Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray breezed through more than 20 PowerPoint slides during his annual State of the Port Address earlier this month.
But Murray says his “favorite slide in the whole presentation” is the first one he showed — the one that showed the record numbers for total revenue, operating revenue, cruise revenue, cargo revenue and cargo tonnage for the port budget year that ended Sept. 30.
“We had a great year, and we’re excited about the year before us” in 2019, Murray told the 300 community leaders at the event, held at Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal 1.
Murray is not going to be complacent about the fiscal 2018 numbers. Looking forward, Murray said, he’s excited about what’s ahead for Port Canaveral, the world’s second-busiest cruise port and a major driver in the Space Coast tourism economy.
“It’s an exciting time to be in Port Canaveral, and I can guarantee you it’s going to be more exciting in the next two years,” Murray said.
Here are 10 things to look forward to at Port Canaveral for 2019 and beyond:
New lineup of cruise ships in 2019
On Nov. 10, the Norwegian Epic returned to Port Canaveral, marking the first of six major changes to the port’s ship lineup for the coming year.
• April 12: The Norwegian Sun returns to Port Canaveral. Murray revealed that the ship will be based here year-round, rather than seasonally. As was the case during 2018, some of the Norwegian Sun’s 2019 cruises will be to Cuba.
The Sun was built in 2001, and has a capacity of 1,936, based on double-occupancy of its cabins.
• May 6: Royal Caribbean shuffles its ship lineup at Port Canaveral, as the Harmony of the Seas replaces the Oasis of the Seas. The Harmony, which entered service in 2016, is a newer ship than the Oasis, which dates back to 2009.
The Harmony of the Seas has a double-occupancy capacity of 5,479 and a maximum capacity of 6,687, a similar size to Oasis of the Seas.
Additionally, the Mariner of the Seas replaces the Enchantment of the Seas. The Mariner is larger and newer than the Enchantment.
The Mariner, a “Voyager Class” ship which debuted in 2003, will return to Port Canaveral following a $100 million upgrade. It has a double-occupancy capacity of 3,344 and a maximum capacity of 4,000.
The Enchantment, which debuted in 1997, has a double-occupancy capacity of 2,252 and a maximum capacity of 2,730.
• April 17: The Carnival Elation replaces the Carnival Sunshine.
While the Elation is a smaller ship than the Sunshine, it will have more sailings per year from Port Canaveral (78 a year vs. 52 a year) because it will offer four- and five-night cruises, rather than the Sunshine’s six- to eight-night cruises. That means more passengers coming through Port Canaveral and more revenue for the port and local businesses that benefit from cruise passengers, such as hotels and restaurants.
The Elation, which went into service in 1998, has a double-occupancy capacity of 2,130 and a full capacity of 2,650.
The Sunshine has double-occupancy capacity of 3,002 and a full capacity of 3,758. The ship re-entered service in May 2013 after a $155 million refurbishment and a name change from the Carnival Destiny, a ship which dates back to 1996.
• Nov. 23, 2019: The Norwegian Breakaway replaces the Norwegian Epic.
The Breakaway was built in 2013, and has a passenger capacity of 3,963, based on double-occupancy of its cabins. In comparison, the Epic was build in 2010 and refurbished in 2015, and has a double-occupancy capacity of 4,100.
“We’ve got capacity” for an expanded cruise ship presence, Murray said. “We can handle the biggest ships in the world.”
Murray teased that “2020 is going to be even more exciting than 2019” for the port’s cruise business, but added that he couldn’t supply all the details just yet.
Disney expands its presence
While Disney Cruise Line has said nothing official, Murray said Disney in the future will base three cruise ships at Port Canaveral year-round, rather than two.
Disney’s two largest ships — the Dream and the Fantasy — are here now. Disney is adding three ships to its four-ship fleet in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Murray said one or more of those new ships will be based here, in combination with existing Disney ships, to give Disney a three-ship presence at Port Canaveral.
Murray said Disney’s expanded presence is a prime driver in Port Canaveral’s planned $48 million project to upgrade Cruise Terminals 8 and 10, with completion of that project scheduled for 2021.