US Coast Guard Set to Close Port Canaveral on Wednesday – Port CEO Issues Shoreside Evacuation

Port Canaveral’s CEO John Murray, issued a statement that with forecasts indicating severe weather conditions related to Hurricane Matthew, an evacuation order for landside operations. The order affects Jetty Park campers, marinas, and all Port businesses and tenants. The deadline to evacuate is noon on Wednesday.

In addition to the land-side evacuation, the U.S. Coast Guard has given notice that the Canaveral harbor will close by tomorrow afternoon. Under the Captain of the Port order, no vessel traffic–including cruise and cargo ships, as well as recreational and commercial fishing boats –will be allowed in harbor until after the storm passes and the order is lifted.

“This is a serious storm and the protection of people and property is our primary concern,” said Port Canaveral CEO John Murray. “We expect high winds and storm surge throughout the port and have urged the Port community to prepare their facilities so business can resume as quickly as possible after the storm.”

Port Canaveral has not shut down operations due to severe weather since the 2004 storms when the harbor was closed for 11 days to ship traffic.

As of publication, Disney Cruise Line has not updated their advisories for the fleet.

Disney Cruise Line is closely monitoring tropical weather systems in the Caribbean.
At this time, no itinerary changes have been made to the following sailings:

  • October 7 – Disney Dream & Disney Magic
  • October 8 – Disney Fantasy

If needed, we can alter the itinerary of our ships to ensure the safety and comfort of our Guests and Crew. We will provide updates as they are available.

–As of 10/4/16 5:45PM

The Disney Dream is scheduled to return to Port Canaveral on Friday followed by the Disney Fantasy on Saturday. As you just read, cruise ships will not be permitted into the Port Canaveral until the storm passes and the US Coast Guard lifts the order. We have learned that the Disney Magic is prepared to sail a alternate itinerary if the system continues on the forecast track. We will update this post accordingly and pass along any itinerary changes as they become available.

For more on Hurricane Matthew click over to our Tropical Weather Center.

51 thoughts on “US Coast Guard Set to Close Port Canaveral on Wednesday – Port CEO Issues Shoreside Evacuation

  1. Shelly Cook

    Waiting to hear news about Disney Dream Cruise scheduled to leave Port Canaveral Oct. 7. We are scheduled to begin drive to Port Canaveral on Thursday, Oct. 6. Worried now about finding hotel part way to the Port, and whether the ship will actually leave Friday. Please let us know!

    Reply
    1. Scott Sanders Post author

      Shelly,
      Portions of Brevard Co have been ordered to evacuate, including Merritt Island.

      A mandatory evacuation of Brevard County’s barrier island will begin at 3 p.m. Wednesday – Source

      Until DCL makes an advisory update, I would suggest calling them directly to inquire about your sailing and remember with evacuations, hotel rooms may become harder to find.

      Reply
      1. Beth

        Hoping Disney has some idea for hotel rooms as a worst case. The issue is anybody currently on the Dream, if they dock somewhere else, there cars are in Port Canaveral. Waiting patiently for any news, as we are on the same cruise, and need to ensure that we wont be stranded anywhere

        Reply
  2. david oakland

    Disney really needs to move forward with a decision soon – like myself, I imagine most folks would be using tomorrow as a travel day, but if the port is CLOSED, Disney needs to let folks know what their plan is.

    Reply
  3. David Oakland

    I’ve called – no update other than what is posted on the website…scheduled to fly into Orlando Thurs evening, hotel in cocoa beach thurs night. All are ready to cancel/change/modify but everything is hinging on DCL decision…

    Reply
  4. Chanley

    The Greed of Disney. If they cancel they have to refund us 100 percent. There is a Hurricane Category 3 and a state of emergency. There is no way that boat is sailing, yet the captain in 2012 did sail right into hurricane Sandy and videos are on YouTube. This is my 3rd Disney cruise and I am very disappointed that they have not canceled the cruise. Airlines are offering a 100% refund if you were flying into Florida. I live in Florida and I know what it’s like to have afternoon showers and our street to get flooded. Much less a category three hurricane. People will not even be able to get to the port with the roads closed. A tropical depression is scary and it’s tough finding gas and water at best much less hotel room with millions evacuating.

    Reply
  5. bonnetj@indy.rr.com

    Long range story idea Scott, it would be interesting to learn more about how Castaway Cay prepares for and deals with hurricane events.

    Reply
      1. Malcolm

        I was on the Dream sailing that hit CC on Sunday. There were still people on the dock when we sailed away. They put on the mickey hands and waved.

        Reply
  6. David Oakland

    Just got off the phone with a DCL rep, they are expecting an announcement this afternoon (hopefully). He did say to continue to monitor the web-site as well as they will send out automated generated emails to those that are on file. If you’re not sure, then call them and make sure they have your email. Just hope the final decision is today and NOT tomorrow. Absolutely love Disney and we’ve done many cruises but this is our first with this situation and I really hope Disney makes the right choice soon, and doesn’t wait til tomorrow. Tomorrow will bring A LOT of bad press so hopefully they do the right thing.

    Reply
  7. A.J.

    I called at 8:00 am and was told there would be an update in two hours. I just called back and was told who knows! That maybe the storm would be gone in the morning and that all they know is that Port Canaveral is closed this afternoon, but could be open tomorrow or Friday. He tried to tell me that they can’t work off of predictions and that we should plan to travel to Orlando on Thursday (even if there is a category 4 hurricane bearing down on the Florida coast. I’m incredibly frustrated that they are not being more proactive and make a decision on this quickly.

    Reply
  8. Dave

    We’re booked for the Caribbean cruise leaving Port Canaveral on the 15th. Does anyone have any idea if we should expect any disruptions?

    How likely is it for Castaway Cay to be up and running as usual after the Hurricane? (We’ll be there around the 20th I think).

    Should we expect bad weather, or will it get back to being nice and sunny after the Hurricane?

    Anybody got some experience with this?

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
      1. Rod

        I’m on the same cruise on the 15th (flying to Florida) and hoping that the impact of Matthew doesn’t disrupt our trip. I’m expecting it to be at least raining and thunderstorms based on forecast from weather.com.

        Reply
        1. Dave

          Cool! See you on the ship mate 🙂 I’m assuming the worst case is they will change the itinerary. I would just really love to see Castaway Cay for the first time 🙂

          Hopefully the weather will get better by then and we’ll get a few days of sun.

          Reply
  9. Chanley Lee

    Why would you not post my reply? Because of the truth? I have already copied my post. This will be a nice class action lawsuit not allowing your passengers ample notice for travel time during a hurricane. With the bad press that Disney has received this year, not saying all is fair, you would think they would be more than accommodating since over half of the passengers are children on this vessel and Disney would be concerned about their travel to and from the ship being in a hurricane.

    Reply
    1. Keith

      You seriously need to take a few deep breaths and calm down. Also, please remember this is Scott’s personal website and it is not in anyway affiliated with Disney so your ranting about a lawsuit — which would almost certainly be tossed out as frivolous if you could even find a lawyer to file it for you — just makes you look crazy.

      Just smile and be thankful you and your family are safe and haven’t experienced what those in Hati are trying to recover from.

      Reply
      1. Chanley

        You obviously do not live in Florida and have never seen people trying to navigate around flooded streets and interstates😀 Safety always comes first.

        Reply
    2. Cody

      You would probably complain if they changed it and then the storm changed direction. It is Disney, I bet they have plans for every scenario, but there is no need to make all of you change course unless it is absolutely necessary. If they sail into Tampa or Miami they will have one of those fancy Disney buses shuttling people around. You aren’t leaving until tomorrow anyway, and that will be spotty if I95 is reversed for evacuation. Calm down and let them work. They care as much about your satisfaction as they do about the money you are spending. They care more about your safety than either one. Be patient and cut everyone some slack, including disney. They didn’t make this storm.

      Also…I am a lawyer…you have no grounds for a suit.

      Reply
      1. Chanley

        Funny! Tampa? The ship can’t even navigate the waters in Tampa. The vessel is too large. You must believe everything you read about the magical wonders of Disney. Take a look at the AP press of the Fantasy sailing into Hurricane Sandy. It’s all about the almighty dollar. I love my Disney cruises and it’s my 4th experience. We have season passes and I have been in a resort lobby two years ago watching them secretly trying to remove a gator out the atrium. No, of coarse Disney can’t control the weather or Mother Nature but please think of others traveling via air plane and renting cars in a hurricane It’s nice to have a plan and give those families ample time. I’m just disappointed in Disneys Decisions.

        Reply
  10. David Oakland

    Brevard county just also went under mandatory evacuation….but the problem is if we fly down and show up Friday and port still closed… then what? ugghhh, I hope not!!!!

    Reply
    1. Chanley

      Right? That’s what I’m talking about. They need to give Families ample travel time to make these decisions. Flying into an evacuated Hurricane area should never be an issue and they should take care of these people 100 percent. Everyone has faith in Disney. I have been on 3 cruises and had a blast on each one. However, go to YouTube and search Disney Fantasy and Hurricane Sandy. Look at all the different videos about the captain driving right into the storm. I’m sure those people had faith in Disney as well. It’s all frustrating and about an almighty dollar:)

      Reply
  11. Christo

    I have full faith that Disney will do the right thing and treat their customers well. It is frustrating to not know when you are trying to finalize travel plans but they cannot control the weather. The ship has to dock somewhere to get the current passengers off. If they dock in Miami they would shuttle people back to port Canaveral. I think they would then shuttle people from Port Canaveral to Miami for a departure later in the day. Not the best scenario but if they make it right with a future discount, I would be ok.

    Reply
      1. Christo

        Very true. With a ship full of passengers they have to port somewhere though. I have heard that the Dream cannot port in Tampa due to the height of the ship vs. the height of the sky bridge. Is that accurate?

        Reply
  12. SF

    What is the “alternate” plan for the Magic out of NY on Oct 7? We’ve called DCL but they won’t give any info.

    Reply
    1. Sharon

      No official info from Disney yet, but it’s going to be a Canadian cruise. A Cape Breton Post article came up on my cruise feed saying Disney Magic unexpectedly to be in Sydney on 10/10/16 due to Hurricane Matthew. Disney Magic also shows up on the cruise schedule for Halifax, Nova Scotia on 10/12/16. Not sure what other stops it may be making. The issue with 10/10 is that it’s Canadian Thanksgiving–so hopefully Disney will be providing some port adventure possibilities for Sydney.

      Reply
  13. Joe Daddy

    Scott, do you think Tampa is more likely the port for The Fantasy arriving/departing October 8? Didn’t The Fantasy divert to the western Caribbean this week? Thanks. First Disney cruise for us.

    Reply
      1. Kim

        have you heard about the Fantasy ship that is out now. It is suppose to return on Sat 8th. My family has to drive back to Maryland and the Hurricane is suppose to be in the Carolina’s, Saturday and Sunday???????

        Reply
  14. Rob

    Seems like the most logical thing to do is cancel the Oct 7 weekend Dream cruise. Then add an extra day to the current Dream itinerary, docking on Saturday. Fantasy would arrive on Sunday, instead of Saturday, and cut one day from the Oct 8 Fantasy sailing.

    Reply
    1. Jeff

      What makes you think Port Canaveral will be open this Saturday? Last time they closed it, 2004, it was closed for 11-days.

      Reply
  15. MARIU

    Disney cruise line make an update.

    Tropical Weather Update
    October 5, 2016
    Disney Cruise Line is closely monitoring tropical weather systems in
    the Caribbean.
    At this time, no itinerary changes have been made to the following sailings:
    October 7 – Disney Dream & Disney Magic
    October 8 – Disney Fantasy

    If needed, we can alter the itinerary of our ships to ensure the safety and
    comfort of our Guests and Crew. We will provide updates as they are
    available.

    Reply
  16. Drew Petzold

    Advisory Message
    Tropical Weather Update
    October 5, 2016 – 4:30 p.m.
    Based on the projected path of Hurricane Matthew, as well as its expected impact on the Bahamas, Disney Cruise Line is making the following adjustments to itineraries:

    Disney Dream

    The October 3 sailing of the Disney Dream is being extended by one day, as Port Canaveral will not be available for the ship’s scheduled arrival on Friday, October 7. We are now planning to disembark in Port Canaveral on Saturday, October 8, once the Coast Guard has determined that the port is safe for cruise ship operations. We are working with the guests onboard to assist them with their travel arrangements.
    The October 7 sailing of the Disney Dream from Port Canaveral is being cancelled. Refunds will automatically be processed back to the original form of payment used for cruise bookings. Guests are invited to call us at 1-866-325-3905 or 407-566-7032 beginning Monday, Oct. 10, to book a future cruise at a discount.
    Disney Magic

    The October 7 sailing of the Disney Magic from New York is being changed to a Canadian itinerary, with plans to visit Sydney, Nova Scotia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Saint John, New Brunswick. Guests who remain on this revised itinerary will receive an onboard credit. Guests who would like to rebook a future sailing at a discount OR cancel their sailing for a full refund are invited to call us at 1-866-325-3905 or 407-566-7032.
    Disney Fantasy

    The October 8 Disney Fantasy sailing from Port Canaveral to the eastern Caribbean is expected to sail as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the weather and make any necessary adjustments.
    While we always strive to deliver magical cruise vacations, nothing is more important to us than providing a safe experience for our guests and crew. We will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Matthew and provide updates as necessary.

    Reply
  17. chris jones

    POSTED ON THE DCL WEBSITE:

    Advisory Message
     SHARE
    Tropical Weather Update
    October 5, 2016 – 4:30 p.m.
    Based on the projected path of Hurricane Matthew, as well as its expected impact on the Bahamas, Disney Cruise Line is making the following adjustments to itineraries:

    Disney Dream

    The October 3 sailing of the Disney Dream is being extended by one day, as Port Canaveral will not be available for the ship’s scheduled arrival on Friday, October 7. We are now planning to disembark in Port Canaveral on Saturday, October 8, once the Coast Guard has determined that the port is safe for cruise ship operations. We are working with the guests onboard to assist them with their travel arrangements.
    The October 7 sailing of the Disney Dream from Port Canaveral is being cancelled. Refunds will automatically be processed back to the original form of payment used for cruise bookings. Guests are invited to call us at 1-866-325-3905 or 407-566-7032 beginning Monday, Oct. 10, to book a future cruise at a discount.
    Disney Magic

    The October 7 sailing of the Disney Magic from New York is being changed to a Canadian itinerary, with plans to visit Sydney, Nova Scotia; Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Saint John, New Brunswick. Guests who remain on this revised itinerary will receive an onboard credit. Guests who would like to rebook a future sailing at a discount OR cancel their sailing for a full refund are invited to call us at 1-866-325-3905 or 407-566-7032.
    Disney Fantasy

    The October 8 Disney Fantasy sailing from Port Canaveral to the eastern Caribbean is expected to sail as scheduled. We will continue to monitor the weather and make any necessary adjustments.
    While we always strive to deliver magical cruise vacations, nothing is more important to us than providing a safe experience for our guests and crew. We will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Matthew and provide updates as necessary.

    Reply
  18. Lisa 911

    We are scheduled to leave on the Dream 10/17. I know the hurricane will be long gone by then. I wouldn’t mind if they have to change our itinerary due to Nassau being damaged, but if Port Canaveral was damaged from the storm, what would happen then?? Are there alternate ports in the area to depart from? This will only be our 2nd Disney Cruise out of Port Canaveral so I’m not too familiar with the surrounding area.

    Reply

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