Port of Palm Beach
One East 11th Street, 4th Floor
Riviera Beach, Florida 33404
Phone: (561) 383-4100
Some 135 miles south of Port Canaveral and 80 miles north of Miami, the historically cargo-oriented Port of Palm Beach at last has made good on ambition to ratchet up status as a waterfront jewel in the rough for leisure waterborne activity.
Resulting is a $26 million multi-level terminal with VIP lounge, federal inspection facilities, and other amenities for upscale passenger cruising, along with capacity to handle two vessels carrying some 1,200 passengers each. Upgrades have attracted such luxury cruise ships as RSSC’s Seven Seas Navigator and Silversea’s Silver Whisper and Silver Shadow, and promise of more higher-end passenger traffic. The three-slip port also hosts daily casino adventure sailings.
In decades past, even legendary private vessels such as Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis’ yacht Christina had been forced to drop anchor offshore or dock much further south due to lack of suitable marine facilities within the Palm Beaches.
Access to the port is through a 300-foot inlet channel leading into Lake Worth. The largest vessels capable of moving through its “dog leg” channel are those no longer than 730 feet. Given limitations including water depth and terminal capacity, attracting mega ships capable of carrying 2,000 passengers or more is not on the horizon. Yet port officials foresee increasing opportunity to host discerning lines with smaller to mid-size ships. Smaller ships generally translate to niche providers and higher fares. SeaDream Yacht Club, previously operating from the Port of Miami, for example, was among the first agreeing to operate scheduled seven-day Caribbean cruises from the Port of Palm Beach.
Far from pure glamour, the Port of Palm Beach ranks as Florida’s fourth busiest container port (18th busiest in the continental U.S.), and as a major nodal point for shipment of bulk and break bulk cargoes, sugar, molasses, cement, water, utility fuels, and produce. The port also offers container import/export, cold storage, warehousing and intermodal operations. The Florida East Coast Railway Company (FEC) services docks and piers through the port’s industrial rail-switching operations, and the Port of Palm Beach is South Florida’s only port facility operating a rail system with pier-side box, hopper and intermodal cars on a 24-hour basis. Its Foreign Trade Zone has operated since 1987.
From the south on Interstate-95, take Exit 74, 45th Street, and proceed east to U.S. Hwy. 1 (Broadway). Turn left onto U.S. Hwy. 1 and go north over the Skypass Bridge to East 11th Street (at the north end of the bridge), and turn right. Parking is on right.
From the north on I-95, take Exit 76, Blue Heron Boulevard, and go east to U.S. Hwy. 1 (Broadway). Turn right (south) onto U.S. Hwy. 1, go about one mile, and make a left on East 11th Street (at the north end of the bridge) and turn right. Parking is on right.
For pre- and post-cruise adventure, here’s a sampling of hotel, dining and attraction options near the Port of Palm Beach:
Benny’s on the Beach
As a waterfront diner, the comparatively inexpensive Benny’s on the Beach serves omelettes and other hearty fare for breakfast, along with fresh pasta and seafood for lunch or dinner, along with beer or wine. Benny’s has a child’s menu, and seating is inside or out. On weekends, there’s entertainment at the bar. 10 Ocean Avenue, Lake Worth. (561) 582-9001
Old Key Lime House
The state’s oldest waterfront restaurant features a moderate-priced menu focused on seafood and a full liquor bar. There’s also a child’s menu. Seating is inside or outdoors for lunch or dinner, and the restaurant is also boat accessible. 300 E. Ocean Avenue, Lantana. (561) 582-1889
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
Launched in New Orleans when the late Ruth Fertel dumped her job as a lab tech at Tulane, bucked advice from her lawyer and banker, and bought the Chris Steak House, the long-heralded Ruth's Chris Steak House has expanded worldwide including to near the Port of Palm Beach. Steaks, seafood, chicken, and vegetarian choices accompany desserts hailed as works of art. 661 U.S. Highway 1, North Palm Beach. (561) 863-0660 or (800) 544-0808
Capt. Bob Drift Fishing
Aboard the 65-foot partyboat Capt. Bob, it’s possible to fish tropical waters of the Gulf Stream individually or with groups up to 50. Daily four-hour trips regularly bring in catch from snapper to sailfish. Soft drinks are for sale aboard, and guests are welcome to bring refreshments in small coolers. 200 East 13th Street, Riviera Beach. (561) 630-0077
Palm Beach Princess
Sailing twice daily from the Port of Palm Beach on five-hour lunch and dinner casino cruises, gaming activity on the 850-passenger Palm Beach Princess includes 400 slots, craps, blackjack, roulette, poker, and more. Also aboard are a lavish buffet, a la carte menu, live musical and theatrical entertainment, and children’s activities. Amenities include five lounges, promenade, sun decks, swimming pool, and satellite television. (561) 845-SHIP or 1-800-841-SHIP
Palm Beach Maritime Museum
Opened in 1999, the Palm Beach Maritime Museum has four facilities including the John F. Kennedy bomb shelter on Peanut Island (manmade from Port of Palm Beach dredgings and named for never materializing peanut factory plans) and an educational center/ferry dock at Currie Park. JFK’s bunker, constructed by the SeaBees under Secret Service direction, is near the Kennedy Compound and was a nuclear war contingency facility during the Cuban Missile Crisis. 2400 North Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach. (561) 832-7428
When Whitehall -- rail magnate Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age Palm Beach estate -- was completed in 1902, the New York Herald described it as “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world..." This National Historic Landmark has changing exhibits and guided tours. Flagler's private Railcar #91 is on the Museum's South Lawn. Cocoanut Row & Whitehall Way, Palm Beach. (561) 655-2833
For more on where to stay, what to see, where to dine, and what to do, visit:
|Related Links:||Port of Call Guide CruiseGuide Cruise Ship News by CruiseGuide Guide to Port of Key West Guide to Port Everglades||Guide to Port of Miami Guide to Port of Tampa Guide to Port Canaveral Guide to JAXPORT Palm Beaches Lodging|
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