10 Largest Cruise Ports in the World

The cruise ship industry is pivotal in bolstering a nation’s economy through its substantial impact on tourism and employment. Cruising offers many individuals a respite from the daily grind, inviting them to embrace moments of tranquility while navigating the open seas. These ten largest cruise ports can serve as gateways to exceptional maritime experiences and vibrant destinations.

1. Port Canaveral

Disney cruise ship Fantasy docked in Port Canaveral
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Port Canaveral, situated on Florida’s Atlantic coast between Jacksonville and Miami, is the world’s second-largest cruise port. With over 4.5 million annual tourists, it’s a central cruise departure point, hosting top lines like Disney, NCL Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival. Over 6 million tons of dry cargo, liquid bulk, break-bulk, project cargo, and container products pass through here annually, making it an important commercial port serving Central Florida.

2. Port Miami

MIAMI - FEBRUARY 27, 2015: Port of Miami with cruise ships. Miami is a major port in United States for cruises.
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While renowned for its capacity to serve massive passenger ships, it primarily deals with container ships, handling around 7.4 million cargo tons yearly. It is Florida’s largest container cargo port and the ninth-largest in the USA. Equipped with multiple breakbulk warehouses and four refrigerated container (reefer) yards, Port Miami boasts nine modern cruise terminals and stands as the World’s Cruise Capital.

3. Port Everglades

Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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Port Everglades, serving Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a major economic center in the state. It witnesses more than 4,000 vessel passages annually, encompassing box ships, bulk cargo ships, and passenger vessels. This results in impressive statistics: 3.8 million passengers, 7.2 million TEU containers, and 25 million tons of cargo. Notably, the port contributes an average annual revenue of $168 million and plays a pivotal role in the local economy, with tourism-related operations valued at nearly $30 billion. 

4. San Miguel de Cozumel

High-speed Cozumel ferry at the terminal of San Miguel de Cozumel waiting for passengers to Playa del Carmen and other tourist destinations.
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San Miguel de Cozumel is a renowned cruise port celebrated for its scuba diving attractions, primarily located on Cozumel’s western side in Mexico. Though less developed, the east side has stunning beaches like Playa Azul and Playa Palancar, accompanied by beachfront restaurants.

5. Nassau

Amazing Nassau City, The Bahamas
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Nassau, on the northeastern coast of New Providence Island, is the nation’s capital and busiest port. Large cruise lines frequently fly the flag of the Bahamas out of this port because of the country’s robust tourism industry. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 was over $11 billion, with a large portion coming from the tourism industry. The cruise port at Nassau, which sees over 3 million passengers yearly, is a significant player in this economic dynamic.

6. Port of Shanghai

Shanghai,China - November 15,2019:Shanghai Yangshan Deepwater Port Container Cargo Terminal,Shanghai has become one of the world's largest container port.
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The Port of Shanghai is a significant transportation hub globally situated in Shanghai, China. This bustling port, found within the third most populous city globally after Tokyo and Delhi, plays a pivotal role in various maritime activities. Notably, the port of Shanghai Baoshan is a crucial departure point for Yangtze River cruises linking Wuhan and Chongqing. Additionally, it operates as a key turnaround spot for cruises heading toward South Korea and Japan.

7. Port of the Balearic Islands

Aerial view of Palma de Mallorca with Almudaina palace, Spain
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Cruisers looking for return trips to ports in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands make this one of the busiest ports in the world. It is close to Palma Airport, making it a popular stop for cruise ships, and it is located on the southeastern shore of the Western Mediterranean Sea. Formentera, Ibiza, Menorca, and Mallorca are all part of the Spanish archipelago it serves in the Balearic Sea. Tourists love these islands’ Mediterranean environment, unique culture, and delicious food.

8. Port of Galveston

Galveston TX/USA: Cruise ship Carnival Vista in port at a deserted cruise terminal
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The port of Galveston holds a significant place in U.S. cruising history. Established on October 17, 1825, it is the oldest port west of New Orleans, stemming from a Mexican Congress proclamation when Texas was part of Mexico. In 1900, it ranked as the third most crucial port for wheat exports and led in cotton exports. Presently, the port is a gateway for international trade and cruise departures in Texas. Notably, prominent cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, and Carnival frequently launch ships from Galveston.

9. Port of Barcelona

Barcelona port view from the air. Luxurious port in Barcelona, Spain.
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This European port is a major destination for cruise ships. It is the largest cruise turnaround point in the Mediterranean, with many round-trip cruises departing from and returning to this port. The port’s cruise activities generate over $900 million in annual revenue and employ close to 7,000 locals due to its location in one of the world’s largest harbor areas. Notably, a single cruise ship in Port Barcelona generates over $200,000 in taxes and over $1 million in revenue.

10. Port Civitavecchia

Civitavecchia, Italy - 03 30 2023: Aerial view on a Tirrenia ferry and a cruise ship docked at the port. There are other boats in the harbour.
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Port Civitavecchia is a cruise entrance to Rome and is just an hour away by train. It’s one of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean, serving over 2 million passengers every year and seeing over 2,000 ferry and cruise ship calls. Its eight cruise ship terminals, five parking lots, and 15 berths contribute to this success. The Guidecca Canal connects the Adriatic Sea with the port.

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