Road.
Heading to Jetty Park? Continue on George King Blvd and follow the signs for the campground.
There’s plenty of free parking at the Cove. With a 3:30 arrival, parking is easy.
Enjoy your sail away from Port Canaveral!