Port Canaveral is Central Florida's cruise port. It is located about 45 miles from Orlando, along Florida's Atlantic coast.
The Port Canaveral area was relatively undeveloped until the mid-20th century. In 1893, there were enough people in the area to justify establishing a U.S. Post office for what was then called Artesia. During World War II, the U.S. Navy built a sea plane base in the area. However, in the late 1940s, when the U.S. Air Force selected Cape Canaveral to be the site of its space base, the area's fortunes changed.
In the 1870s, the Navy had proposed building a port in the area but Nothing was done. However, when the Cape Canaveral was selected for the space base, the Air Force decided that a nearby port was needed in order to be able to transport large rocket components to the space base. Therefore, work began on building a port.
The port was dedicated in 1953. At first, its non-governmental activities were primarily commercial fishing but as time went on it also became a cargo port, serving central Florida's citrus industry.
Port Canaveral's first cruise ship was the Yarmouth Castle, which used the port in 1964. However, cruise ships did not begin to visit the port on a regular basis until the 1970s. The first modern ships to be homeported at Port Canaveral arrived in the early 1980s. It is no coincidence that growth in cruising at Port Canaveral paralleled the rise of Orlando's theme parks. Both the cruise industry and the public realized that a visit to the parks combined with a cruise was a very attractive vacation for many people.
Meanwhile, the port continued to be used by the government and private industry. The Saturn rocket boosters that propelled the Space Shuttle into orbit were retrieved from the ocean and brought back to the space center via Port Canaveral. Morton Salt built a facility in the port for the shipment of its products by sea.
But cruising has come to dominate the port. Indeed, Port Canaveral derives 80 percent of its revenue from the cruise industry. It is now the second busiest cruise port in the world and the port has ambitions to displace Miami as number one.
Port Canaveral is not a large city. Its population is only about 10,000 people.
The primary language is English. However, a growing number also speak Spanish.
The currency is the U.S. dollar and other currencies usually are not accepted. Major credit cards are widely accepted.
Above: Port Canaveral in the early morning.
Below: The sail from USS Nathaniel Greene (SSBN 636) sits on the north side of the port by the Navy base. It is a memorial to those who served in the United States' nuclear submarine force.
Port Canaveral is a place of contrast with well-developed areas and areas left in their natural state.
Cruise destination - Port Canaveral, Florida, United States - Port Canaveral Overview