Port Canaveral Cruise Information, Hotels and Driving Directions

Port Canaveral cruise port, located in Cape Canaveral, still has a small town feel despite its growing size. And it’s been my home turf since 2000, so I’m a little biased.

Conveniently located on Florida’s Space Coast, Port Canaveral is about an hour’s drive from Orlando. And while Orlando and its theme parks are known world-wide, there’s plenty to see and do in and near Port Canaveral.

Carnival Sunshine departs from Port Canaveral as people line Jetty Park to wave goodbye.
Carnival Sunshine departs from Port Canaveral as people line Jetty Park to wave goodbye.

Cruising from Port Canaveral? Here are the facts.

Port Canaveral is located in the city of Cape Canaveral and adjacent to famous Cocoa Beach. Cape Canaveral, where the rockets are launched, and the Kennedy Space Center are also nearby. If you have time, a visit to the Kennedy Space Center is worth the time and money.

A convenient drive-to port, Port Canaveral is easy to find and parking is a breeze. You can even reserve your parking space at the port online before you leave home. One less thing to remember to do.

Before you reserve your hotel, motel or resorts near Port Canaveral, ask if they offer free shuttle service and/or free parking if you purchase a stay and cruise package. Some properties offer park and shuttle at a discount rate if you don’t buy the whole package.

READ NEXT:  Driving Directions to Port Canaveral

Stay, Park and/or Cruise packages.

Here are the places I’ve either stayed at or personally inspected:
Radisson Resort at the Port – Cape Canaveral: Packages include stay, park and shuttle with and without breakfast
Courtyard Cocoa Beach: Package includes free parking with overnight stay, shuttle to/from ship, complimentary happy hour daily from 5-7pm.
Hampton Inn in Cocoa Beach, is next door to the Courtyard (see above) and guests can use either hotel’s pool and facilities.
Country Inn and Suites in Cape Canaveral. This hotel offers a cruise parking package with shuttle. Also, free internet, breakfast, coffee and cookies every afternoon.
Residence Inn, Cape Canaveral. Included in their Cruise and Stay package is free breakfast and parking, shuttle to/from ship for a small fee. Full kitchen. Plus – complimentary light dinner, beer, wine and soft drinks on Mon-Wed evenings.

There are plenty of family-friendly activities near the port, including the Kennedy Space Center. With miles of wide beaches, public parks and nearby restaurants and shopping, you might want to consider spending at least a couple of days before or after your cruise. Disney World and Universal Studios Orlando are just an hour away, too.

Driving directions to Port Canaveral

1492 Charles M. Rowland Dr., Port Canaveral, FL 32920

From the North or South:  Drive on I-95 to Exit 205 and keep driving east to Hwy 528 East (the Beachline Expressway.) Drive due east 11.5 miles on Hwy 528. Leave the mainland behind and after you’ve driven over the causeways, watch for the exit to the “A” cruise terminal. You’ll turn onto SR 401 and then drive north 1 mile on SR 401. Go over the drawbridge and get to the right-hand lane. Follow the signs to your cruise ship terminal and parking.

It's an easy drive to Port Canaveral from anywhere in Florida
It’s an easy drive to Port Canaveral from anywhere in Florida

From Orlando International Airport (MCO) Take the north exit from the airport and veer right onto State Road 528 (the Beachline Expressway.)  Follow 528 right to Port Canaveral.

From Tampa, it’s an easy a two-hour drive across the state, picking up I-528, the Beachline, just past central Orlando.

Jacksonville will take you about two and one-half hours in good traffic on I-95 south to 528 east.

Miami is just about four hours, while the drive from Ft. Lauderdale will take slightly less. Turnpike to Ft. Pierce is recommended if you’re driving at peak times.

At this time, parking rates at Port Canaveral are $17 per day for cars and RVs. This includes day of departure and arrival back to port.

Port Canaveral is in the midst of phenomenal growth, adding ships, improving the channel to accommodate the mega-ships and building an entertainment, shopping and resort complex.

Take a look at the port from the Port Canaveral webcam. You may just catch a Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian or Disney ship leave port.

At Fish Lips, everyone stops eating to wave to passengers as the ships head to the Atlantic ocean.
At FishLips, everyone stops eating to wave and cheer, “Bon voyage” as the cruise ships head to the Atlantic ocean.

If you haven’t experienced a sailaway aboard a ship from this wonderful, “small town” port, you should put this on your cruise to-do list right away.

Crowds gather along the Jetty Park pier to wave bon voyage as the ships head out to sea.
Crowds gather along the Jetty Park pier to wave bon voyage as the ships head out to sea.

The hotel links above are affiliate links which means I will earn a tiny bit of change if you should click and book your hotel through the hotel link on this page. If you do, thanks! Happy Travels!

Carnival Ship Jetty Park

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  1. Very useful information for all tourists coming to the Cocoa Beach-Melbourne-Port Canaveral area.

  2. We love to travel to Port Canaveral, the landscaping, and the environment is just so relaxing!.

    We are from Kendal, Miami and the last month we choose a van transportation service to avoid any travel hassles. What a great decision! They were more reasonably priced, very polite, and the van was in pristine condition. We arrived at our destinations very comfortable. They were even patient with us regarding our requirements, such as a grocery stop.

    I highly recommend them, FG Car Services.

  3. We love our little Melbourne airport. And it’s just a short drive to Port Canaveral. Thanks for your comment.

  4. We used to fly into and out of Orlando, but we did Melbourne (MLB) this last time. It is an easier drive to and from the port and since it is so much smaller, it was much easier to negotiate. We pick up our rental at the airport and drop off by the port and they shuttle us over.

  5. Great post, I was just reading up on some different cruises to take this spring. I’m always looking for neat tricks to save money, so I’m a huge fan of NOT parking at the terminal. Too much hassle for me to pack the car, and the kids, and then pay 12 dollars a day for little to no service. I’m definitely bookmarking this page for those hotel deals though. Thanks for the Great Read!!

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