One count put the number of passengers at 53,000, while another was just under, said Ellen Kennedy, manager of corporate and community relations. The ships' manifests at the end of the week will provide the definitive number.
The previous world record was set on Jan. 2, 2009, when 49,234 passengers sailed on 11 ships.
This year, it took only nine ships. One reason is Royal Caribbean International's Oasis of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, with its 6,003 guests, Kennedy said. The ship's 100 percent occupancy is 5,408 passengers, but filling third and fourth bunks in cabins boosted the total well beyond that.
The nine ships would stretch 8,233 feet, about 27 football fields.
One reason is a high amount of international passengers who are coming in on buses, she said. About half of the Oasis' passengers were international.
Road traffic generally was smooth, although 17th Street backed up a bit because of traffic for an auto show at the convention center at the port, she said.
One reason for the record this time is the Oasis, Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas and Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess were in port on the same day, Kennedy said.
Here's how the ships were berthed:
The Ruby Princess, Holland America's Eurodam and Independence of the Seas were moored along the Intracoastal Waterway, south of the main channel.
Carnival Cruise Line's Miracle, Costa Cruises' Atlantica and Oasis of the Seas were moored in a U-shape in the center of the port