Ground Transportation Information  

When traveling to and from either port from the airport or a local hotel there are a number of options from which to choose.  The trick is to find the most appropriate one for you. Choices include:

  • Luxury Limousines
  • Standard Taxi Cabs
  • Private Express Service
  • Rental Cars
  • Public Transportation choices
  • Cruise line transfers
  • Walking (not a good option)

Which one to choose depends on a number of factors including:

  • Number of passengers
  • How much luggage they have
  • When your flight arrives or departs
  • The level of service you desire
  • Your budget
  • Reputation and efficiency

When traveling from the Ft Lauderdale airport to the Port of Miami, for example, a Private Express Service might be the way to go.  Doesn't cost much more than a cab and its much more pleasant.  I suggest the SuperShuttle when in Miami or Ft Lauderdale.  We've used them and found them to be prompt and thier vans in great shape.

Travel from a downtown Miami hotel to the port in Miami is most commonly done  by cab, even if you have to take a couple of them. At about ten bucks a trip that's the way to go.  From the Miami airport cab rates are posted and fixed at $21.00 per cab.

But Miami has a great transportation system that can get you just about anywhere called the Metro Mover (see below)  From the Intercontinental or Holiday Inn it's almost walking distance to the port.  Limo companies have minimums that are almost always more than a cab would cost.  A tip on cabs though from our waiter, Roley, from Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co (awesome) :ask the cab driver if his meter works, sometimes they pretend they are broken and try to overcharge you. 

Read on for more about Ground Transportation in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

For transportation information specific to other ports, see the Embarkation section

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 Luxury Limousines 

If comfort and style are your goal then your choice for Ground Transportation might be a luxury limousine.  We've used several services in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area that do a good job.  A "good job" for a limousine company means they're on time as agreed in advance when you booked the run with them.  Any limousine service that is not there to pick you up is a lousy limousine service and you should email me so we can tell everybody about it.

You'll pay the premium price for this service and should expect them to personally greet you if they're picking you up at the airport or the cruiseport.  They should open the door for you to get in and then take care of your luggage without you lifting a finger.  At the destination, they should do whatever is appropriate with your luggage, again without you lifting a finger. 

When booking limousine services agree on a price with tip included at the time of booking.  If they require a credit card to secure your ride be sure you can cancel without penalty by giving them 24 hours notice.  Also, if they require a credit card up front be sure that's the last time you'll need to present it.  At the destination you should not have to lag behind while the rest of your party waits or goes ahead of you (awkward moment).  Agree on the charge and preauthroize it so at the destination you get out of the limo and proceed with your business (or pleasure) like the rock star you're pretending to be.

Some services will take orders to personalize your trip.  A bottle of champagne onboard on the way to or from make a ride and occasion..  I've had drivers place bottles of Clearly Canadian flavored drinking water aboard for our kids too.  Expect to pay extra for these at the time of service or make arrangements to pay for this too in advance.

A limousine is a great option if this is going to be your "cruise of a lifetime" or if you just don't want to bother with anything at all.  Let them take care of it in style.

 

Limo's .com

This site can get you hooked up with a limo darn near anyplace in the world.  This is a limo search engine where you enter all the details of your request then they put it out for bids from participating service providers.  Its a great place to start and you'll get a lot of choices back beginning in a matter of minutes.  Wait a few days though because some good providers take longer to respond than others.  You'll want to compare them all if you have the time.

LimosOfMiami

Erie at LimosOfMiami is a great guy who really goes out of his way to meet whatever your needs are in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale area.  He's affiliated with a nationwide network of transportation operators that can take care of just about any need.  Check out this site, it really gets you in the mood!

ABC Limousine- Florida

This is a great limo company in Florida, use them and you won't be disappointed.  Their prices tend to be on the high side of any quotes you might get but they're one of the biggest service providers in Florida and have always been able to accept any reservations or requests I've ever thrown at them.  Great place to call for last minute reservations too.  Ask for Gloria.


Tips for using a limo service

  • Be sure you exchange cell phone numbers with them, that can be really important as I think we all look the same to the drivers
  • Get it in writing where they're going to meet you, trust me, you really do need to know this.
  • Find out: If you're having them meet you inside the terminal what happens next - depending on which way the wind blows security may or may not (probably not) let them park at curbside and go in to get you. (That unattended limo might have a nuclear warhead concealed inside one of the TV's) Best bet? Tell them you will call them when you and your luggage are at curbside, ready to be picked up. Then, when you hit the ground, call to tell them your flight has arrived and that you will call them when you are at curbside. This gives them a heads up to be able to position a car close by, waiting for your call.
  • Know their cancellation policy. Some want to be paid in advance, some don't. Some will let you cancel up to 24 hours before with no penalty, some won't. Most will at least want a credit card number to have on file
  • Since you already know how much it will cost with the tip, tell them you want them to pre-authorize your charge. That way you're not left fumbling around when you reach your destination while the rest of your party runs off to have fun
  • Let them open the door for you. When you get to your destination don't jump out of the car, wait for the driver to come open the door for you. Jumping out blows the whole illusion to common folk around your car who are wondering who the famous movie star inside is
  • After the chauffer opens the door, I usually get out and look around like I am a body guard or CIA agent before allowing anyone else to get out. Then I have one of them hold their head down and slink into wherever it is we're going flanked by the other passengers to keep the press from getting a clean shot with their cameras.
  • You may wish to practice looking famous by riding in the back seat of the family car even though it's just you and DW /DH along for the ride- I like taking an extra phone from home and pretending I am giving DW (the driver) directions to the next event and/or talking to someone really important about something really interesting.
  • I must say that DW does look stunning in her chauffer outfit, it doubles as a costume for Village People night at our neighborhood parties
  •  

     Frequently Asked Ground Transportation Questions 

    I'm flying into Ft Lauderdale because the price is right on the airline tickets, now how do I get to the Port of Miami for my cruise?

    Well walking is out, you'd miss the cruise for sure. Running would be better but till take a long time. We take a limo which seems to work out good for us from FLL. It's a real pain and not necessary from MIA as it is so close and pickup there is a mess.

    Cost wise it doesn't cost all that much more for a limo than a cab due to the distance (20 miles, 30 minutes). Pay more than $70+ tip and you got hosed. I like Limos of Miami and ABC Limousine best although Holland Limousine is a close second.

    They have websites too:

    Limos of Miami is  http://www.limosofmiami.com/- ask for Eric

    ABC's is:
    http://www.limoway.com/
    (Contact Gloria, she runs the show)

    Hollands is:
    http://hollandlimo.tripod.com/
    (Ask for Hans- duh yeah he is from Holland)

    Florida law prohibits them from stocking a limo with any alcholic beverages but if you want to do that I know another company that will cheat and have champagne waiting for you. (Which is entirely different from the West coast where a full bar service is standard issue)

    Latest numbers I have on getting a cab are about $56 without tip from FLL to the area of the hotel, so why not pay a little more.

    OR

    You can use one of the services that make regular runs between the airport and the hotels like:

    Palm Beach Transportation, Inc.
    561-689-4222

    Tri-County Transportation/Airport Express
    954-565-8900

    For more info on these or other carriers the Airport Ground Transportation Association offers a great resource.

    http://www.agtaweb.org/index.htm

    The most popular of the bunch is Tri-county. You can simply gather your luggage and wait at the curb where they will send some kind of transportation to take you where you want to go or, now, you can make a reservation in advance.


     

    Question: 

    Do the cruise lines offer transfers (haul me around) from the airport to the Port of Miami?

    You bet they do, your Travel Agent should be able to add that to your booking, no problem. The price is reasonable, even inexpensive, compared to some types of private transportation. There's a reason for that and it's mainly convenience...or lack thereof.

    If you're flying in the day of the cruise like we did once, its a pretty good way to go. The potentially bad part is you'll wait at the airport until the bus is full, collecting passengers from various flights due in at various times from around the world. The average time to wait is about 30 minutes but it can go as long as several hours if your particular flight comes in early in the transportation "matrix" when the busses run (generally between 10AM and 1PM).

    The good part is that unless you have a really marginal flight (like arriving at noon or later) you can feel really confident that they will get you to the ship on time. I liked that feeling on our first cruise, not knowing any better. It's the safe bet to a certain extent.

    The interesting thing is that for not all that much more if you are a party of, say, three or more, you can transfer in a private limousine who you'll give your flight and arrival time and will meet you, and only you, upon arrival and get you wherever you need to be on time with little or no wait on your part. I would surely consider this option and would have done this for sure the one time we did the bus thing if I had only known.

    Price-wise you see, the bus charges per person while the private company charges per car; the more people you have the less per person it is.

    Convenience-wise there's no comparison, the private car wins hands down.

    As stated above, there is a lot of information about limo/car/transportation services here on cruise critic which has recently been updated. That's the great thing about this board is that when something changes, good or bad, you read about it here.

     Public Transportation Choices 

    The quality and reliability of public transportation varies a lot from city to city but usually provides the least expensive method of travel.  As a visitor to a city you are not familiar with, public transportation can be confusing if you're not prepared.  I suggest doing your research and then asking someone who lives in your port city, perhaps a hotel concierge, exactly how you go about using the system to get where you want to go...at least for the initial trip.  Probably the most important question to ask though is "Is it safe?"  A mugging can surely get your fabulous cruise vacation off to the wrong start.

    On the other hand, here in Orlando, we have a great public transportation sytem that will get you from our office in the suburbs to the airport for $3.50.  Heck, I'd spend way more than that on gas and parking.  But then having a car the airport sure is conveniennt so you'll have to weigh the alternatives depending on which port and port city you're talking about.

    Tri-Rail Gets You Where You Want To Go

                  

    TRI-RAIL Logo

    Tri-Rail is the convenient, comfortable and affordable way to travel throughout the South Florida region. They'll get you to your favorite places from Miami to West Palm Beach in air-conditioned comfort - seven days a week!

    Always striving to be more reliable, convenient and efficient, Tri-Rail serves thousands of riders traveling to work, major airports, South Florida attractions and special events

    Spend some time going through this website, it can be confusing if you're not familiar to the area but worth the time to learn

    Miami-Dade Transit

    If you're comfortable with public transportation, Miami does have a great system in place that offers good, consistent service at a reasonable price.  This is typical city bus service.  Passengers are limited to two pieces of luggage which could be a problem for some cruisers and are relegated to riding in the back of the bus (because of the luggage, don't write your congressman)

    In addition to the link above which takes you right to informatin on the Transit Connection to Miami International Airport there's information on the Miami Metromover system. Metromover is a free automated people-mover system that serves downtown Miami from Omni to Brickell and connects with Metrorail at Government Center and Brickell stations. 

    There are 21 conveniently located wheelchair accessible Metromover stations, one about every two blocks. Metromover links many of downtown Miami's major office buildings, hotels, and retail centers,  the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, the Cultural Plaza (Miami Art Museum, Historical Museum, Main Library), and the Brickell business district.  With Metromover cars arriving frequently, getting around downtown is fast and convenient.

    The thing I like about Metromover and the reason I bring it up here is because there is a station at Bayfront park, next to Bayside Marketplace, a must-visit pre-cruise stop. 

    Metromover runs 24 hours a day. Service on the inner loop operates around the clock seven days a week. Service on the outer loop begins at 5:30 a.m. and ends weekdays and weekends at midnight. The Brickell and Omni loops run separately until closing.

     Car Rental Tips 

    One option for Ground Transportation is to rent a car at the airport then drop it off at the port.  That would be a one-way rental.  I know it may sound silly but be sure your rental company does that.  Once we rented a car to drive from Kansas City to Miami, thinking it would be OK to just drop it at the rental office there.  Nope, there was a hefty "drop" fee to pay. 

    Also when booking a car rental online, look for "special offers" or "hot deals" to find the company's current promotional codes.  Price your reservation using each code.  Also keep in mind that rates fluctuate according to seasons and slow periods.  Jeff Thomsen, a traveler from Lenexa, KS tells us  "I saved over $170 on a 10-day rental in Orlando buy changing my reservations dates and by using different codes"

     Helpful Ground Transportation Links 
     Recommended Operators We Have Used 

    The Super Shuttle

    If you follow our adventures at all you know that I usually try to plan every major part of the trip.  On this trip I wanted to explore ground transportation from Miami to one of the downtown hotels in a different way.  On this trip I made no advance reservations or plans and simply got off the plane and headed to the curb with our 14 pieces of luggage.  Surely someone would take us to the hotel.  

    On our last cruise out of Miami, on arrival with our luggage at curbside my first stop was to a transportation authority officer, one of many positioned at curbside and that was the last stop I would have to make for the information I needed. 

    I told the officer that I had 4 people and 14 pieces of luggage and inquired as to what the best way would be to get from the airport to the Sheraton Biscayne Bay, downtown.

    They've got it all figured out, posted for everyone to see and he was happy to relay the information to me and explain my options.

    It seems I had two viable choices. 

    First would be to take two cabs as all our luggage and us would not fit in one.  That would cost approximately $25 per cab (+gratuity) and we could take the next two of many cabs lined up and ready to go.  We had discussed this possibility before landing and I made sure Lisa had enough cash to cover what I thought the cab fare would be in case we went this way.  Lisa wasn't wild about this idea as I usually handle all this but it beat putting the two kids in one cab and she and I in another so she was backed into a corner on this option and would have to do it.

    The second option would be to take the Supershuttle. 

    I was told that between our luggage and the four of use we could do an "exclusive" rental, taking the whole fifteen passenger van for ourselves for $55.  This sounded much more like what we would like to do, keeping all of us together and Lisa doesn?t have to mess with it.

    This was a good decision and our rental was given top priority because it was exclusive. At any one given time there are 60 of these vans on the road between the airport and various points around town so they are readily available. 

    To hire one we went to one of the many Supershuttle stands located along the curb, told them where we wanted to go and the we wanted an exclusive rental.  On each of these stands there is a fare grid which clearly shows how much it costs to go to the different areas of town. 

    I had always considered a private limousine the best point to point ground transportation and have frequently used this method.  Of all of the service providers I have been happiest with Limos of Miami and the level of service is indeed better.

    Once you get in the car.

    Here, to me, is the big difference.

    The Supershuttle operates much like a cab and is able to pick you and your luggage up at curbside.  Limousines are required to stay a lane or two away from the curb.  Using a limo you have two basic choices, have a driver come in and move your luggage from the airline carousel (meet and greet service) , across two lines of traffic to the awaiting limo or do it yourself. 

    Regardless of how you do it, if you have more than a couple pieces of luggage you will have to do some "staging" where one person stays with the luggage pile that has been pulled off the carousel while the other moves it to curbside or across the lanes to where the limo waits.

    I think the best, most efficient, and most economical way is a combination of these methods.

    First, retrieve your luggage from the carousel.  Then hire a porter with a big cart to transport it to curbside, by a Supershuttle pickup point.  Hire the supershuttle exclusively for $55 and let them load it in the van.  Sit back and enjoy the ride to the hotel.

    It's not a limousine quality ride but there's nothing wrong with it and you probably saved some money to

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