Port Canaveral welcomed the Symphony of the Seas on Thursday as Royal Caribbean International’s new ship made its first North American port of call.
“We’re proud of the confidence our partners at Royal Caribbean have in us. Although this ship will be home-ported in Miami, our cruise partner trusted the capabilities of this port for its first U.S. port of call,” said Port Canaveral CEO Capt. John Murray. “As a brand-new ship, coming from a foreign port, it’s important that the customs clearance and Coast Guard inspection operations run smoothly and efficiently to avoid time delays and preserve a positive guest experience.”
The Symphony of the Seas arrived at Port Canaveral to clear customs and undergo the required U.S. Coast Guard port state control inspection.
“Today was a busy day at our Port. I’m proud of our Port staff, our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Coast Guard. Many dedicated professionals and great teamwork supported the arrival of the world’s largest and most sophisticated cruise ship in the industry,” added Murray.
Canaveral Harbor pilot Doug Brown, who helped navigate the Symphony into the Port this morning, said the vessel’s huge size changed his approach to the job.
“Being bigger, it usually takes a little longer to respond to different rudder and engine orders, so I planned accordingly,” Brown said. “We were lucky this morning that the weather was very nice, so we didn’t have to deal with the winds and the currents too much and we just had to concentrate on the sheer size of the ship.”
The Symphony departed Port Canaveral on schedule this afternoon, and is set to arrive tomorrow in Port of Miami. Two tugboats from Petchem Tugs and Seabulk Towing escorted the Symphony from Port Canaveral with a traditional water salute, according to a press release.