Port Canaveral was dedicated on November 4, 1953. Its first industry was commercial fishing. Cargo vessels arrived within a few years, laden with oil and newsprint, and tanker vessels began carrying central Florida's orange juice to New York in 1958. By 1966, the cargo tonnage moving through the Port had reached one million tons per year. Today, nearly 4 million tons of cargo moves through each year, the Port is home to a major petroleum terminal and tank farm and we’re busy preparing for even more cargo growth.
Port Canaveral also has played an important role in America's space program, supporting nearby Cape Canaveral launches from the start. In 1961, the capsule of Alan Shepard, first American in space, was retrieved on its return by vessels homeported at Port Canaveral. In 1965, the Canaveral Lock opened, connecting the Port to the Banana River and designed specifically for passage of huge Saturn rockets. During the shuttle program, solid rocket boosters retrieved at sea were returned to the Space Center via Port Canaveral. As the space program evolves, Brevard County and Port Canaveral will continue their critical support.
Our cruise history began in the 1970s when port-of-call ships discovered the attractions of central Florida, and our first homeported cruise ship set sail in 1982. Our first dedicated cruise terminal opened that year and we started the climb to our position today. Carnival homeported its first ship here in 1990, Disney joined us in 1998 and Royal Caribbean arrived in 2000. Now we are one of the world’s busiest cruise ports with 4 million revenue cruise passengers per year and the most port-of-call ship visits of any Florida home port.