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Will cruises from Port Canaveral be delayed due to Artemis launch


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The launch of the worlds largest rocket is scheduled for three launch dates from Cape Canaveral. The first date, with a two hour window, is Monday August 29th, 2022 beginning at 8:33am. If that date is scrubbed, the second date is Friday, September 3, 2022 with another two hour window beginning 12:48pm. If that date is also scrubbed, the third date is Monday, September 5, 2022 with a 90 minute window beginning 5:13pm.  With all three dates, cruises will be in port with debarkation and embarkation taking place. We know traffic will be extremely heavy due to the anticipated million people expected to be in the area to witness the launch. Due to the launch and required distance and clearance from the launch pad, will there be any delays in ships returning to port or delays in ships leaving port?  Keeping in mind, this is the biggest rocket to ever take off in the world. 

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Ships tend to leave after 4pm, sometimes closer to 5pm.  

USCG will establish marine exclusion zones based on the direction a spacecraft goes as it launches.  Basically they don't want ships downrange in the area where debris could fall if something goes wrong.  Usually for Port Canaveral there is an area between land and the marine exclusion zones where large ships can safely enter port.  If that isn't possible then USCG will close the port for arriving or departing traffic just before and through the launch window.  Once the launch has occurred and the rocket is far enough away the marine exclusion zones are cleared to reflect that.  

I can't find the projected track of Artemis yet so it's not clear to me if the port will be closed or impacted at all.  The port and the launch pads are far enough away that a failed launch resulting in the rocket not leaving the ground doesn't impact the safety of any vessels or people in the port.  

The worst case scenario for a cruise ship schedule is the port is closed to departing ships 45 minutes before launch on Monday.  Once the launch is away or scrubbed then USCG will reopen the port IF they have to close the port at all.  Most of the time so far, the port has not been closed to arriving or departing ships during launches, ships just have to sail southerly hugging the coast before turning towards the sea, but that only applies when the track of the spacecraft requires it.  Worst case for a cruise ship is likely a 7pm departure roughly 2 hours late.

The size of Artemis while impressive has little bearing on the potential for a port closure.  The track that it will fly over the first ~30 seconds will determine any marine exclusion areas and/or port closures that might be put in place.   The city of Titusville is closer to most launchpads at the Cape compared to Port Canaveral.  They won't be evacuating the city for the launch so Port Canaveral won't be impacted either although it could see a lot of vehicle traffic.  Hotels in the area are already sold out.  The Port has plans for dealing with events like this.  

I was recently boarding Mariner during a SpaceX launch a few weeks ago.   These pics were taken from the terminal parking garage just before I walked into the cruise terminal to check in.  The launch pad was about 15 miles away so I used a telephoto lens through the rain to capture it.

Granted this was just the "little" falcon 9 rocket that SpaceX uses compared to SLS.  

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Awesome pictures and detailed information. Thank you for sharing. I guess we will need to wait on the direction of the rocket to know if departures could be delayed. We are setting sail on Independence of the Seas on 9/5/22 at 4pm. Would love to see the launch if the first two dates are scrubbed. Even if we leave port at 4pm, we should still be able to see the launch from sea at 5:13pm. 

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I'm getting on Independence on 8/29.  I had to get a hotel off 95 since hotels in Cocoa Beach were going for crazy prices if not sold out.  I certainly hope to see the launch that morning, but also hope it doesn't impact me getting to the ship for my 11:00 am arrival.  If it is scrubbed, then I have a second chance to see it when I get off on 9/3.  If that happens, then I plan to stick around for it and make it a two day drive home instead.  I haven't seen a launch since the very first Challenger flight.  This is a great opportunity for a rare first launch viewing.

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