Port Canaveral celebrates rising economic tide in the cruise ship industry

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — Port Canaveral is sailing into profitability for the first time in more than a year as more ships are headed into port.

Officials said cruise revenue was nonexistent just a few weeks ago, but they are now projecting what could be the best year yet for cruise revenue.

WATCH: Cruise revenue returning to Port Canaveral with sailing numbers increasing

“Great news for August,” said Capt. John Murray, CEO for the Canaveral Port Authority. “For the first time in 17 consecutive months, we actually earned enough to cover all of our operating expenses.”

Seven ships are now sailing from Port Canaveral with paying passengers including Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and MSC Cruises with home ports. The Norwegian Escape will arrive in November.

“They’re ranging anywhere from 40% passenger capacity to 75-80%, depending on the ship,” Murray said.

WATCH: Carnival’s Mardi Gras set to sail from Port Canaveral

There’s still the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, with all the brands adhering to them voluntarily.

Murray said most of the cruise passengers boarding those ships aren’t flying into Central Florida, they’re driving to Port Canaveral from around the Southeast.

Before the end of the year, Port Canaveral is anticipating the arrival of four additional homeported ships.

WATCH: FPL continues solar energy investment across Florida’s Space Coast

As they continue to increase passenger capacity, the port is projecting a much better year ahead.

“If it materializes, it’s $109 million of revenue, which is significant,” Murray said. “That’s better than any prior year that we’ve had. It’s largely due to the things we’re been doing during the pandemic to bring in lager ships, more ships, a whole new brand, MSC Cruises is sailing out of here.”

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, and click here to watch the latest news on your Smart TV.