Update May 18, 2020: COVID-19 has been a game changer. All numbers below were based on cruise schedules as published in 2019. The coronavirus has caused major disruptions for the global cruise industry. Our numbers, which are displayed below, are no longer correct. These numbers now serve as an indicator of what would have been the cruise busiest ports of 2020 if the virus would not have wreaked havoc.
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. 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.
The passenger numbers displayed in our overview are based on the maximum number of passengers. Since cruise ships do not completely sell out and passengers don not fill their cabins to maximum capacity, the real number of cruise passengers is lower and only known to the cruise lines and local officials. However, this overview clearly shows trends in cruise passenger ships arriving in each port.
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.
2020 busiest cruise ports
|Total Cruise Passengers
|Port Canaveral (Orlando)
|George Town (Grand Cayman)
|British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean
|Palma de Mallorca
|Total Cruise Passengers
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.