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It’s hard to believe Port Canaveral was once considered a “small” port that catered to older ships. The real Port Canaveral is a modern, sophisticated facility that home-ports four of the world’s largest ships—Carnival Magic, Disney Fantasy, Norwegian Epic and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas—along with several other ships throughout the year.

What’s even more surprising is the Port Canaveral “experience.” When you cross the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway and catch sight of the gleaming new ships at port, you can’t help but notice all the changes and additions within walking distance of your terminal. From waterfront restaurants perfect for that pre-cruise cocktail or bite to eat, to the white-sand beach and bustling fishing pier that juts along a 1,200-foot jetty. And get this: fishing gear, bait, sunscreen, towels and refreshments are all available for rent or purchase—no extra packing is necessary.

If you’re traveling with little ones, there’s no better place to burn off some energy than the Exploration Tower, a 7-story interactive museum that celebrates the history, environment, wildlife and local culture of Florida’s Space Coast. Kids can practice docking a ship, navigating the oceans and balancing on a surfboard, or they can head to the observation deck to see real life rockets on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center.

Many families and couples cruising from Port Canaveral decide to come early and enjoy the beaches and attractions nearby, including the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex, Canaveral National Sea Shore and the world-famous Ron Jon Surf Shop—all within a quick, 15-minute drive. The Brevard Zoo—which just added a fun ziplining adventure—is a favorite with families too, along with excellent shopping options. Funky boutiques line the streets of Cocoa Village, while the Shops of Viera feature big-box brands.

Accommodations in Cocoa Beach are abundant and easily meet every traveler’s price point. Of course passengers are always excited to learn that Port Canaveral is just 45 minutes from Orlando. Day trips to Disney Parks & Resorts, Disney Springs, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld are frequently on the agenda and make a pre- or post-cruise vacation even more memorable. For a cruising experience unlike any other, it’s tough to beat Port Canaveral. For more information and to download the 2017-2018 Cruise Guide, visit