Planning a cruise from Port Everglades Terminal in Southeast Florida? You might appreciate a “virtual” look around and a few tips on what to expect before you visit this busy cruise port in Fort Lauderdale.
We’ll walk you through it step-by-step so you know where everything is, what facilities are available, and what happens during your cruise boarding and disembarkation at the Port Everglades Terminal. It’s always reassuring to know a few facts and tips before you arrive in Fort Lauderdale for your exciting Port Everglades cruise.
1. How to Get to Port Everglades Cruise Terminals
Port Everglades Terminal is 4 miles south of Fort Lauderdale city centre and just 3 miles east of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport (FLL). The port can easily be reached via the I-595, I-95, I-75, US1 and Florida Turnpike (Exit 54 to I-595 east).
There are three entrances to Port Everglades:
- From I-595 East (south side of the port)
- From SR-84 and S. Andrews Ave (middle of port)
- SE 17th St Causeway (north side of the port)
2. Port Everglades Terminal Address and Location
Port Everglades cruise terminal is located at:
1850 Eller Drive
Fort Lauderdale FL33316
Tel: (954) 523-3404
You can check out the official Port Everglades map and terminal locations here.
Every year, almost 4 million passengers pass through Port Everglades which has nine modern air-conditioned cruise terminals, mostly around the north and middle of the port.
- Terminal 1 – 71,330 sq.ft. mainly used for ferry services
- Terminal 2 – 85,504 sq.ft. primarily used by Princess Cruises. It has 24 check-in stations, 2 elevators and 3 escalators.
- Terminal 4 – 140,000 sq.ft. 50 check-in stations, 2 elevators and 2 escalators.
- Terminal 18 – 259,370 sq.ft. 90 check-in stations, 6 elevators and 7 escalators.
- Terminal 19 – 95,000 sq.ft. 50 check-in stations, 2 elevators and 2 escalators
- Terminal 21 – 138,700 sq.ft. 50 check-in stations, 4 elevators and 4 escalators
- Terminal 25 – under renovation
- Terminal 26 – 115,518 sq.ft. 4 elevators and 4 escalators
- Terminal 29 – 80,200 sq.ft. 50 check-in stations, 2 elevators and 1 escaltor.
These Port Everglades terminals serve 10 cruise lines:
Carnival, Celebrity, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Pearl Seas Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Silversea Cruises.
3. Arriving at Port Everglades Terminal
You’ll probably arrive at Port Everglades Terminal by taxi or by shuttle bus from one of the nearby car parking facilities serving Port Everglades. There is strict security at the entrance to the port.
You will have to show an official photo ID (such as your passport or driving license) and proof of your cruise booking either prior to boarding the cruise shuttle bus or at the entrance to Port Everglades terminal.
Your taxi/shuttle bus will drop you right outside your cruise ship, so check the ship’s name. It can be a very long walk if you are dropped off at the wrong cruise ship!
Your heavy luggage should be handed over to a curbside porter or crew who will be responsible for loading all baggage onto the ship, scanning it for security, and delivering it to your cabin door.
Keep your hand luggage with you, including:
- Jewelry and valuables
- Fragile items
- Money and credit cards
- Cell phone and electronics
- Passports and visas
- Cruise paperwork
- A change of clothes if you want to head to the pool and deck before your cabin is available
- Sunglasses/sun lotion
- Book, magazine or e-reader
Make sure that every suitcase/bag has a label that clearly shows your cabin number.
Tip! For added security, put your name, address, contact details, ship and cabin number on a piece of paper inside your suitcase too, just in case the luggage tag gets torn off your bag during loading.
5. Security and check-in
Once you have handed over your baggage, you can join the line to board the ship. Inside Port Everglades Terminal there is security screening for you and your hand luggage.
Follow the signs to cruise check-in where a long counter of cruise staff will welcome you (just like at airport check-in). There are separate lines for upgraded staterooms, regular cruises with high loyalty status, and for those with physical disabilities and/or wheelchairs.
At check-in, cruise staff will need to see your passport, visas (including ESTA) and your cruise booking information and number. They will also ask you some security questions. As with airports, you cannot board the cruise ship with any firearms, knives, explosives, flammable liquids, illegal drugs etc.
In addition, cruise ships will confiscate any alcohol (some exceptions may apply depending on the cruise line), electric irons, tea kettles, hot plates and certain other items that are deemed to endanger yourself, other passengers or the ship itself.
During the check-in process you will need to provide a credit card and have a photograph taken which will be added to your sea pass. This electronic card shows your name, cabin number and photo and is used for all on-board purchases, restaurant reservations, show bookings and for accessing your stateroom.
It is also required for powering the lights in your stateroom by placing it in the holder by your stateroom door whenever you enter.
Tip! Many people purchases a neck chain/pass holder to keep their sea pass safe yet available throughout their cruise.
Once you are checked in you can proceed to the ship via a series of elevators and covered walkways. A ship’s photographer will be hanging out in the Port Everglades cruise terminal ready to take a souvenir photograph or you and your party (the first of many!).
As you board the ship, your newly issued sea pass will be scanned by staff to show you are on-board.
6. Port Everglades Terminal Amenities
If you arrive early at Port Everglades Terminal, or if there is a long line waiting to check in, you may want to know what amenities are available at this modern cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale.
There are plenty of seats to accommodate cruisers, so you can sit and relax with your hand luggage, if necessary, prior to boarding. The terminal has free Wi-Fi and vending machines for snacks and drinks.
There are restrooms on both levels at Port Everglades terminal so look for signs.
7. What Time Should You Arrive at the Terminal?
Boarding usually begins about 4-5 hours before sailing, so ideally you should plan to arrive at Port Everglades terminal at least 2-3 hours before your cruise departs. Your travel agent or booking information usually gives you a window of time for check-in and embarkation.
As a guideline, most cruises depart late afternoon and check-in starts around lunchtime. Cruise lines request that passengers board at least two hours before sailing.
Remember, your cruise ship has to process up to 4,000 passengers plus any crew joining the ship at Port Everglades terminal. Check-in, security and the general embarkation process can take at least an hour during the busiest time, so you definitely don’t want to arrive at the last minute for your cruise departure.
Your cabin will not be ready until it has been cleaned so you may have to hang around with your hand luggage. However, once on-board, you can fill the time before sailing by enjoying a welcome cocktail or drinks by the pool, a buffet lunch and a stroll around the ship getting acquainted with the various different decks, bars, restaurants and places to hang out.
Worth Reading: What You Should Know About Cruise Port Cancellations
The Spa usually welcomes guests with a tour of the treatment rooms and often has a prize draw and promotions for early bookings for hair, nails, massages and other spa therapies.
The library is another good place to head for and pick up some books, crossword puzzles. Sudoku etc.
Specialty restaurants have display tables around the ship with sample menus, drinks packages and the chance to speak with staff.
Shops and some lounge bars may not open until after sailing, but you can usually get drinks on the pool deck or from the buffet restaurant.
8. Disabled/ADA Facilities
Port Everglades cruise terminal does not have wheelchairs available. However, you can usually pre-arrange to rent electric mobility scooters for the duration of your cruise.
You should contact your cruise line or travel agent ahead of time and make arrangements to secure whatever equipment and special assistance you may need for embarkation, disembarkation and the cruise itself.
9. Disembarkation at the Port
Hopefully, you will return to Port Everglades cruise terminal relaxed and refreshed after a fabulous cruise. The disembarkation process is highly organized to ensure up to 4,000 passengers and their luggage are despatched to the airport, hotels and car parks in a smooth and efficient way before another set of cruisers arrive and check in.
On the penultimate day of your cruise, before arriving in Port Everglades you will be given a colored ticket showing your allocated meeting point on the ship, and your disembarkation time.
On the day of departure, when your group is called, follow the signs to the gangway/exit. As you leave the ship, your sea pass will be scanned one final time and your access card will then be invalid.
Related: Disembarking Cruise Ship Tips
All baggage is laid out in a huge undercover building in groups, according to the color of your disembarkation ticket. Once you have located your baggage, call a porter who will load it onto a hand truck. You can, of course, carry or tow your bags to the exit yourself.
Tip! If you use a porter to transport your luggage, they use a priority exit line for expedited immigration. It’s well worth paying the tip to save waiting in a long line to leave the terminal!
Head to the security desks where you will need to show your passport and any visa/ESTA. You will also need to hand in a customs form, pay any applicable duty on cruise purchases, and answer questions regarding fruit, plants, seeds, food and other items prohibited by US Customs and Border Protection.
There is now a downloadable Mobile Passport App for passengers disembarking a cruise ship to complete their customs declaration online. It reduces paperwork and speeds up the security clearance process.
Tip! Drivers who are picking up cruise passengers by car after disembarkation can wait in the cell phone lot without charge until being called to pick up passengers from outside the terminal building. The waiting areas are at 1850 Eller Drive, just past the security checkpoint at the I-595 entrance to the Port, and at the parking lot north of Cruise Terminal 18.
10. Facts About Port Everglades Terminal for Cruisers
- Port Everglades is the third busiest cruise port in the world after Miami and Port Canaveral.
- It processes almost 4 million cruise passengers every year (3.8 million passengers in 2018).
- Port Everglades serves 10 cruise lines plus the Balearia Bahamas Express. It is home port to 40 cruise ships.
- In 2017, Port Everglades received 846 ship calls.
- In March 2016, Port Everglades terminals broke the Guinness World Record for processing the most cruise passengers in and out of port in one day (55,885). These cruisers were all sailing on the following 8 cruise ships:
Carnival Conquest, Celebrity Silhouette, Holland America’s Eurodam, Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam, Princess’ Regal Princess, Princess’ Royal Princess, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas and Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas.
- Fort Lauderdale city center is 4 miles north of Port Everglades
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport (FLL) is just 3 miles from Port Everglades
- You can park at Port Everglades terminal for $15 per day – but you need to book ahead
- Port Everglades awards include – “2016 Best Domestic Port” by Porthole Cruise Magazine
- According to Cruise Insight Port Everglades is “2016 Best Turnaround Homeport”
- Port Everglades received the award “2016 Favorite U.S. Embarkation Port” by Cruise Chat Birdie Awards
- Terminal 4 at Port Everglades received LEED certification for its energy-efficiency and use of recycled materials during construction
According to statistics 62% of cruise passengers choose to stay in a hotel the night before their cruise and 21% enjoy a post-cruise stay so you might find the following article useful.