MIAMI! Here you come!
You’ve booked a cruise and whether it’s your first time or your 50th, either way, chances are you are excited (even though you just dropped a few thousand dollars). That was the hard part, right?
Not exactly. There are many other things to consider. How are you going to get to Miami? Are you flying in a night or two before you set sail? If so, what hotel are you going to stay at? How are you going to get to port?
It is amazing how many questions a person can have when you really start to dig into it all. While I can’t get into everything, and I will at least give you a good base to start on.
One thing some people may not realize when booking a cruise out of Miami is you don’t have to fly directly into Miami airport (MIA). Fort Lauderdale (FLL) is about a 35-45 minute drive to Miami so it may be worth looking into flying into FLL. Each have hotels nearby as well as available transportation to get you to the Port of Miami.
When booking flights I have become of fan of Google Flights as you can easily set your days, multiple destinations to search, and narrow it down to airlines, departure/arrival times and how many stops. It will also save your destination and date search and graph the prices so you can see when a big dip in price has ocurred. The only drawback is you can set your departure times but Google does not save that setting so the graph does not show prices in the departure times you are looking for. It only graphs prices for the entire day.
I also have used Airfare Watchdog in the past where you can tell the system to alert you via email when there are price drops. Of course there is the usual CheapFlights, Kayak, etc, etc. Maybe you have your favorite and I’d be happy to hear about them!
Hotels between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, depending on when you look, are actually quite comparable. There are plenty of hotels nearing both airports. In fact, I would venture to say there are more hotels immediately surrounding FLL than there is around MIA. Perhaps because many of the hotels are situated in downtown Miami.
There are a number hotels and resorts along beach from Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) to Miami Beach and surprisingly with decent rates. When traveling with a family of 5 (or greater) is many of the hotels either around the airports or along the beach do not have the capacity to hold 5 people and often the rates along the beach are based on double occupancy. If you are a family of five you are going to have to search a bit to find a good rate and only one room. We finally found our best rate at Quality Inn and Suites Port South for our family and they will set up transportation to your port for you.
There are many options available whether flying into FLL or MIA. Perhaps the most recommended if there is just two or three of you is to Uber. Typical cost from FLL for two is $30-40 and from MIA is around $15-20. Taxis also available and may be a little higher out of FLL but about the same out of MIA. For the cost and convenience, I would recommend going with Uber instead of a taxi.
Now if your a family, the cost to Uber may not be worth it. You are obviously going to have more luggage and so it will be tougher to get everyone into one vehicle. Your hotel may offer a package for transportation to the port but be aware that especially out of FLL, they are likely outsourcing that duty to a transportation company. This means they will have a scheduled time when they will pick you up. For instance, they may only come around to the hotel you are staying at only at 9am and 11am so you have to pick which time works best for you and you may not get to port at the exact time you want. It’s best to call your hotel and ask how the transport works.
You can also arrange your own transport for larger groups. Quality Limo Service, Jiffy Jeff, GO!, SAS, or MJS are all options to check out for booking transports from either the airport or hotel to the port. Generally, we have found that the cost is about $13-14 per person and some went to down to $10 per person with groups of 10 or more. GO! only services from the airports to the port while the others have select hotels they service along with the airports.
Now that you have figured out the details of how you are getting to the ship, all you have to do is get on the ship and relax. Have fun on your vacation and if you have any questions on this particular topic, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’ve done most of the research, now we just need to find the right fit for you.