Port Canaveral CEO projects another record year of revenue

‘Let’s talk about 2022. It was a fantastic year,’ Captain John Murray said

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – The CEO of Port Canaveral is projecting another record year of revenue ahead, while looking back at the growth over the past year at the port. Captain John Murray called 2022 a comeback from the pandemic while speaking at the annual State of the Port address Wednesday.

“Let’s talk about 2022. It was a fantastic year,” Murray said.

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Pent up demand for travel this summer helped bring in $99 million in cruise revenue, a new record according to Murray. The combined operating number in total was $108 million in 2022. Murray says they budgeted $108 million, noting they did “quite well.”

“Our cruise revenue started out slowly, about 50%,” Murray said. “We were still operating at less than 100% capacity until June, when the CDC lifted their restrictions on the cruise industry and allowed us to self-regulate at which point we hit it out of the park in July.”

Murray says 4.1 million passengers moved through the port in 2022. Next year, they’re expecting about 6 million, a substantial increase since 2019.

“We have a 58% increase in passengers operating out of Port Canaveral than we had in 2019. 3.8 million to 6 million, that’s a huge jump,” Murray said.

The growth comes with challenges. On Monday, the delayed arrival of Royal Caribbean’s “Wonder of the Seas” created congestion for both cruise ships and their passengers.

“Absolutely chaotic,” Murray said. “It created some traffic situations, but these are the type of events we need to be ready to react to.”

The “Wonder of the Seas” is the largest cruise ship in the world, carrying nearly 7,00 passengers. That added to the thousands of others at the port needed to get on or off ships and the limited space for vessels.

“It shows you how one little speed bump can cause great chaos in the network we have now,” Murray said. He continued, “We don’t have a backup plan right now, and that’s not a good thing. So, we’re going to have to start looking towards the future. We’re going to need another cruise terminal.”

Murray says another solution to help with congestion will be continued development and seeing what options there are to increase parking capacity. Right now, the CEO says the lots on port property and at partner sites are jammed.

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About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.