Port Canaveral’s Sets a Record with 3+ Million Cruisers…Depending on What You Read

Despite the current state of the economy, people are still going on vacation and taking cruises. When the economy started to look somewhat better, it was assumed that the cruise lines would immediately start raising cruise fares and those fantastic fares we had been accustomed to would soon become a thing of the past. But as we saw more people facing unemployment, foreclosures on their homes, and overall financial hardships, somehow people were still finding a way to save money and take their cruise vacation. As a result, cruise ports like Port Canaveral, Florida saw an increase in the number of cruise passengers sailing out of their port and also an increase in the amount of revenue from visitors to their area.

According to TravelPulse, Canaveral Port Authority Chief Executive Officer J. Stanley Payne stated that for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, more than 3 million multi-day passengers sailed out of Port Canaveral and contributed $40.02 million in cruise revenue. The amount of cruise traffic is up 16 percent as compared to 2010. The overall revenue earned by Port Canaveral was $57.8 million, up over the previous port record of $51.2 million in 2006. However, according to TC Palm: Florida’s Treasure Coast and Palm Beaches, the number of passengers were estimated at 1.55 million. As a result of newer and larger cruise ships and 66 more cruises sailing from the port, this is what helped boost passenger totals.

After repeated calls to Port Canaveral today, at the time of this posting they have not returned calls to clarify which figure is accurate. I was genuinely surprised as I expected any one of the several people with whom I spoke from Port Canaveral to know this number or to have access to it since it was a recently released statistic. Although 1.55 million cruise passengers in and of itself is a great number, one would think that Port Canaveral would want to get the word out in the media about how successful 2010 was for them and have this information available, especially if they wanted everyone to believe the number to be more than 3 million and not 1.55 million.

Port Canaveral is looking toward the future and trying to make cruise passengers’ dreams more of a reality. “We began this year welcoming the new Disney Dream and we’ll end this year with Carnival’s expanded presence and the addition of the Carnival Ecstasy in November,” Payne said. “The momentum will continue with new ship arrivals and the opening of new port facilities.” Port Canaveral is one of many cruise ports in the state of Florida and across the country, including the ever popular Port of Miami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Financial statistics and the number of cruise passengers that pass through these ports should be readily available and not kept under lock and key, which can only lead to further investigation and queries by the media and ultimately, those very passengers who wish to cruise through these ports. Hopefully, Port Canaveral will eventually get back to me and if they do, I will report back here immediately.

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