Getting ready to set sail from the Sunshine State

Four leaders explain why their ports are the ideal base for cruises in the Florida-Caribbean region

Getting ready to set sail from the Sunshine State
Antigua Cruise Port recently completed its fifth berth

By Rebecca Gibson |

Fred Wong, Chief Operating Officer at JAXPORT: 

“Cruises from Florida to the Caribbean offer travellers the chance to visit a new world, while staying close to home. It is the convenience of the trip that continues to attract guests from the USA and around the world.  

A study by the tourism council in Jacksonville, Florida, reported that 60 per cent of guests cruising from the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) cited easy access as the primary reason for cruising from Jacksonville. JAXPORT has welcomed passengers from 40 states, the District of Columbia and overseas. And once visitors get a taste of what our region offers, they choose to return again and again.” 

Captain John Murray, CEO of Port Canaveral: 

“Port Canaveral is uniquely located to access a range of cruise destinations, so Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean itineraries are very popular sailings from our port. Each year, Port Canaveral host nearly five million passengers annually through our state-of-the-art terminals. Our long-standing commitment to continuous improvement and customer service excellence delivers consistently high-quality guest experiences. Cruise guests love our easy access, ample parking facilities, and efficient arrivals and departures.   

Five global cruise lines choose Port Canaveral to homeport some of their largest, most technically sophisticated and very popular ships which sail three-, four- and seven-night itineraries to the Caribbean and The Bahamas. Plus, Port Canaveral welcomes many port-of-call vessels for day of fun exploring one of Orlando’s famous theme parks, visit the nearby NASA Kennedy Space Center, or to relax on our own uncrowded pristine Jetty Park Beach.” 

Gerry Aird, Managing Director, Whitchurch Shipping: 

Whitchurch Shipping and Tours has had the distinction of being a platinum member of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association for many years. This membership association has contributed immeasurably to our success and that of Dominica’s, the ‘Nature Island’ of the Caribbean.

Cruising the Caribbean is a fact of life and has been for many years. Indigenous culture, architecture, cuisine, the natural environment and tremendous joie de vivre have all encouraged cruisers to return repeatedly.

From large, modern port facilities to smaller and more intimate infrastructure, like the Port of Roseau, the word is out – 2022 is the year for passengers to travel the world’s seas again.

Dona Regis–Prosper, General Manager Antigua Cruise Port: 

“I was born and raised in the Caribbean so I can certainly confirm the saying that ‘the view never gets old’. In addition to the traditional appeal of year-round sunshine, white-sand beaches and tropical rainforests, the Caribbean’s rich culture, history and friendly people make for diverse cruise itineraries. Recent port developments and innovations in shore excursions have created even greater demand for the Caribbean. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the strong Caribbean brand lives on. I am proud to say that Antigua Cruise Port is one such port with great appeal, as we have recently completed the fifth berth which can accommodate the world’s largest cruise vessels.” 

This article was first published in the 2022 issue of Cruise & Ferry Itinerary Planning. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. 

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