JaxPort is home to the carnival Elation cruise ship.
Economic Backbone: Transportation/Trade/Logistics
Competition for cruise business south of Jacksonville is fierce, with active ports at Cape Canaveral, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. However, Jacksonville is a good entry point for local residents or those just north of Jacksonville who otherwise would have to go to Charleston to find a cruise within driving distance, says Alberto Cabrera, director of cargo and cruise development, in talking up JaxPort.
Cabrera says the city offers ample parking, less traffic than South Florida’s ports, and an easy in-and-out service for its cruises.
JaxPort currently is home to just one large cruise ship — the Carnival Elation, which accommodates 2,200 guests and has four- and five-day cruises to the Bahamas. The cruises out of Jacksonville are at 117% occupancy, indicating more than two people per room for some passengers. Jacksonville had more than 90,000 passengers over the six months when cruising returned last March after the pandemic; in the first four months of the port’s new fiscal year, there were more than 55,000 passengers, Cabrera says.
While sailings for the Carnival Elation out of Jacksonville are open through the spring of 2025, Cabrera says, “there are conversations all the time” about trying to lure new cruise business.