Getting ready to go on a cruise takes lots of planning. It’s much more than just making your cruise reservation and port excursion reservations.
How far is the port from home? How will you get there? Can you drive to the port? Most major ports offer shuttles from the nearest airport to the cruise terminal. If you are close enough to drive, where will you leave your car? What will it cost?
Over the next few months we’ll be letting you know about all of your parking options (a few with hotel options too) for some of the biggest cruise ports around the country. A few weeks back we gave you everything you need to know about my favorite place to cruise from, Port Canaveral – Guide To Hotels And Parking At Port Canaveral For Your Next Cruise.
What to Expect at The Port
Did you know that the Miami cruise terminal is the most popular port in the world? More passengers travel through this port than any other. If you plan on being one of them, make sure you plan ahead to navigate the crowds, make the most of your visit and secure your seat on time.
The surrounding area of the Miami port is a sight unto itself. You may want to research some of the local attractions before you decide on how you want to set-up the journey to your cruise. If you’re able to stick around for a few days before or after your trip, you can check out famous attractions nearby.
Take your family to the Zoo Miami to see exotic (and some cageless) exhibits with animals from Africa and Australia. To watch live alligators up close in the wild, stop by the Everglades. South Beach is your local hot spot for dining, dancing and of course, swimming. For an amazing photo shoot, you can tour the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This 50-acre historical site has Italian Architecture and beautiful gardens.
If you’re a bit more rugged, you can visit the Oleta River State Park to go mountain biking, canoeing, and camping.
In the midst of all the excitement near the port, make sure you don’t miss your boat!
It’s always wise to arrive near the port on the day before your ship departs. You should never risk flight delays on the day the ship leaves making you miss the boat.
Park, Stay & Cruise Options
For a bargain buy, you can stay at the Holiday Inn Downtown Port of Miami at 340 Biscayne Blvd. This hotel is only 0.1 miles from the port! If you’re looking to be right near your ship for departure, you can’t get much closer. They offer valet parking at $27/night, along with an outdoor pool and free WiFi.
Another reasonable option is the Courtyard by Marriott Plaza Hotel Miami at 200 Southeast 2nd Avenue. Still, within walking distance at 0.5 miles from the port, you can choose to take the shuttle service down for $8 per person.
If you want to leave your car there, the parking garage will cost you a little more at $37/night.
If you’re looking for something a bit (or a lot) fancier, try the luxury Gabriel Miami Hotel at 1100 Biscayne Blvd. At 0.4 miles from the port, they offer a full-service spa and several fabulous amenities. Reviews are excellent if you’re willing to pay the price to stay there. Valet parking rates are listed at $35/night. There’s also an additional “resort fee” of $20/night if you’re staying overnight.
At 0.6 miles or more from the port, there are several more hotels to choose from that range from high-end luxury to family and budget-friendly. Several nearby hotels offer packages that include a ride to the port, so you can opt for that convenience if desired.
There is no shortage of places to stay in Miami, but it’s never a bad idea to book accommodations in advance, especially if you have a certain budget in mind.
Ride Services From the Airport to the Cruise Terminals
If you’re arriving to Florida early in the day of your cruise via the Miami International or Fort Lauderdale airports for your cruise, you can easily opt for a ride-share service to the port, like Lyft or Uber. This will get you straight to your destination. Although more direct, you do pay extra for the convenience.
If you have a little more time to kill and don’t mind navigating the public transportation system, you can actually save quite a bit of money. Traveling from the Miami Airport to the cruise ship can be done for a low rate of just $2.25/person. It takes about an hour to use this route though.
According to Cruzely.com, the route would go as follows:
- MIA Mover at Airport –> Rental Car Center/Metrorail Train Station (Free)
- Orange Line –> Brickell Station ($2.25)
- Miami Trolley (Coral Way Route) –> Port of Miami (Free)
From Ford Lauderdale the route is a bit more complex but can still save you a lot of money if you’re willing to be patient and make a few transfers:
- FLA-1 Commuter Connector at the airport –> Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport Station at Dania Beach for Tri-Rail (Free)
- Tri-Rail –> Metrorail Transfer Station ($3.75/$5.00)
- Green Line –> Brickell Station ($2.25)
- Miami Trolley (Coral Way Route) –> Port of Miami (Free)
Map out your route out in advance and double check the dates to make sure public transportation will be up and running. Some services are not available on Sundays.
Where to Park at the Port
If you’d prefer to drive yourself and leave your car at the port waiting for when you get back, you have some options. You can research and book different parking options on ParkingAccess.com.
Premier Cruise Parking, Safe Cruise Parking, and Best Cruise Parking are all less than 4 miles from the cruise terminal and offer airport shuttles if needed.
A bit further away, but still under 10 miles from the cruise lines, include Prestige Easy Park and Jet Port Park & Ride Center. These also have airport shuttles available to get you back on your plane ride home.
Prices for the different lots seem to vary depending on when you travel but based on some test dates they average about $6.50- $10/day with free cancellation anytime.
Always double-check online for up-to-date rates based on your trip dates. Most hotels near the port offer a discounted rate for long term parking or short-term parking lots if you stay as a guest.
There are several options for transportation, from shuttle services, rideshare, and public transportation. If you stay at a hotel close enough, you can walk to the terminal and board your Royal Caribbean or Carnival cruise ship with your luggage on wheels.
The good news is that with Miami being such a busy spot for travel, there are lots of competing companies hoping for your business. This puts you in the driver’s seat with many options to choose from. If possible, allow extra time at the beginning or tail end of your trip to enjoy all that Miami has to offer.