Located east of Orlando International Airport on Charles M Rowland Drive in Cape Canaveral, the Port Canaveral cruise port sees up to 4 million cruise passengers each year.
The majority of ships departing from Port Canaveral follow a 3, 4, 5 or 7 night Bahamian or Caribbean cruise itinerary.
With Kennedy Space Center as a neighbor and Orlando theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios just a short drive away, families looking for a land and cruise vacation will love cruising from Port Canaveral.
Port Canaveral Address: 9005 Charles M Rowland Drive, Cape Canaveral, FL, 32920
Distance from Nearest Airport: 45.1 miles from Orlando International Airport
Getting to Port Canaveral
There are several transportation options for families heading to Port Canaveral.
Cruise Line Transfer – All cruise lines offer transfer service from the Orlando International Airport to Port Canaveral. Disney Cruise Line also offers transfer service from their their Walt Disney World Resorts to the DCL cruise terminal at Port Canaveral. One way transfer is $35/person and round trip can be booked for $70/person.
Shuttle Bus Transfer – Shuttle bus transfer services like Cortrans and Cocoa Beach Shuttle make multiple trips to Port Canaveral from the airport each day. The per person fare is significantly lower than cruise line transfers however drivers will wait until the bus fills up before heading to the cruise port so travel time to Port Canaveral can vary.
Rental Car – For cruisers traveling with young children or planning on a post-cruise stay, renting a car with car seats or booster seats might be the easiest option. You can drive to Port Canaveral and park at the port for the duration of the cruise.
Car rental companies also offer one-way vehicle rentals at the airport if you want to avoid parking fees at Port Canaveral.
You pick up the vehicle at the airport and drop off the car at the rental company’s office located near the port. Complimentary shuttles will then take you directly to the cruise terminal.
Private Transfer – If you prefer to leave the driving to someone else, private car, limo and van services are available (FL Tours and Happy Limo are two popular companies) which will take passengers from any Port Canaveral or Orlando area hotel to the cruise terminal.
Car seats and booster seats are available upon request at both of these companies.
For groups with 5 or more people, this is more cost effective than booking the cruise line transfers. If requested, they will also make a short stop at a grocery store for families to stock up on snacks and drinks for their cruise.
Parking at Port Canaveral
There are several parking options for cruisers driving to Port Canaveral:
Parking at the Cruise Terminal – Parking at the port is the most convenient option as each cruise terminal has their own parking lot. Prices range from $15 to $20 per day (the longer the duration of your cruise, the lower your daily rate).
Park Port Canaveral – Park Port Canaveral is an off-site parking option located only 5 minutes from the port. The daily rate is $8.95 plus tax (if booked in advance) or $9.95 plus tax if paid at the lot. Complimentary shuttle to and from the cruise terminal.
Park-N-Cruise – Park-N-Cruise is another option located 5 minutes from Port Canaveral. For $8.99 per day (advance booking only – it is $10.99 per day if you pay at the lot), you can park your vehicle in a fenced and gated lot. Park-N-Cruise also allows oversized vehicles like RVs to park in their lots for an extra fee. Complimentary shuttle service to and from the cruise terminal.
Port Canaveral Area Hotels – Several Port Canaveral area hotels have special daily rates and free shuttle service for pre-cruise guests. We have a few recommendations below if you’re looking for a family-friendly hotel near the cruise port.
Where to Stay Before or After Your Cruise
The Port Canaveral area has lots to offer cruisers. With Cocoa Beach, Kennedy Space Center and other family-friendly attractions nearby, many cruisers spend an extra day or two in the area before or after their cruise.
Staying Near Port Canaveral
Below are 10 family-friendly hotels that offer cruise and stay packages – allowing you to park your car during your cruise or providing shuttle service to and from the port.
Family-friendly BUDGET level hotels near the port:
- La Quinta Inn Cocoa Beach – 4.3 miles from port
- Days Inn Cocoa Beach Port Canaveral – 1.8 miles from port
- Cocoa Beach Suites – 2.9 miles from port
Family-friendly MID-RANGE level hotels near the port:
- Radisson Resort at the Port – 0.6 miles from port
- Homewood Suites by Hilton Cape Canaveral – 0.8 miles from port
- Residence Inn Cape Canaveral – 0.9 miles from port
- Country Inn & Suites by Carlson Cape Canaveral – 0.9 miles from port
- La Quinta Inn & Suites Oceanfront – 1.8 miles from port
- Courtyard Cocoa Beach – 3.1 miles from port
- Hampton Inn at Cocoa Beach – 3.1 miles from port
Staying in Orlando
Alternatively, if you want a larger selection of hotels and accommodations (and better prices) to choose from, consider staying in the Orlando area.
Combining your cruise vacation with a theme park visit is a popular option for cruisers with kids. Disney World and Universal Studios are less than 45 minutes driving to Port Canaveral.
Staying Near Orlando International Airport
For those arriving in Orlando late at night before their cruise or leaving Florida early in the morning after their cruise, it might be easier to stay at an Orlando Airport area hotel.
You’ll avoid having to drive to the Port Canaveral / Cocoa Beach area in the wee hours of the morning or late at night when the kids are half asleep.
Kid Friendly Activities Near Port Canaveral
There are several kid-friendly attractions and places of interest in or near Port Canaveral. Here are the most popular for families planning a pre or post cruise stay:
Kennedy Space Center – Just 10 miles from the cruise ship is Kennedy Space Center – where every NASA human space flight has launched from since December 1968. The main visitor center features a Rocket Garden, an Astronaut Hall of Fame, 2 IMAX shows, and a hands-on Angry Birds exhibit. Admission also includes a visit to the launch pads and the Apollo / Saturn V center. Here are some sample itineraries that may be helpful in planning your trip to the KSC.
Manatee Sanctuary Park – Set on Banana River, this 10-acre public park features a stroller and wheelchair accessible boardwalk with multiple viewing areas for manatees, birds, turtles, pelicans, fish and other wildlife. Picnic tables and grills are available to use if you’re planning to have lunch at the park.
Jetty Park – Another park worth visiting is Jetty Park. For $15 admission, your family can spend the day watching fisherman catch fish, wave goodbye to passengers beginning their cruise vacation at the port, or rent an umbrella and chair and spend some time on the beach.
Brevard Zoo – This 75-acre not-for-profit zoo is home to 650 animals including white rhinos, kangaroos and meerkats. There’s a play area, a petting zoo, guided kayak tours and ziplines. Located 28 miles from Port Canaveral, the Brevard Zoo is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.
Cocoa Village – In the downtown area of Cocoa – just 12 miles south of Port Canaveral, you’ll find over 80 shops, restaurants, galleries, a park and Cocoa Village Playhouse at Cocoa Village. There’s no admission fee and plenty of free street parking for visitors who want to spend the morning or afternoon exploring.
Parker Brothers Concepts – If you a movie fanatic, a visit to Parker Brothers Concepts may be worth the visit. Open Monday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, these creative engineers can take your family on a “Behind the Scenes” tour where you can see your favorite movie vehicles up close – think Batmobile or Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters.
Ron Jon Surf Shop – A visit to the Cocoa Beach area is not complete without a trip to the Ron Jon Surf Shop. Forgot to pack sunscreen? Stock up on beach or cruise essentials at this store. Ron Jon Surf Shop is open 24 hours a day.
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