Port Canaveral News
For the most up-to-date news from Port Canaveral click
Upgrades for Disney Magic, just out of dry dock.
(September 25, 2008)
collection of enhancements is now in place on the Disney Magic as
the ship returns from dry dock. The 2,700 passenger cruise ship
received a series of upgrades from Sept 6 - 24, 2008.
Here is a
glimpse at what's new onboard the Disney Magic:
Indulgence and Relaxation
Quiet Cove, the serene pool retreat reserved for the enjoyment
of adults, received a makeover including upgrades to Cove Café,
the pool and the deck area. Cove Café, the ship’s sophisticated
coffee lounge, now features a new seating area with plush,
comfortable chairs providing the perfect venue to relax while
sipping a cup of gourmet coffee. Meanwhile, the adult pool was
outfitted with soothing, cascading waterfalls from the two hot
tubs. Teak deck and lounge chairs with plush cushions line the
pool, creating an inviting, stylish ambiance in line with the
Vista Spa and Salon.
Fun for the Little Ones
The Oceaneer Club, a Neverland-themed play space for 3-7 year
olds, and the Oceaneer Lab, a whacky and interactive laboratory
exclusively for 8-12 year olds, were enhanced with new
registration areas that make the check-in process more efficient
and hassle-free. This sets the stage for incorporating Radio
Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in the youth activity
areas later this year, which will further enhance and streamline
the check-in process. The technology uses RFID tags embedded on
wristbands, allowing children to simply tap a sensor to check in
and out of the clubs.
Even the youngest cruisers now have a splashtacular time in
“Mickey’s Splash Zone,” a new toddler water playground inspired
by Fantasia’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice. This 385-square-foot
extension to the Mickey Pool on deck 9 features star- and
moon-shaped interactive fountains, a soft play surface and
whimsical splash zones; creating an inviting environment for
children not yet toilet trained and in swim diapers.
The guest staterooms onboard the Disney Magic received an
infusion of technology with the installation of flat-screen LCD
television sets. The new 22-inch units are mounted on a swivel
arm to allow easy viewing from multiple locations within the
A leader in the
family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line offers three-, four-
and seven-night itineraries to The Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Land/sea vacation packages that include a stay at the Walt
Disney World Resort are also available.
Bring Largest Ship to Port Canaveral
MIAMI (April 23, 2008) – Carnival Cruise
Lines has announced that the new 130,000-ton Carnival Dream – the largest “Fun
Ship” ever constructed – will be based at Port Canaveral, Fla., beginning in
fall 2009. Details on the ship’s itinerary will be provided at a later date.
Currently under construction at
the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, the 3,652-passenger Carnival
Dream is the first in a new class of ship for the line with a unique interior
design, sleek hull and distinctive profile, along with a host of innovative
facilities and features which will be released in the coming months.
The deployment of the Carnival
Dream to Port Canaveral continues the line’s 18-year relationship with the
Canaveral Port Authority, the longest tenure of any cruise line there.
In addition to the Carnival Dream,
the line has two other “Fun Ships” scheduled to enter service – the 113,300-ton
Carnival Splendor, set to debut in Europe July 2, 2008, and the 130,000-ton
Carnival Magic, slated for delivery in June 2011.
Megaships Coming To Port Canaveral
Disney Cruise Line has agreed to make
Port Canaveral home for both of the
newest super liner cruise ships in its fleet
beginning in 2011, FLORIDA TODAY has learned.
In addition, Royal Caribbean International has
signed a letter of intent to bring its Freedom
of the Seas to be home-ported at Port Canaveral
The deals are the culmination of a year of
In 2011 and 2012, Disney will put both of its
mega-size 4,000-passenger ships at Port
Canaveral in a deal in which the cruise line
will pick up the $22 million cost for
improvements to its land-side terminal at the
port and construction of a new parking garage.
Under terms of the 15-year deal, the ships will
remain at Port Canaveral at least until 2014, at
which time Disney has the option to move the
ships. At least two of the four Disney ships
will remain at Port Canaveral for the duration
of the contract.
“This is the most exciting development,” said
Stan Payne, chief executive officer of Canaveral
Port Authority. “The trend in the cruise
industry is to put the bigger ships at the
strongest ports in the country, and for Disney
to put both of its newest ships here is a big
With Royal Caribbean, the deal to bring
Freedom of the Seas to Port Canaveral in 2009
was critical to replace the Mariner of the Seas,
which leaves for Los Angeles that year.
The five-year deal, which includes two one-year
contract extensions, is the longest term of any
contract the port has had with Royal Caribbean.
It took a year to work out the Disney deal,
because of issues related to the overall deal,
particularly including financing the terminal
construction, which needs to be completed by
October of 2010.
In February 2007, Disney announced the deal with
Germany’s Meyer Werft Shipyards to build the two
Two gambling ships shut down at port
BY DAVE BERMAN
FLORIDA TODAY ADVERTISEMENT
SunCruz. The Coast Guard said it found 24 safety
deficiencies during an inspection of SunCruz Casinos’ gambling ship, four of
which it classified as “major.” FLORIDA TODAY file photo
The U.S. Coast Guard late Tuesday shut down both gambling ships that operate
from Port Canaveral -- one for alleged safety violations, the other for
problems with documentation.
The Coast Guard found 24 safety deficiencies during an annual inspection of
SunCruz Casinos' Surfside Princess, four of which marine inspectors
classified as "major," according to Petty Officer 1st Class Donnie Brzuska,
a Coast Guard spokesman,
The major violations included a 20- to-50-gallon-per-minute leak in the
ship's main engine coolant system; a leak in the ship's fire main that was
running on an electrical panel; an inoperable fire pump; and discrepancies
with the vessel's fire screen doors.
Separately, the Coast Guard ordered Sterling's Ambassador II to leave Port
Canaveral because it did not have required documentation.
Sterling Casino Lines representatives said a scheduled Tuesday evening
gambling cruise was canceled, and it was uncertain when the Bahamian-flagged
ship would resume operations. They declined additional comment.
Petty Officer 1st Class Donnie Brzuska, a Coast Guard spokesman, said a new
entity that manages the vessel did not have what’s known as a “certificate
of financial responsibility” for the ship.
The certificate guarantees it has money set aside to fixed damage cause by
an accident or pollution discharge.
Brzuska said the amount of money varies, depending on the ship’s size and
type of operation. He did not have specific information on what the amount
would be for Ambassador II.
Brzuska said the Coast Guard issued a “captain of the port order” against
the Ambassador II, ordering it out of all U.S. waterways and ports.
All foreign-flagged vessels are required to have a certificate of financial
responsibility in order to operate in U.S. waters. A certificate of
responsibility helps to ensure that the operating vessel has financial
responsibility in case of pollution or accident involving the vessel.
The Ambassador II will not be allowed to re-enter U.S. ports or waterways
until it has acquired a valid certificate of financial responsibility,
The Coast Guard had a marine inspector at Port Canaveral issue the order to
ship representatives when the Ambassador II returned to the port at 4:30
p.m. from a daytime cruise. The inspector said the ship had to let its
passengers off, then leave U.S. waters.
The vessel recently switched management from International Shipping Partners
to Sterling Shipping, and did not update its certificate of responsibility
after the switch, Brzuska said.
The eight-year-old Sterling ship has a capacity of 1,744 passengers and is
440 feet long, according to Sterling’s Web site.
The American-flagged SunCruz XII has a capacity of 1,200 passengers and is
308 feet long, according to SunCruz’s Web site.
Disney Itinerary Changes Due To Hurricane
Disney is monitoring Hurricane Wilma very closely, as the
security of their guests is always top priority. According to the latest
projections from the National Weather Service, there is still considerable
uncertainty surrounding the specific timing and path of the storm.
The Disney Magic will set sail from Port Canaveral on Saturday, Oct. 22,
2005. With Hurricane Wilma moving slowly across Cozumel in the western
Caribbean and predicted to pass very near Key West during the first part of
this coming week, it has become necessary to alter the itinerary so that
guests can enjoy safe conditions and fair weather. Therefore, this voyage
will be sailing to the eastern Caribbean and visiting the ports of St.
Maarten, St. Thomas and Disney's private island Disney's Castaway Cay.
The Disney Wonder will set sail from Port Canaveral on Sunday, Oct. 23,
2005. At this time, Hurricane Wilma is not predicted to pass through the
Bahamas, and Disney will continue to monitor its path carefully. Should
conditions change, they are prepared to alter the itinerary.
Carnival to Add New Four and Five Day
Cruises from Port Canaveral
A new year-round program of four and five-day
cruises from Port Canaveral will kick off March 23, 2006. These cruises will
initially be offered on the 2,052-passenger Sensation through Oct. 19, 2006.
Just prior to the start of this program, the Sensation will undergo a
The 2,052-passenger Elation will take over the program as of Oct. 23, 2006.
Four-day cruises will call at Nassau and either Freeport or Half Moon Cay.
Five-day cruises will call at Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau
throughout 2006 and from May to Sept. 2007. From Jan. to April 2007 and from
Oct. to Dec. 2007, the five-day itinerary will feature Key West and Cozumel.
Grand Turk, part of the Turks & Caicos Islands chain, is a new port of call
featuring pristine beaches, turquoise waters, world renowned coral reefs,
and an intimate, unspoiled atmosphere. Half Moon Cay is a private island
paradise in The Bahamas, featuring beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters
and an abundance of water sports and beach activities.
Port business back to normal after passage
of storm Ophelia wanders away
Sept. 11. All cruise and cargo operations are expected to resume as normally
scheduled this weekend at Port Canaveral as Hurricane Ophelia gradually
moves north and away from Brevard County, a port official said Friday.
Because of Ophelia, Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Line and Royal
Caribbean International all diverted ships scheduled to return to Port
Canaveral earlier this week, sending them instead to Port Everglades, near
"We have dropped the waterside evacuation warning that was in effect, but we
have to continue to watch the track of the storm," said Stan Payne, chief
executive officer of Port Canaveral. "The Coast Guard will continue to
monitor the storm over the weekend."
"We're hoping this is the end of the impact of this storm," Payne said.
Underwater ditch planned by port to keep sand
Damage last year from hurricanes blocked ship access for 12 days
BY SCOTT BLAKE
PORT CANAVERAL - Sand seems harmless enough. But, for the Canaveral Port
Authority, it can be the enemy.
Sand is what washed into the Port Canaveral's shipping entrance during last
year's hurricanes, closing one of the world's busiest cruise ports for
nearly two weeks before it was removed.
And sand is what the Port Authority is planning for this hurricane season,
which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.
During their monthly meeting Wednesday, port commissioners are expected to
approve studies as part of a plan to dig an underwater ditch near
Canaveral's shipping channel to catch sand, instead of having it flow into
the channel, if there are any big storms.
Above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean has been forecast
this summer, but the channel project may not get done in time.
Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Stan Payne said he hopes the project
is finished for the
latter part of the hurricane season, which usually is the most active time
for storms. But the planning process has been a long one.
"We simply can't have the port close down for 12 days like we did last year
because of the impact specifically on our cruise business," Payne said
Monday after meeting with port tenants to discuss the port's hurricane
The Port Authority would pay to dig the hole, and port officials expect the
federal government will take responsibility for maintaining it.
When sand filled the channel in September, cruise lines had to relocate
their ships to South Florida ports and bus down passengers from Port
Canaveral. Cruise terminals also were left without electricity after the
storms, making conditions uncomfortable for passengers waiting for buses to
The Port Authority -- which gets most of its money from fees it collects
from cruise lines based on passenger counts -- lost money from the
interruption in service.
In addition, the port's petroleum imports were disrupted because cargo ships
were blocked from entering the port.
Payne doesn't want a repeat.
He hopes to "piggyback" the sand ditch project on the authority's contract
with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains the channel.
"A lot of things have to fall in place before that can happen," he said.
The Port Authority estimates the construction cost of the ditch project
could be about $2 million. But that isn't certain.
"We're not sure of the costs," Payne added. "We're working on it now."
Cruise lines also don't want a repeat.
"The storms last year impacted us tremendously from a financial standpoint
and a guest-relations standpoint because a lot of people were
inconvenienced," said Jennifer de la Cruz, a spokeswoman for Miami-based
Carnival Cruise Lines, which has two ships at Canaveral. "If the (proposed
ditch) will prevent what happened last year, that obviously would be
beneficial to us."
The Port Authority is taking action on the proposed sand ditch because, if
it was left to the federal government, it could take years to be approved
The government is in charge of maintaining the channel. But making the ditch
part of that agreement would take too long, Payne said.
"With the federal government, their hands are tied because of the rules they
play with," he added. "We decided we would forge out on our own because it
was that important."
Also Monday, port officials met with about 80 tenants to brief them on
hurricane preparedness, including the removal of recreational boats from the
port's harbor prior to a storm.
Payne said those who do not follow the port's emergency rules could be fined
or even lose the right to use the port.
Getting boats out of the water before last year's hurricanes "saved hundreds
of thousands of dollars in property damage," and kept vessels from sinking
in the harbor, which could have further disrupted shipping, Payne said
Other ports courting Disney
Magic sets sail May 14 for stay in California
BY DONNA BALANCIA
Staying at Port Canaveral. Disney Wonder, right, docks in Port Canaveral on
Friday. The Wonder will continue to operate out of the port while another
ship, Disney Magic, moves to California for three months. Rik Jesse, FLORIDA
The Disney Magic will depart from Port Canaveral on May 14 for a Panama
Canal cruise and will dock at the Port of Los Angeles on May 28. From Los
Angeles, it will offer seven-night Mexican Riviera cruises for about three
months. It then will cruise back through the Panama Canal and is expected to
return to Port Canaveral on Sept. 3.
Disney Cruise Line will introduce its special brand of cruising to a new
market and new customers when the Disney Magic sets sail for California on
May 14 as part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of Disneyland.
"The debut of the Magic to the California market does a couple of things for
us," said Tom McAlpin, president of Disney Cruise Line. "It allows a whole
new set of guests to experience what Disney Cruise Line is all about. In
addition to that, it gives our guests who have sailed with us the ability to
come back and see new ports of call."
The Magic and its sister ship, the Disney Wonder, both are based at Port
Canaveral. But the Magic will sail from the Port of Los Angeles for about
three months as part of the 18-month-long celebration of Disneyland's 50th
anniversary -- what Disney is calling "The Happiest Celebration on Earth."
In a wide-ranging interview with FLORIDA TODAY, McAlpin said that while the
Disney Cruise Line has a long-term contract with Port Canaveral, the cruise
line is continually being courted by representatives of other cruise ports.
"We like where we are now because of its access to Walt Disney World, but,
then again, Tampa's close, too," McAlpin said. "But we hope to continue to
play a part of the local economy in Brevard County."
The cruise industry is a critical component of what Brevard County
tourism-industry officials say is a $1 billion-a-year tourism industry
responsible for about 30,000 local jobs.
Cruising is more popular than ever, and, while cruise lines are continually
looking to add attractions to their ships, Disney has the advantage of using
its content and entertainment for a total immersion experience, McAlpin
"What we have is a broad array of product and content," he said. "People go
on a Disney cruise and want to have the Disney experience."
What McAlpin said his company is trying to steer away from is being labeled
as a kids-only cruise line.
"Of course, we have tailored products for the children," he said. "We have
one whole deck dedicated for children and things to do for the families. But
by taking care of children and families, it allows parents to act like
adults. We have nightclubs, adult-only pools, an adult-only spa, so every
member of the family will have a great vacation, and it frees the parents
While the rest of the cruise industry is looking to put more exciting forms
of entertainment on board the ships, Disney has a built-in opportunity, he
"We're about immersing the guest in Disney," McAlpin said. "That includes
the storytelling and the programming and that magic. And incorporated in the
Disney cruise is premium product certainly that provides great entertainment
The cruise appeals to those who want to experience an all-inclusive
vacation, McAlpin said.
"What we have done is we've gone out and we've built a new vacation product
to appeal to a specific market," McAlpin said. "We have a unique island
which is an escape to paradise, complete with barbecues, beaches and a
serenity bay just for adults."
Appealing to the whole family will become more and more of a company
initiative, McAlpin said.
"We find it is not just the nuclear family, but moms, dads, kids, aunts,
uncles and grandparents who come together. It's a great family reunion," he
"The cruise industry has had an overall growth rate of 8 percent over the
past 15 years," McAlpin said. "The industry is experiencing high growth
rates. The reason it's grown so much is high satisfaction and the
all-inclusive nature. "
He said a top initiative is to keep Disney visitors on Disney properties for
the entire time they're on vacation.
While Disney is considering adding a third ship to its fleet, no deals have
been worked out with shipbuilders, largely because of an unfavorable
exchange rate between the dollar and the euro. Most large cruise ships are
built by European companies.
Italian firm Fincantieri built both the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder.
"We certainly believe the business will grow," he said. "We need to wait
until the timing is right. The booking pace is good, and that also allows us
to not only to test the market, but see how it appeals to a whole new
audience. Many of the guests booking us for the West Coast cruises typically
wouldn't book us for an East Coast cruise."
McAlpin said, while the Magic is out West, the Wonder will continue to serve
its regular purpose.
"The bookings for the Wonder won't double," he said. "The purpose of the
Wonder is to convert visitors into lifelong cruisers."
Crown Princess headed to Port
BY SCOTT BLAKE
When Princess Cruises' new Crown Princess arrives at Port Canaveral next
year, it will add to Canaveral's growing port-of-call business that has
brought tens of thousands of cruise passengers to the Space Coast in recent
Other port-of-calls entries in the past two years include Carnival Cruise
Lines' Miracle, Holland America's Zaandam, Norwegian Cruise Lines' Dawn and
Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas.
Those ships and the Crown Princess ensure that a steady of flow of visitors
from the Northeast stop in Brevard County on their way to the Bahamas and
the Caribbean. It has benefited local attractions, from major ones such as
Kennedy Space Center and the beaches to smaller ones such as Cocoa Village
and tours of the Indian River Lagoon.
The leisure and hospitality industries in Brevard employ about 21,000
people, state data show. And Port Canaveral is the nation's second-busiest
cruise port, behind the port of Miami.
Rob Varley, executive director of the Brevard County Tourist Development
Council, estimates about 1,500 passengers from each cruise on the Crown
Princess will visit Brevard County during the daylong port-of-call stops. He
said each passenger is likely to spend an average of $70 to $80 in the area.
That comes to $105,000 to $120,000 in local spending for each cruise, or
$525,000 to $600,000 for all five cruises.
Varley said 500 to 600 passengers on each cruise likely will visit Kennedy
Space Center. The beaches, Cocoa Village, restaurants, stores and local
attractions also will benefit from the influx of business, he said.
"With the ships out of New York, it's just a great stop" for the Space
Coast, Varley said, alluding to the fact that New Yorkers make up a
significant number of the tourists and winter visitors to the area.
Tourism officials said the port-of-call stops may lead to some passengers to
come back to Brevard for vacations and longer stays.
Port officials are equally pleased.
"We welcome Princess Cruises' magnificent vessel to the growing lineup of
cruise ships that utilize the beautiful, world-class facilities at Port
Canaveral," said Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Stan Payne.
"It is our hope that, once Princess Cruises experiences all that Port
Canaveral and the Space Coast has to offer, executives will home-port a
vessel here year-round for all of Central Florida to enjoy," said Port
Authority Vice President of Business Development Bobby Giangrisostomi.
Santa Clarita, Calif.-based Princess Cruises gained notoriety in 1977, when
one of its ships, the Pacific Princess, began to be featured in the
television show "The Love Boat."
The company, which began in 1965 with one ship cruising to Mexico, now has
15 ships and is a subsidiary of Miami-based Carnival Corp., the world's
largest cruise company.
After the 116,000-ton Crown Princess goes into service next year, the ship
will begin cruises out of New York City to the Eastern and Western Caribbean
from June to October.
The ship, with a capacity of 3,100 passengers, will stop at Port Canaveral
during five trips to the Western Caribbean, the Canaveral Port Authority
Currently, the ship is being built in Italy.
It will be the first time a Princess Cruises ship has stopped at Brevard
County's seaport, port officials said.
"Obviously, they (Princess executives) thought it would be someplace that a
lot of people would be interested in stopping," Princess spokeswoman Karen
Tetherow said about Port Canaveral.
Learn how to build
a website that really works!