I’ve taken twelve cruises, but up until recently, I’d only sailed out of two ports – Port Canaveral and Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. For our latest cruise on the Disney Magic, our cruise departed from the Miami cruise terminal – PortMiami. I wasn’t too familiar with this area, but we quickly found that it was extremely convenient. If you are planning on cruising from Miami, here are some tips for sailing from the Miami cruise port.
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Sailing From the Miami Cruise Port: PortMiami
Location of PortMiami
PortMiami is located at 1015 North America Way, Miami, Florida, 33132. It’s about 20-25 minutes from Miami International Airport to the cruise port. But the Miami airport isn’t your only option for flying in. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is only about 40 minutes away from the port.
Because of the two airline options, you will find plenty of flight options for your cruise. When I checked prices, I found great rates flying in through Miami, and out of Fort Lauderdale. Both are great options, and are very convenient.
Getting to and from the Miami Cruise Port
You’ll have lots of ways to get the PortMiami once you land. Some of the cruise lines offer shuttles to and from the Miami airport. There’s also the option of a cab, Uber, private car, or other shuttles. Taxis from MIA to the cruise port are offered at a flat rate of $27.
Three members of our party were staying at a nearby hotel and opted to take an Uber to the port. The other member of our group flew into FLL and opted to take a shared shuttle right to the Miami cruise port.
If you’d prefer to drive, parking is available. It’s currently offered at $22 per night for a standard vehicle, and major credit cards are accepted. There’s also a cell phone lot if you are being picked up.
Once your ship arrives after your cruise, you’ll find a row of cabs waiting to take you to wherever you are going. Our transportation to Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport was about $100 for three of us, but the rate will depend on traffic. We easily walked out of the terminal and right into a cab. There was a whole row of them available. If you are looking to save money, definitely check with your cruise line to see what shuttle service options they offer.
If you are planning to drive somewhere after your cruise and need to rent a car, there are some options. Dollar and Hertz offer a shuttle from the cruise port to their rental counters. I’d recommend booking the car in advance so you aren’t disappointed when you arrive at the counter. Because it’s such a busy cruise port, it’s always possible they will be booked up.
Cruises out of PortMiami
Port Miami is known as the Cruise Capital of the World, due to the number of cruises and passengers that pass through the port. It’s a great starting and ending point for any cruise that’s headed to the Caribbean.
Twenty-two different cruise lines leave from the PortMiami cruise port, with about 55 different cruise ships. Our ship, the Disney Magic, leaves from Miami in the winters. Other cruise lines and ships include the following:
- MSC Cruises
- Royal Caribbean
- Carnival Cruise Line
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Disney Cruise Line
- Viking Cruises
- Princess Cruises
Sailing out of the Miami Cruise Port
After our Uber arrived at the port, we were greeted by a number of baggage handlers to take our checked bags. On Disney Cruise Line, you check bags that you’ll get on board later in the day. Pack a day bag for your first day on the Disney Cruise Line with all of the essentials you’ll need for the first day. You’ll definitely want to check a bag, because you aren’t able to access your stateroom right away.
These baggage handlers were easy to find, and do accept tips. Bring along small bills so you’ll be prepared once you hand off your bags. Once we gave our baggage handler our luggage, we were directed towards the appropriate terminal. For Disney, this was terminal F (although some Disney cruises may depart from a different location).
Once we went into the terminal we were directed to the check in desks. There, we filled in the health paperwork and checked in. We took our security photos and made sure our appropriate paperwork was on file. Then, we were given our Key to the World Cards, as well as our Castaway Club lanyards. At this desk, you’ll be given a card with your boarding position.
After we completed that, we headed into the waiting room. It wasn’t too long before our boarding position was called and we were able to enter the ship. Our bags arrived on board by our stateroom later in the afternoon.
Note that our experience above was specifically for Disney – the process may vary for other cruise lines.
Once we set sail, we had some gorgeous views as we sailed out of Miami. We passed South Beach, as well as some beautiful homes and restaurants. The weather was absolutely beautiful outside, so we saw lots of spectators waving as we started to set sail into the open waters.
Customs at the Miami Cruise Port
Our cruise went through Key West after the Bahamas, so we had to go through customs on the ship before exiting to Key West. As a result, our customs experience in Miami was fairly limited. As you exit the ship, you’ll easily be directed towards baggage claim and customs. For Disney, we had the option of checking our bags to be delivered in the port. Our group, however, did an express walk off which meant we carried our own bags.
Hotels Near the Miami Cruise Port
Where should I stay in Miami before a cruise?
If you are flying in for your cruise out of Miami, I definitely recommend arriving at least one day in advance. The potential for flight delays is too high to risk missing your cruise. As you’d expect, there are lots of fabulous hotels in the Miami Dade County area that would be great to stay in before your cruise. These include airport hotels, downtown Miami hotels, and Miami Beach hotels.
We decided to stay in the Homewood Suites Miami Airport/Blue Lagoon. This suite hotel is located right near the airport and offers a complimentary shuttle to/from the airport. The three of us were very comfortable in our room, which included a bedroom with two beds, a living room with a pullout couch, and a small kitchen. It would also be a very comfortable room for a family.
I especially loved the great value of the hotel, because in addition to the free airport shuttle, we also got some other great amenities. These included the manager reception in the evening, with free food and wine, as well as a complimentary, complete breakfast. There was plenty of seating in the lobby, as well as some outdoor seating.
There’s also a small gym, outdoor swimming pool, and small fitness center. We didn’t have a car, but was able to take a short walk to a nearby store to purchase sunscreen for our cruise. We were able to take a short Uber to the cruise port in the morning.
If you are hoping to stay closer to the port, there are lots of hotel options. Here are a few with good reviews: