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Miami Cruise Port

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Overview

Introduction - Port of Miami
Where, Getting There, Terminals and Parking

By: Editor-in-Chief | Date - March 6, 2017


Port Location

The Port of Miami is located on Dodge Island next to Dowtwon Miami and is the busiest Cruise Port in the World with close to 5 million cruise passengers per year. Inevitably, this staggering number is concentrated on the weekends when up to 8 mega-ships dock at 7 terminals and disembarking/embarking can be far from smooth and at times frustrating.

When looking at a map, it is clear that the Port of Miami is connected to Downtown by a bridge and access 'should' be easy. However, many a cruise ship passenger staying at hotels in Downtown or Brickell and seeing the cruise ships from the window get frustrated once they realize that the distance is too much to walk, in particular when dragging luggage over a bridge in the hot and humid Miami’s weather. Read more about Embarkation/Disembarkation below.

Transportation

Unlike most areas in Miami, Downtown (next to the Cruise Port) is very well served by public transportation (and most is free) with direct connections to the Airport, the Viscaya Museum, the Design District, the Entertainment District, Wynwood and all around Downtown - the Historical Center of Miami. All major points of interest in Miami are easy to reach by public transportation including South Beach, Little Havana, Dadeland, Key Biscayne and as far north as the Aventura Mall and Ft. Lauderdale.

Photo of Trolley in Miami

Coral Way Trolley, Miami

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Although it is easy to drive your personal car to the port, as do limos, taxis (and also Uber and Lift), hotel shuttles or sightseeing buses it is not always easy to find transportation when thousands of passengers are on the move. Ignored by most, there is a Trolley (FREE) with a stop next to Terminal J and another stop close enough to Terminal F - find below the terminals where cruise ships dock. However if your cruise ships docks at any of the other terminals the walk can be quite long - over 3/4 mile (1 km) to Terminal B.

This Trolley route goes all the way to Coral Gables but has a few convenient stops next to Bayside and Downtown and can be a good way to get in and out of the port. The Trolley runs every 20 minutes, every day of the week between 6:00 am and 11:00 pm (8:00 am to 8:00 pm on Sundays) but with limited service on holidays like Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving.

Photo of Metro Mover in Miami

Metro Mover, Miami

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Other Public Transportation can be particularly useful when moving around Downtown area prior to Embarking or Disembarking. The free automated electrical MetroMover (aka People Mover) has 21 stations in three loops that connect all major places of interest in the area including Brickell or the Perez Art Museum, and close to major hotels.

Many other Trolley Routes (also free) crisscross downtown, connecting to farther places like Coconut Grove (ideal to visit Vizcaya Gardens), the Design District, Wynwood, Little Havana and Coral Gables. The Downtown Bus Terminal, close to the Government Center, has routes to South Beach, Key Biscayne (good for the Seaquarium) and as far as the Aventura Mall.

Photo of Train Station at Miami Aorport

Train Station at the Airport

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At the Government Center, the Metrorail has a Station with direct connections to the Airport and south to Dadeland (next to Dadeland Mall). The Metrorail also connects to the Tri-Rail (a commuter train to Ft.Lauderdale and West Palm Beach) and to the Amtrack Silver Service Route to New York and Tampa.

Driving, Terminals and Port Tunnel

Photo of sign on Interstate 95 in Miami

I-95 Tunel Sign, Miami

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If traveling by car there are two main accesses to the Port of Miami. Either driving trough Downtown Miami – can be chaotic but not too bad on weekend early mornings – or trough the Port Tunnel. The latter is advisable unless you are staying in a hotel Downtown or in Miami Beach. The Tunnel entrance/exit is on MacArthur Causeway (I-395) that connects mainland Miami to South Beach, right in the middle of Watson Island (very close to the mainland). If traveling from North or South, the I-95 connects directly to the MacArthur Causeway. Be aware that there are other connections to South Beach so look out for the sign: 395 East to Miami | Port of Miami via Tunnel | Miami Beach. This will be the Exit 2 D regardless if driving from north or south.

When driving from West Florida, the MacArthur Causeway is a continuation of the Dolphin Expressway (I-395) and you will only need to follow the sign: 395 Miami Beach and look out for the sign ‘Port of Miami via Tunnel’, the exit will be on the left lane. The Tunnel doesn’t have access if driving from South Beach and you will have to Exit on Biscayne Boulevard (Exit 2) and make a U-turn on N. Bayshore Drive to re-enter the MacArthur Causeway. Alternatively, just drive Downtown and follow the Port of Miami signs to cross the Port Bridge.

Once on the Port of Miami, there are clear signs indicating the Terminals and where cruise ships are docked. Most cruise lines always dock on the same terminals although these may change. The cruise line-terminal list below is indicative:
Terminal B and C - Norwegian Cruise Line
Terminal D – MSC Cruises, Fred Olsen, Hapag Lloyd
Terminal E - Carnival Cruises, Aida, Princess Cruises and P & O Cruises
Terminal F – Disney Cruises, Royal Caribbean
Terminal G – Celebrity, Royal Caribbean
Terminal H – Short Cruises to Bimini (The Bahamas)
Terminal J - Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Azamara, Regent Seven Seas and Silversea.

Parking

Parking in the Port of Miami is commendable: both convenient and safe. There is lots of space and all terminals have covered parking just across the main entrances and are clearly signed. Parking is not cheap at $20 per day ($140 for a 7-day cruise). There is a good number of Private Companies offering Parking outside the Port that includes Free Round Trip Shuttle for less and equally secure. Some claim half price costs but most charge around $90 for seven days. Just as an example and NOT a recommendation and even less advertisement you may want to check parking services like: miamiportparking.com

Obviously, the exit of the Port of Miami follows the reversed routes. Just be aware that signs can be rather small and lookout for one of two options: Exit Via Tunnel or Exit Via Port Bridge. The first will take you to the I-95, Dolphin Expressway and also to Miami Beach. The exit Via Port Bridge is only advisbale if going to Downtown, Brickell, Coconut Grove or Key Biscayne.

Car Rental

Photo of Car Rental Center at the Airport Miami

Car Rental Center at the Airport

Photo © IQCruising.com

A good alternative to driving your own car to the Port of Miami is to rent a car. Most companies do not charge much to drop-off a car at a different location than the one where you rent it (within the state of Florida) and, considering the cost of parking in Miami ($20 per day at the Port or $15 on private services), you should at least consider it. The drop-off is at the Miami International Airport and from here a FREE shuttle will take you directly to the Port of Miami, right to the Terminal of your cruise ship. Once disembarking the cruise, just get on the Car Rental Shuttle to the Airport. If you rent a car in advance it may work out cheaper and more conveniently.

Embarkation - Disembarkation

If embarking on a cruise, it isn't advisable to try to get to the port before 11:00 am as you will be going against the current. Most staff at the Terminals are focusing on disembarking guests, and the terminals may not be even fully ready as most cruise ships will not start the embarkation process before 11:00 am. However, if you arrive in Miami on a very early flight, there are sitting areas at the terminals but do not expect more than just a seat, a bathroom, and a long wait.

Photo of City Sightseeing Bus in Miami

City Sightseeing Bus at the Port

Photo © IQCruising.com

Naturally, when disembarking a cruise ship, most travelers want to get out of the port as fast as possible either to get home or to explore Miami before getting on a flight. Although the same transport limitations to embarkation apply, there are a few interesting alternatives. Many cruise lines offer tours of Miami including a transfer to the Airport and secured locking for your luggage. But if you want to explore Miami on your own there are booths offering all sorts of excursions, tours, and hop-on-hop-off buses.

Staying Overnight

Miami is a city of multiple charms with lots of attractions to enjoy during a longer stay. Unfortunately, most touristic promotions have been focusing on a few main sites and leave out many other interesting aspects of the city that are worth exploring. Besides the Beach (on South Beach), the Seaquarium, the typical Everglades experience or Little Havana there is much more to enjoy on a overnight stay in Miami.

Photo of Vizcaya Museum Garden in Miami

Vizcaya Museum Garden, Miami

Photo © IQCruising.com

After all, how many have travelled 25 miles to Aventura Mall not knowing that Dadeland Mall is just 15-minutes away by train? Or went to Bal Harbour to have a look at luxury shops, when you can find the same and even more stores within walking distance at the Brickell City Center or at the Design Distric (15-minute Trolley free ride away)? Why pay for a tour to the Vizcaya Gardens and Museum, to Wynwood or Little Havana when you have a Trolley that allows you to explore it on your own for free? What about renting a car – with a free shuttle from the port to the Car Rental center at the Miami Airport - and explore at leisure off-the-beaten-track places like the fabulous Miami Zoo, Cape Florida, or even the Everglades.

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Useful Links

Port of Miami

Official Website:
www.miamidade.gov

Parking

Miami Port Parking
Owner's Website

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Last Update: March 6, 2017

The information on this page was accurate when last updated and published but changes may have occurred without notice.
It is advisable to confirm details with local tourist information before planning your cruise, tour or excursions of Miami.
If any inaccuracies are found or if there are any suggestions to improve the content of this page please let us know.

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