Miami Port, Bayside, Miami, Florida, United States

Have you ever sailed through the adorable cruise ports of North America? If you have, this marvellous region is worth cruising again and again. And, if you haven’t, your cruising experience is incomplete. You’ll discover in this post the 10 best cruise ports in North America. These are some of the most phenomenal cruise ports you will likely visit on a North American cruise itinerary.

From the warm tropical weather of Mexico to the snowy temperate climate of Canada, cruises through North America offer a dynamic range of pleasure, leisure and fascinating attractions. Your cruise experience is elevated if you sail with a luxury cruise line (I strongly recommend this).

Cruise ports in North America offer cruise passengers the opportunity to disembark, explore the shore through excursions & tours, and participate in a wide variety of enthralling activities.

From experiencing bustling cities like Miami and Vancouver to tranquil white sandy beaches of Mexico, there are lots to explore, experience and enjoy in a North American cruise itinerary. The cruise ports discussed in this article are among the best gateways to the cruising pleasure and treasures of this region.

Halifax City Waterfront, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Halifax City Waterfront, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Best Cruise Ports in North America

1. Miami, Florida, United States

PortMiami was accorded the number one cruise port in North America for 2023 [Source]. Located in Miami-Dade County, PortMiami is recognized as the world’s cruise capital, and it is the cargo gateway of the Americas.

The Port of Miami (PortMiami) also officially known as the Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami is located in Biscayne Bay at the delta of the Miami River in Florida. This is one of the best cruise ports in North America and it is the largest passenger (cruise) port in the world.

Explore Miami’s world-famous beaches like the South Beach and the Miami Beach. Shop at the Bayside Marketplace and Mall, and experience the enchanting nightlife of Bayside. You can also tour South Beach’s Millionaire Homes & Venetian Islands or experience Cuban cuisines and culture at Little Havana.

There is just a lot to see and do at PortMiami. From epic entertainment at the Jungle Island to bonding with nature at the Miami Zoo, revelling in the posh Ocean Drive, marvelling at the architectural masterpieces in the Art Deco Street, and seeing the spectacular marine life at the Miami Seaquarium, there is never a boring moment at the Port of Miami.

Miami Port, Bayside, Miami, Florida, United States - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Miami Port, Bayside, Miami, Florida, United States

2. Canaveral, Florida, United States

Port Canaveral is recognized as the busiest cruise port in the world [Source1] [Source2] and is one of the most fascinating cruise ports in North America. The Port is a world-class cruise, naval and fishing port just 45 minutes east of Orlando on Cape Canaveral in Brevard County of Florida, United States.

Opened in 1953, Port Canaveral have a total of 18 berths and a draft depth of 39.5 feet (12.0 metres). Over 4 million cruise passengers pass through Port Canaveral every year.

The Port is located at the centre of the Space Coast and is close (usually less than a 30-minute drive) to a wide range of attractions on the Coast.

The most famous points of interest you shouldn’t miss include the exploration tower, the Skydive Space Centre, the Kennedy Space Centre and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. You should also see Cocoa Beach where you can relax on the beaches and indulge in some aerial and surfing adventure.

And, before you re-embark, you should experience the Jetty Park and the tranquil beaches of Cheri Down Park.

There are lots of entertainment and dining activities at The Cove too that you should relish. Wrap up your Canaveral experience by touring the Carib Brewery (one of the best breweries in Florida) and savour some of its finest beers.

Disney Dream Cruise Ship at Port Canaveral, Florida, United States - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Disney Dream Cruise Ship at Port Canaveral, Florida, United States

3. Everglades, Florida, United States

Port Everglades is another cruise edifice in the US State of Florida. The port is recognized as the third busiest cruise port in the world [Source] accumulating about 3 million cruise passengers annually.

Located in Fort Lauderdale in Florida’s Broward Country, Port Everglades was commissioned in 1928 and today, the port boasts 44 berths with a draft depth of 44 feet (13.41 metres) and 11 cruise terminals.

Port Everglades offer several attractions and activities to indulge in. Disembarking passengers can explore Fort Lauderdale’s Venice-like network of Canals and relax on the calming palm-lined sandy beaches of this North American cruise port and destination.

The Port of Everglades, as one of the most amazing cruise ports in North America, provide cruise passengers with lots of shopping opportunities, especially on the famous Las Olas Boulevard, exceptional dining, parks and botanical gardens, museums and theatres, fascinating art scenes and buoyant wildlife.

You should experience the Jungle Queen Riverboat Tours and Gator Shows, go on a fishing cruise, visit the Museum of Discovery and Science, and relax on “Venice of America’s” greatest beaches such as Hollywood Beach and Dania Beach.

Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States Image Source

4. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest port and the fourth largest in North America by tonnes of cargo [Source] and it is managed by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Canada Place cruise terminal is the main cruise terminal of the Port of Vancouver where ships dock. This is the only homeport with one-way and round-trip itineraries through Canada’s Inside Passage [Source].

Port of Vancouver welcomes over 900,000 cruise passengers annually. With its 3 berths, the Port of Vancouver can accommodate up to four luxury cruise ships at any one time. The cruise terminal mostly serves cruises to Alaska, especially in summer.

Explore Vancouver’s iconic Canada Place and experience the FlyOver Canada – a 3D Virtual Tour Simulator. Relax on the serene English Bay Beach in the West End, visit Gastown, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden and Gainesville.

You can also take a Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour of Downtown Vancouver, relish some of the city’s best cuisines, shop on Robinson Street and explore Stanley Park on a bike.

Vancouver Port is Canada’s gateway to the North American nature paradise of Alaska. it is one of the must-visit cruise ports in North America.

Vancouver City and Port, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Vancouver City and Port, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

5. Alaska, United States

If there is any single place for unparalleled nature-rich cruise adventure in North America, it is Alaska. This is the place to discover extraordinary landscapes, breathtaking wilderness, interesting history and amazing culture.

Alaska has a range of great cruise ports offering divergent attractions and pleasant experiences. The best among them are Juneau, Glacier Bay National Park, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway and Haines. These are also among the best cruise ports in North America for history and culture.

Juneau, the Capital of Alaska, provides an inspiring insight into the culture of Alaska. You can see the Mendenhall Glacier, take the Mount Roberts Tram to the city’s observation platform 1800 m above sea level, explore Douglas Island on a day trip and marvel at the renowned Inside Passage.

While Sitka offers cruise passengers the opportunity to learn and experience the historic Russian past of Alaska, you can gasp at the immersive and spectacular glaciers, thrilling mountains and lively wildlife (including bears, humpback whales and sea eagles) of the Glacier Bay National Park.

Excursions and tours to Fairbanks and Anchorage are also organized by some cruise lines in addition to more intimate Glacier and Wildlife Cruises in Alaska. You can also book a helicopter tour and heli-hike the wild tundra and glacier landings or embark on a scenic train ride on the Alaska Railroad.

Juneau Port, Juneau, Alaska - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Juneau Port, Juneau, Alaska

6. Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel is the most popular cruise destination in Mexico. It is a lush island with over 85,000 inhabitants. Cozumel is the biggest cruise port in Mexico and the fourth busiest in the world [Source]. It is also one of the renowned cruise ports in North America.

Cruise ships visiting Cozumel docks in one of the island’s three (3) piers-terminals – the Punta Langosta Pier, the International Cruise Terminal, and the Puerta Maya Cruise Terminal. Cozumel records over 3 million cruise passengers every year.

Irrespective of which cruise terminal your ship docks at, there is easy access to exceptional amenities, facilities and services you might need in a port of call in Cozumel from duty-free shopping and gourmet restaurants to ATMs, car rentals, taxis and information desks.

Visit and explore San Miguel, Cozumel’s largest and main city.

Cozumel is a great North American port and destination for watersports, snorkelling and scuba diving. You can also shop for local handicrafts and souvenirs, savour a bottle of Tequila or Mezcal and relax on beautiful beaches such as Playa Caletitas, Playa las Rocas and Playa Corona.

Tulum is a major and popular Mayan historical site inland that many cruise passengers enjoy exploring from Cozumel usually on a day trip.

Vision of the Seas Cruise Ship in Cozumel, Mexico - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Vision of the Seas Cruise Ship in Cozumel, Mexico

7. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Cabo San Lucas is a beautiful sunny resort town of around 69,000 inhabitants at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California. The town is known for its extraordinary big-game fishing, fascinating diving spots, Blue-Flag beaches and exhilarating surf waves.

Though Cabo San Lucas does not have a dedicated cruise dock or terminal, cruise ships dock in Cabo San Lucas’ Bay about a 5 to 10-minute tender ride away from the shore.

The town of Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas) is pleasantly explorable and several adventures and attractions await cruise passengers. Most cruise ships usually dock for 5 to 6 hours in the town’s cruise port on the bay, offering memorable and enjoyable experiences.

One of the most famous attractions of Los Cabos is the rocky Cabo San Lucas Arch (also known as El Arco) which can be reached on a boat trip. Explore the Cabo San Lucas Marina on a walking tour and experience the goodies that this beautiful marina has to offer. You can shop for souvenirs on the marina at the Luxury Avenue, Puerto Paraiso Mall or the Marina Mercado.

Relax, soak up the sun and have fun on the scintillating beaches of Los Cabos like Medano Beach and the famous Lovers Beach (Playa del Amor).

You can also go on taco and tequila tasting tours, whale watching, luxury catamaran cruises, zodiac tours, water taxi rides, drive an ATV across the Migrino Desert and ride a camel on the beach.

External Link: Top 10 Things to Do in Cabo San Lucas Port (on a Cruise)

Marina Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Marina Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico

8. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Located in the heart of Canada’s Atlantic Coast (Atlantic Canada), Halifax is a mesmerizing port city in Nova Scotia where big-city living perfectly complements small-town hospitality. Inhabited by nearly half a million residents, Halifax is one of the most spectacular cruise ports in North America.

The Port of Halifax is the major and biggest of Nova Scotia’s 9 cruise ports. The port welcomed over 300,000 cruise passengers in 2023 and 178 vessels from 28 cruise lines called at Port of Halifax the same year. The Port of Halifax is the foremost port in Atlantic Canada with the ability to accommodate the world’s largest cruise ships.

Halifax is a phenomenal city that teems with attractions. With the Port’s pier located near downtown Halifax, cruise passengers have easy and convenient access to most of the city’s landmarks.

Many cruise passengers enjoy strolling along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk, one of the longest boardwalks in the world.

You can explore downtown Halifax, shop for local Nova Scotian products and souvenirs, try some local seafood or a donair, visit the Discovery Centre and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and explore the Halifax Harbour on a Ferry or the Harbour Hopper.

Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market, Alexander Keith’s Brewery and the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site are some of the other popular points of interest that are worth exploring in Halifax.

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Serenade of the Seas Cruise Ship in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

9. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is one of the premier cruise destinations in Mexico with impeccable beaches and extraordinary marine life. An eclectic city, in the state of Jalisco, is one of the safest cities in Mexico to tour or visit.

Located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, cruise ships visiting Puerto Vallarta docks at any of the three cruise docks at the Marina Vallarta Maritime and Cruise Terminal. The terminal offers comfort amenities like ATMs, taxis, cafes and bars, and tour guides. You can also shop at nearby stores like Walmart and the Sam’s Club.

Just 3 miles from the cruise port to downtown Puerto Vallarta, explore Marina Vallarta, the most upscale neighbourhood in the city. Cruising to and exploring Puerto Vallarta is both fun-filled and adventurous.

While you can decide to relax on beaches like the famous Playa de Oro or stroll the Malecon, a mile-long boardwalk dotted with sculptures, you can turn things a bit up by embarking on horseback riding adventure in Sierra Madre or book an ATV and RZR cruise on Jorullo Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Latin America.

Explore the Yelapa Waterfall, book a Marietas Islands tour and discover its hidden beaches, visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, swim with the dolphins and embark on a sumptuous food tour.

Puerto Vallarta is one of the best cruise ports in North America for adventure lovers.

External Link: Puerto Vallarta Cruise Port | Top Things To Do

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

10. Galveston, Texas, United States

The Port of Galveston is an 840-acre modern port on the United States Gulf of Mexico’s coast in the State of Texas. The port is located at the entrance to Galveston Bay and the Houston Ship Channel.

Sited on the island of Galveston, the port is the primary cruise gateway to the eponymous city. There are 3 terminals dedicated to cruise ships at the port – Terminal 25, Terminal 28 and Terminal 10.

Expect your cruise ship to dock at any of these 3 terminals when you call at Galveston. The port of Galveston is one of the most frequented cruise ports in North America.

The Island and city of Galveston offer an abundance of food, culture, attractions, shopping and fun-filled activities.

Just across from the cruise terminal, The Strand is a famous historical district where you can shop and dine. If you are a beer enthusiast, you should visit and sip some fine beers at the Galveston Island Brewing Co.

You can also explore Galveston’s Historic Pleasure Pier, walk the Seawalls, visit the Moody Gardens, have fun at Schlitterbahn and sunbath on Galveston’s pocket beaches or other pleasurable beaches such as Babe’s Beach, Stewart Beach and Crystal Beach.

Galveston Cruise Port, Texas, United States - 10 Best Cruise Ports in North America
Galveston Cruise Port, Texas, United States


Cruises to North America are filled with a trove of pleasure, fun, sights and attractions. From the world-class cruise ports and beaches of Florida to Canada’s bustling city of Vancouver, Alaska’s mesmerizing glaciers, historic towns and unique wildlife, Mexico’s cruise haven of Cozumel and the radiant Puerto Vallarta, the 10 of best cruise ports in North America were discussed in this post.

With cruise destinations like Mexico and Florida recognized as among the major cruise hotspots in the world, a cruise-lover’s experience is “incomplete” without “tasting” the unique and enchanting “flavours” of North America’s cruise ports and destinations.

The region is homeport to some of the largest cruise lines in the world including Seabourn, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruises, Silversea, Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises and Norwegian Cruises. Many of these cruise lines have their homeports in North America.

This adds to the charm and significance of the cruise ports in North America. And, essentially, it is one of the reasons why you should add a North American cruise itinerary to your bucket list. These cruise ports are some of the gateways to the natural wonders of North America.

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