From the Port of Miami, dozens of cruise ships leave each week on luxurious tropical vacations to a wide variety of destinations. Before beginning such a getaway, however, passengers should familiarize themselves with the port to ease the stress of coordinating a vacation.
Cruises From the Port of Miami
Miami is the undisputed cruise capital of the world, home to more megaships than any other port. More than four million passengers per year sail from the south Florida city, and the Port of Miami is the location of many cruise lines' headquarters, including:
- Carnival Cruise Line: The world leader in number of ships, Carnival has more than 20 ships under its own name as well as dozens more in associated lines under the same parent company. Known for fun activities and carefree vacations, Carnival is one of the industry's most recognizable cruise lines.
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian is a delightful cruise line offering a wide variety of fun, adventurous cruises to a variety of destinations. The famed Chocolate Buffet is the highlight of many Norwegian cruises.
- Royal Caribbean Cruises: Royal Caribbean is well known for pushing the limits of onboard fitness, with climbing walls, ice rinks, and even surf machines aboard its ships. Its newest ship, Freedom of the Seas, is the largest ship in the world.
- Celebrity Cruises: Celebrity is a refined version of the modern megaships, offering a range of fun activities and casual options along with more luxurious amenities for sophisticated passengers. The goal is to truly treat passengers like the celebrities they deserve to be.
- Oceania Cruises: Oceania is a small line specializing in longer, more intimate cruises and exotic ports of call. A far cry from the glitzy megaships, Oceania offers a completely different experience for seasoned travelers.
- Seabourn Cruises: Seabourn is an exclusive luxury cruise line offering a decadent experience for refined and sophisticated passengers. Despite small ships, the line offers a wide range of itinerary options.
- Windjammer Barefoot Cruises: Windjammer is classified as an adventure cruise line, with sailing ships and a more authentic ocean-going experience than modern liners. Not for everyone, the line is an incredible choice for passengers interested in a unique cruise vacation.
While not all cruise lines have based their headquarters in Miami, many of them still offer a variety of itineraries from the busy port. Prospective passengers should speak with a travel agent about departure options from Miami.
Most cruises departing from the Port of Miami are bound for tropical destinations, including eastern, southern, and western Caribbean sailings as well as voyages to the Bahamas, Mexico, and other popular destinations. Cruise lengths vary by line, and voyages from three days to over two weeks commonly depart from Miami. Specific ports of call also vary, though Key West, Nassau, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica are popular destinations for many lines, as well as the cruise lines' private islands.
While in the city, many cruise travelers opt to sightsee around Miami. Many multicultural influences can be see, particularly Latin and Caribbean themes. Shopping - from standard malls to kitschy boutiques - abounds, as do nightclubs, attractions, and of course, beaches. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Miami is the South Beach Art Deco district, a square mile of colorful architecture with a 1920s and 1930s retro style just a few blocks from the port.
There are abundant hotels in Miami, from upscale resorts to economy lodgings. Hotels within a few miles of the port may offer shuttle service, though the prices are often significantly higher.
Getting to the Port of Miami
Passengers flying into Miami's international airport can easily catch a taxi or shuttle bus to the port, which is less than ten miles from the airport. Arriving by car, passengers will be allowed to park at the port for approximately $12 per night of the cruise (fees can vary - it is wise to call the port prior to arrival for current information). Parking lots are uncovered and face the port terminals, and arriving passengers will be directed to the appropriate lot by signs and attendants. Each cruise terminal is separated to minimize confusion, and once at the port there are porters to help with luggage handling. Because thousands of passengers may be sailing on the same day with different lines, it is best to arrive at the port as early as possible.
The Port of Miami is located at 1015 N. America Way on Dodge Island (across a bridge); passengers can visit nearby islands for stunning pictures of docked ships. The telephone number is (305) 371-7678, or visit the website at www.miamidade.gov/portofmiami.