Port Canaveral to receive more than $72 million in federal funds to help recover from pandemic

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Port Canaveral is receiving more than $72 million in federal funds to help recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a promising sign for Port Canaveral. CEO Cpt. John Murray said the port is bouncing back.

READ: Royal Caribbean first trial voyage sets sail from Port Canaveral

On Saturday, the Carnival Mardi Gras will be the first ship to set sail with paying passengers from Port Canaveral since March of 2020, marking a major milestone.

“You’re going to see a lot of activity of active sailings out of Port Canaveral, and that’s what’s got us excited,” he said.

It’s been far from smooth sailing for Florida seaports during the pandemic.

READ: Carnival’s newest ship arrives at Port Canaveral

“It’s been a real financial challenge for Port Canaveral over the last 16 months just to run our operations, support our business lines and maintain a level of readiness for when and how the cruise industry may begin sailing from our port again,” Murray said.

Murray said Port Canaveral survived off its capital construction funds.

“This will be used to replenish those funds so that we can go back to doing what we do and that’s build the infrastructure of Port Canaveral,” Murray said.

READ: Disney Cruise Line to set sail from Port Canaveral in August

Gov. Ron DeSantis set aside $250 million of the state’s federal stimulus money to help revive Florida’s struggling seaports.

Murray said the port has a list of projects the federal relief money can help with.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.