Explore the USCGC Barque Eagle in Port Canaveral

uscgc eagle in port canaveral cruise terminal 3

The USCGC Eagle is in Port Canaveral

uscgc eagle wix 327This week, ship enthusiasts and military buffs in and around Port Canaveral are getting a treat. For the first time since 2004, “America’s Tall Ship” arrived in Port Canaveral for a five-day stop. The USCGC Eagle docked in Cruise Terminal 3 on May 31st to the delight of Port Canaveral and Brevard residents. From May 31st through June 3rd, the barque will have free, self-guided tours available to the public. On their second day, we grabbed some pictures and talked to a few of the crew (before the rain hit!). This is definitely an exciting, beautiful, and impressive sight to see, and I hope everyone who can will take the opportunity to visit the Eagle.

Click the photos for a larger view. Press ‘back’ after to return to the blog.

The USCGC Eagle

Moving through the ship, you’ll see several informational signs set up to tell you more about the ship. The crew posted on deck will also be happy to tell you what they know about it, too. At 295 feet long with three masts, this barque is the biggest sailing ship sailing under the Stars and Stripes. Those aboard the barque manage over 22,000 square feet of sails and 5 miles of rigging.  With a steel hull and deck, she is as sturdy as she is sleek. It is also the only American square rigger and the only active commissioned sailing ship. So, yes, this is something you won’t see just anywhere!

denmark (crew) teaching and helping visitors
The crew helps teach history and tells stories to those touring the ship.

The Eagle is used by the United States Coast Guard Academy to train cadets and future officers. While they sail on this more traditional vessel, Coast Guard cadets learn some of their most vital skills. Topics learned from the standing, enlisted crew and officers on-board include navigation, seamanship, ship repair, and other necessary skills for life at sea. One female cadet spoke about navigating by charts, celestial navigation at night, and sextant use only.

The Eagle’s Beginning

the eagle 1954While the Eagle is a training ship for the Coast Guard today, it began as a training ship for Germany’s sailors during World War II. After it was built  by the Blohm & Voss Shipyard in 1936, the ship was commissioned Horst Wessel and trained German cadets until 1945. Following the end of WWII, the United States took the Horst Wessel as war reparations and commissioned it as the Eagle in 1946. From that point onward, the Eagle sailed as a training cutter for the US Coast Guard. She sails each summer to train cadets, up to 150 cadets at a time. Recently, the semi-annual Coast Guard Officer Candidate School classes have taken place aboard the barque during the spring and fall.

“America’s Tall Ship”

The US Coast Guard Cutter barque Eagle has another role besides training. It also travels around, visiting national and international ports as a public relations effort. She visits ports as far away as Australia and takes place in international events such as Velas Sudamerica of 2010.  The Eagle also returned to Germany several times for races and goodwill visitations. Overall, she is a well-traveled and well-known vessel that has earned the nickname “America’s Tall Ship” for her distinctive masts and sails.

The next couple of days, the USCGC Eagle will still be in port. If you have time, take a couple minutes to walk through this amazing piece of history visiting our port. You won’t be disappointed!

Photography courtesy of Collin Marcoux.

Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal: A History of Our Cruise Port

 Looking at the Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal History

The Port Canaveral cruise terminal and cargo pier area sees thousands of visitors and employees every day. So many people and so much cargo moves through the port every day! It isn’t hard to believe that Port Canaveral is the second largest port in Florida. It is also one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. While millions of people cruise from here, few know of Port Canaveral’s rich history. Lots of Honor wants to show you a bit about the port that makes our area so great.

Before the First Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal

Port Canaveral didn’t begin as a major cruise port, as I’m sure you could guess. Like most ports, we began with commercial fishing before branching out into cargo shipments.

early port canaveral historyPort Canaveral’s people voted on and approved the port creation in 1947. This was a decision that shaped the development of the area for the rest of its history. Construction began in 1951, and the port was dedicated in 1953 on November 4th. Cargo began moving through the port, including oil, newsprint, and (of course!) Florida’s delicious orange juice. The Navy was an exciting addition to Port Canaveral in the late 50’s, and expansions continued into the 1980s. With the introduction of NASA’s space and shuttle program, Port Canaveral began using its deep channels and vessels for moving large rockets and retrieving boosters. All of this activity led to the expansion of the cargo industry, the fishing industry, and other businesses in the area.  In the 1970s, cruise ships began using us as a port-of-call. Then, in 1982, the area got its first Port Canaveral cruise terminal.

Port Canaveral Gets Cruisin’

Scandinavian Sea Cruise Ship
(From www.shipspotting.com/)

The first Port Canaveral cruise terminal and its first home-ported cruise ship made waves in the same year: 1982. The port converted a warehouse into Cruise Terminal 1. The first cruise ship to make Port Canaveral more than just a port-of-call was the Scandinavian Sea, a cruise ship of Scandinavian World Cruises. By 1986, three more cruise terminals had been built to serve the growing cruise industry. At that point, the cruise lines had gone from offering out-to-sea and back trips to offering 3 to 4 day trips to the Bahamas.  Of course when the trips get longer and go farther, more people get pumped for cruising more often! The addition of the new cruise terminals saw more traffic and more ships coming through. Cruise terminals are added, renovated, and reopened regularly in Port Canaveral, and this doesn’t seem like it is going to let up any time soon.port canaveral cruise lines

By 1990, Carnival joined Premier in having a home port ship in Port Canaveral. Disney and Royal Caribbean followed suit in 1998 and 2000.  So over an 18 year period, the cruise industry of Port Canaveral exploded! “More ships and more people and more terminals” was the theme during this time. And the changes didn’t stop there!

The Big Ships: Looking at the Oasis Class

Carnival Fantasy was the first mega-ship to call Port Canaveral home. This was the start of Port Canaveral’s introduction of the big, fun-filled ships that became so popular over the last decade. I’m sure you’ve heard about the Oasis class ships, like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and the Harmony of the Seas. Maybe you even sailed out of Port Canaveral on the Oasis recently! In 2016, Port Canaveral became the proud home port of the third largest ship, the Oasis of the Seas, which docks in Cruise Terminal 1. In 2014, the terminal reopened after having renovations to make it big enough for these mega-ships. Huge ships call for even bigger changes!

Port Canaveral Cruising Today

Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal Today
Click for Port Canaveral’s Printable PDF Image!

Port Canaveral is proud to serve so many ships and cruisers coming in and out of its docks every year. In addition to the cruise ship lines, Port Canaveral is home to Victory Casino Cruises, a gambling ship that offers 5 hour cruises. Today, we have over 4 million cruise passengers annually, five cruise terminals, and nine cruise ships in our fleet. The fishing, cargo, and cruise industries of Port Canaveral run ships and boats that go in and out daily. Whether you are local or are just visiting, the effects of the port’s success are clear. Next time you’re here, take a moment before you board your ship and look around at the port. It is truly impressive!

With only thirty years of cruising history, we are Florida’s second largest port and one of the fastest growing ports in America. On top of that, we are also one of the busiest cruise ports in the world. And Port Canaveral itself promises that there is even more on the horizon! What more will time bring?