Record 6 cruise ships docked at Port Canaveral

By Greg Pallone, Brevard County Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, February 16, 2015, 8:52 AM EST

The world's busiest cruise port got even busier this weekend, as Sunday marked the first time Port Canaveral has ever had six cruise ships docked at the same time, in a way becoming its own city.

Local businesses spent the week preparing for tens of thousands of people being dropped off on their doorstep. On board and ready to visit land were more than 30,000 total cruise passengers, with money to spend.

"We've got about 45 employees ready to go on Sunday," said Rich Hensel, owner of Fishlips restaurant, which is right in the middle of the action at the port.

Fishlips brought in extra stuff for the weekend, gearing up for extra customers, especially those coming in on the port of call ships.

"We are hoping to get even more port of call ships into the port, give them something to do, walk up and down," said Hensel.

But there are those passengers who will take advantage of the tours, like the ones that head a couple miles south down to Cocoa Beach.

"Extra staff, extra coaches," said Jason Idone, of Sunward Tours. "We are going to be bringing them in quicker. We have to make sure guests aren't waiting outside for any long time. The transition has to be smoother."

The port, itself, was working with ground transportation companies to make sure there were enough buses and taxis on site for Sunday. Expect many more people in viewing spots like Jetty Park at the port on Sunday afternoon, who will be watching the cruise ships leave.

For the Coast Guard based at the port, they expected to be busy conducting safety inspections of all the ships to make sure equipment was working properly and "abandon ship" drills were being done the correct way.

"We will ask them different things and make sure they are training among themselves and that their knowledge is proper," said Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Aaron Sala.

"Definitely watch the security, but it's a big thing these days. I worry about it," said Terry Johnson, a passenger cruising on the Victory Casino Cruise Line Friday.

That ship, too, will be sailing its normal two daily trips, and up to 1,200 passengers could be on board at a time.

The Coast Guard is also doing security checks of the cruise terminals. 

Port Canaveral is one of the three busiest cruise ship ports in the world.