Port Canaveral sees record number of passengers heading into Christmas weekend

52,000 passengers expected on Christmas Eve

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Workers are preparing for a couple of busy weekends at Port Canaveral, which is expected to see two record-breaking cruise passenger days before the end of the year.

On Dec. 24, officials expect a record 52,000 passengers to get on or off a total of five ships scheduled to be in port that day.

Peter Cranis, who is the executive director at the Space Coast Office of Tourism, said business at Port Canaveral has helped Brevard County generate a record $23.3 million in tourist development tax dollars this year.

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“It’s incredible what’s happening there,” Cranis said. “With all of those passengers coming in, that obviously generates a lot of overnight guests and business here in the county.”

Saturday’s record at the port will likely be broken a week later as six ships are expected to bring in 57,000 passenger movements.

With so many people taking a cruise over the holidays, there are increased concerns about traffic in and around Port Canaveral.

Cranis said changes may need to be addressed by state transportation officials.

“That’s definitely an opportunity for the Department of Transportation and others to take a hard look at that and say, ‘Do we have the access points that we need for the future?,’” Cranis said.

Port officials said extra off-duty deputies would be deployed for traffic management and parking lots at the Maritime Center may be used for overflow parking.

Port Canaveral also expects 50,000 passengers on Dec. 23.

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Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.