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How to get from the cruise ship terminal to Kennedy Space Center


View of Port Canaveral from a cruise ship

Though Port Canaveral has typically been a departure point for many cruise ships, some coming from further north, such as the Carnival Pride, are now making Port Canaveral a port of call while on the way to the Bahamas or the Caribbean.  So what is there to do in Port Canaveral?  One of the biggest draws is the Kennedy Space Center, located about ten miles away.

Clearly, this is not within walking distance once you get off the ship.  So what can you do?  Here are some options, and the pros and cons of each option.

Do an official excursion through the cruise ship

Cruise lines offer "excursions" in each port, where you pay the cruise line and then they take you as a group to the activity of your choice, including trasportation and ticket prices.  The pros: this is a stress free option.  The cruise ship takes care of everything and you just do what they tell you.  Also, if your excursion gets delayed for some reason, they can contact the ship and delay the departure from the port if you are going to be late.  Cons: the price.  Carnival charges $90 per person for the Kennedy Space Center excursion - but the price of a ticket to get into the center is only $38.  They are clearly taking advantage of the fact that there isn't much to do at Port Canaveral and it's difficult to get around.  Another con: although the ship was scheduled to leave at 7, Carnival ends their KSC excursion at 3:00, so you are limited in how much time you can spend there when you're part of a group.

Use a shuttle company

A company such as Space Port Transport will pick you up at the cruise terminal at a time of your choosing, drop you off at KSC, and then pick you up again and bring you back.  Pros: Extremely convenient to get a shuttle directly to the space center.  Also, the price is $90 round trip, so if you have three people or more it's probably worth it.  You can also arrange your own times.  Cons:  If you only have two people, you won't be saving any money.  Also, if you get delayed for some reason the ship won't wait for you.  Finally, you have to arrange everything in advance, and make sure you choose a reliable company.

Rent a car

There are numerous car rental companies available at Port Canaveral.  The pros: you're on your own time schedule.  Also, the price is probably cheaper, especially if you have a bigger group: companies like Thrifty have prices as low as $30 for the day (before taxes and other miscellaneous fees).  The cons:  you have to drive yourself, so make sure you know where you're going.  Again, the ship won't wait for you if you get delayed.  Also, the rental companies aren't located exactly at Port Canaveral; they're a few miles away.  They offer complimentary shuttle service from the port to their rental location, but keep in mind that this will take some time and it will be a little bit before you're actually on your way to the space center. Finally, if you're under 25 you may have difficulty renting a car or you may have to pay some extra fees.  Make sure you know all fees involved before you take this route.

Unless you like wasting large amounts of money or you have a big group of people that can fit, you probably don't want to take a taxi.  There are no public buses that run from Port Canaveral to Kennedy Space Center.

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