The World’s busiest cruise ports and destinations in 2020

In 2020 there will be more people traveling on cruise ships than ever before. In this overview we calculate the total number of arriving cruise ship passengers in each port or destination. For our overview of busiest cruise ships in Europe, click here.

Measured in arriving cruise passengers, Cozumel (Mexico) is the busiest cruise port in the world. With 4.3 million arriving cruise passengers the Mexican port welcomes many of the world’s biggest cruise ships. All major cruise lines have Cozumel on their Caribbean itineraries. Cozumel is also part of ‘the standard Caribbean cruise’ that takes passengers from Florida to Nassau, a private island, Cozumel and back.



Busiest cruise ports and destinations

wdt_IDDestinationCountryRegionTotal Cruise Passengers
1CozumelMexicoLatin America 4,390,757
2MiamiUSANorth America 3,644,450
3NassauBahamasCaribbean 3,496,366
4BarcelonaSpainEurope Mediterranean 2,880,582
5Port Canaveral (Orlando)USANorth America 2,590,408
6Civitavecchia (Rome)ItalyEurope Mediterranean 2,550,393
7George Town (Grand Cayman)British Overseas Territory in the CaribbeanCaribbean 1,880,172
8Palma de MallorcaSpainEurope Mediterranean 1,877,175
9Fort LauderdaleUSANorth America 1,870,860
10MarseilleFranceEurope Mediterranean 1,854,244

Busiest cruise ports in the Caribbean 2020

The Caribbean is the busiest cruise region in the world. 26 of the destinations in the top-100 are located in the Caribbean. Those 26 destinations already excludes US ports as Miami or Fort Lauderdale which serve as major starting points for cruises with Caribbean itineraries. It also excludes Cozumel which arguably is in the Caribbean as well.

The busiest cruise port of the Caribbean is Nassau with almost 3.5 million cruise passengers. The second busiest cruise port of the Caribbean is Georgetown (Grand Cayman) with almost 1.9 million cruise passengers. Other busy Caribbean cruise ports include the private island CocoCay. Cococay is Royal Caribbean International’s private island which is set to welcome a record breaking 1.8 million cruise passengers.

Miami as the second busiest cruise port in the world

Miami is the second busiest cruise port in the world measured in arriving cruise passengers. Taking into consideration that Miami is a port where passengers embark as well as disembark, it could be argued that Miami is actually a busier cruise port than Cozumel. Simply because cruise passengers will visit Miami twice while they will arrive in other destinations only once.

The same logic applies to other cruise ports. Fort Lauderdale, Barcelona, Rome and others all serve as major embarkation points. These destinations are therefore more affected by cruise crowds than others. The impact of overtourism in these destinations is arguably bigger. On the other side, cruise passengers often book hotels before their cruise. They stay in the area longer and spend more money on average which benefits the local economy. In our daily crowd predictions we take these overnight stays before a cruise into consideration. In this overview we left them out on purpose to prevent duplication of individual cruise passengers. You can find more information about this in the methodology section below.

Busy North American Cruise Ports in 2020

After the ports in Florida, destinations in Alaska see high passenger numbers in 2020. Other busy embarkation points include Cape Liberty near New York, Galveston in Texas as well as Los Angeles. Most of the cruises going to Alaska and beyond are cruises that leave during the summer months while the Caribbean are more popular in the winter.

Methodology

Since it is just as important to know where the numbers come from as it is to look at the results, we want to give you insight in how we calculated the above statistics. For the first time this year, we collected all itineraries of cruise ships in 2020. We then added the maximum number of cruise passengers to each arriving cruise ship so we can calculate the world’s busiest cruise ports.

For this overview only larger cruise ships, with a capacity of 500 passengers or more, are taken into consideration. Other overviews might include smaller cruise ships as well. In addition, only arriving cruise ship passengers are taken into consideration. The effects of passengers disembarking are not taken into consideration.

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