How to get to Port Canaveral for your Royal Caribbean cruise

In:
29Aug2016
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Port Canaveral is one of the more popular cruising and vacation destinations in Florida, and is the gateway to cruise that many guests embark and start their adventure.  If you're looking to get to Port Canaveral, here is a quick guide to knowing how to get there quickly and easily.

Royal Caribbean operates two cruise ships from Port Canaveral currently, Oasis of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas.

Directions to Terminal 1

Royal Caribbean operates mostly out of the brand new Cruise Terminal #1, which is is located at 9050 Discovery Road Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920.

Driving to Terminal One is simple enough from most spots in Florida.  Most routes will take you to the Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach area via State Road 528, which is a toll road.  You should be prepared and either pre-purchase a SunPass or have exact change in your vehicle.

Directions from Orlando International Airport (MCO)

  1. Take the North exit from the airport, staying to the right on SR 528 East.
  2. Take SR 528 East all the way to Port Canaveral.
  3. Upon approaching the port area, follow the signs indicating Port Canaveral Cruise Terminals B Side.

From Melbourne International Airport (MLB)

  1. Exit east (left) out of the airport onto NASA boulevard and follow to U.S. Highway 1.
  2. Turn left (north) onto U.S. Highway 1.
  3. Travel approximately 20 minutes on U.S. Highway 1 passed the intersection of S.R. 520 in Cocoa about one mile to the S.R. 528 exit.
  4. Exit and travel east on SR. 528 for approximately 10 miles, crossing the Indian River, Merritt Island and the Banana River to reach Port Canaveral.

From Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB)

  1. Exit the airport south to the Central Florida Greenway (Toll Road 417).
  2. Go south 23 miles to S.R. 528 (the Beach line Expressway) eastbound exit.
  3. Go east (37 miles) to the Port. 

From Space Coast Regional Airport (TIX)

  1. Exit and drive east three blocks
  2. Turn south onto U.S. Highway 1 to the Beach line Expressway (S.R. 528) and follow this east to the Port.

From Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB)

  1. Take I-95 south to S.R. 528 East and follow to the Port

Parking Information

You can park directly at Port Canaveral with pre-paid parking options. Please note that rates are subject to change without notice and were accurate as of the day of this posting. 

There are also select hotels that offer a discount on parking at Port Canaveral. If you are staying at a qualifying hotel, you can get a discount at check-out for the parking fee.  Inquire with your hotel.

  • 3 Nights / 4 Days cruises
    • Regular vehicle: $64.00
    • Oversized vehicle: $112.00
  • 4 Nights / 5 Days
    • Regular vehicle: $80.00
    • Oversized vehicle: $140.00
  • 5 Nights / 6 Days
    • Regular vehicle: $96.00
    • Oversized vehicle: $168.00
  • 6 Nights / 7 Days
    • Regular vehicle: $112.00
    • Oversized vehicle: $196.00
  • 7 nights / 8 Days
    • Regular vehicle: $128.00
    • Oversized vehicle: $224.00
  • 8 Nights / 9 Days
    • Regular vehicle: $144.00
    • Oversized vehicle: $252.00
  • 9 Nights / 10 Days
    • Regular vehicle: $160.00
    • Oversized vehicle: $280.00

Taking a taxi

There are lots of taxis at Port Canaveral, as well as the airports in the area that can easily take you to/from Port Canaveral.

Ride-sharing programs, such as Uber or Lyft are also options that can save a lot of money compared to traditional taxis. These ride-sharing services allow people to use their own personal automobiles to provide car rides. Uber and Lyft are gaining in popularity among people headed to the cruise port as a less-expensive way of getting private car transportation to the port.

In either case, get a fare estimate before choosing which service is right for you.

Renting a car

In so many cases, a one-way car rental is the best optional economically because of the flexibility it offers, as well as the per-person cost. Most major rental car facilities have locations in the Cocoa Beach area and provide complimentary shuttle service to the port.

The larger the group, the better sense renting a car makes.  Check what the rental car rates will be for the time you are looking to go, but having a rental car offers not just a means of getting to the port, but also a way to see local attractions, enjoy a greater variety of restaurants and stock up on last-minute supplies prior to getting to the cruise terminal.

When reserving your car, be sure to indicate that you will return the car in a different location and look for locations in Cape Canaveral or Cocoa Beach.  The major rental car companies have locations within 5 miles or so of the cruise terminals.

A good tip for those renting a car is to first drive the car to the cruise terminal, drop off the luggage and everyone else in your party there.  Then, the driver should drive the rental car back to the car rental location and take the free shuttle back to the pier. The reason for this is many people opt to bring the car to the car rental location first and lines can develop for the shuttles since the shuttles aren't very big.  If just one person needs a ride back with no luggage, it can be much easier to hop into the first shuttle back to the terminal since you don't have to worry about fitting luggage or family.

Royal Caribbean Transfers

Royal Caribbean offers a bus service of its own (called transfers) to bring you to the port from Orlando International Airport (MCO). Royal Caribbean offers transfers in one way increments (you can book two one-ways to create a round trip). 

To purchase a Royal Caribbean Guest Transfer or for additional information consult your travel agent or the Royal Caribbean reservations department at 1-800-327-6700.

From an area hotel

If you are staying in a hotel prior to your cruise, the hotels in Port Canaveral and Coco Beach are very convenient to the port.

Take route A1A north and follow A1A all the way until you reach the port area.  Follow the signs for the terminal of your cruise.

Some hotels in Cape Canaveral will offer cruise and park deals, where you can pay for a one night stay at the hotel and receive complimentary parking for the duration of your cruise as well as shuttle service to the pier terminal.

What time to arrive to Port Canaveral

In general, Royal Caribbean allows guests to arrive to the port anytime in the late morning to early afternoon.  Check with your cruise documents for the exact time window.

It is our opinion that arriving to the cruise port earlier (rather than later) is advantageous in a few regards. First, you will beat the crowds at check-in that usually arrive between noon and 1:30pm. Second, you will board the ship sooner, which means you have more time onboard. 

There is no right or wrong time to arrive, as long as you are within the window of time Royal Caribbean lists for your sailing. Arriving early does add a risk of extra waiting around to be let on and staterooms are not accessible onboard until 1:00pm. However, the majority of guests tend to arrive in the early afternoon, which can lead to longer lines.