PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Port Canaveral marked its reopening Thursday, after Hurricane Dorian skirted the coast, with the arrival of six cruise ships, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
The port had been closed since Monday because of the expected impacts of Hurricane Dorian, which wound up staying 60 to 80 miles off the coast as it passed east of Brevard County.
"No damage in the port, just some minor debris and tree branches. We did have things like gutters broken loose and that sort of thing, but nothing significant. Everything we can fix ourselves, so no major damage at all," said Capt. John Murray, Port Canaveral director and CEO.
The six cruise ships arriving at Port Canaveral include the Carnival Ecstasy, Elation and Liberty; the Disney Dream; and the Royal Caribbean Harmony of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas.
"We were only at sea three days before we landed after the hurricane, so it wasn't terribly awful," said Corey Meserva, a passenger aboard Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas. "We're ready to get home and get back to school and get into routine."
All but the Carnival Ecstasy are based at Port Canaveral. The Ecstasy is based at the Port of Jacksonville. But the ship will be making Port Canaveral its endpoint for the current cruise and starting point for its next cruise because Jacksonville may be experiencing lingering impacts from Dorian on Thursday. It is transporting its passengers by bus between Port Canaveral and Jacksonville.
Passengers on the Port Canaveral-based ships arriving Thursday had extended cruises because the ships were not able to return earlier, as a result of the port's closing. Four of those ships will be skipping their next cruise out of Port Canaveral to get back on their regular schedules. The Harmony will offer a shortened cruise in its next sailing to get back on its regular schedule.
The port also said:
• The State Road 401 drawbridge will open on the hour, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for vessel traffic. There will be no openings from noon to 2 p.m.
• The Port Canaveral Lock has been opened by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
• The Freddie Patrick and Rodney Ketcham boat ramps will reopen at 5 a.m. Thursday.
• Jetty Park will reopen at 7 a.m. Friday.
• Exploration Tower will reopen at 10 a.m. Friday.
• Cruise passengers who want to retrieve their vehicle parked at Port Canaveral, can do so. Payments can be made only by credit card.
The last time Port Canaveral closed was in 2017, because of Hurricane Irma, which significantly affected Port Canaveral and other Florida ports.