Port Miami is east of downtown, and is accessed via the Port Boulevard Bridge. All major cruise lines dock at the eight terminals.
Arriving by air
Cruise ship passengers fly into one of two airports – Miami International Airport (MIA) 8 miles from port, or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) 24 miles from port. To get from the airports to the cruise port, you have three basic options: 1) hotel transport, shuttle service, or cruise ship shuttle that you prearrange ahead of time, 2) taxi or ride-share service for a flat rate, 3) rental car. For the latter, you can pick up at the airports, but keep in mind the rather steep charge for overnight parking at the port. There are multiple parking garages with security for approximately $20/day.
Arriving by public transit
Cruise ship passengers can reach the Port of Miami via a combination of Amtrak with a short cab or ride-share from the station. Or, you can combine a public bus line ride with a trolley ride to port. The Metrorail Orange Line and Miami Trolley’s Coral Way (free) will get you to the port from MIA.
Arriving by private vehicle
It is recommended that you drop off passengers and luggage at your ship’s terminal prior to parking. Once parked in the garage, you can ride a free shuttle back to the terminal.
When leaving for a cruise, you should arrive no later than two hours prior to launch. Once at the terminal, your cruise line will have a process for security screening and check-in. Generally, they occur in that order and you receive your keycard prior to going on board.
Keep in mind that you may have to wait for a period of time before boarding the ship. Each terminal at Port of Miami has ample seating areas, restrooms, and Wi-Fi. Also, there are several eating establishments in the Port of Miami, and portable food trucks in the area for a last minute meal or snack while you wait.
If you require wheelchair assistance, you must arrange this ahead of time with your cruise line. Also, be aware that you may need to bring your own wheelchair if one is needed for the entire cruise schedule. Be sure to clarify all these details at booking so everyone can fully enjoy the cruise experience.
Finally, I would suggest that you add a layer of fun to your next cruise by arriving several days before departure or staying several days after disembarking. Choose one of many top-rated hotels in the Port of Miami area, and enjoy famous destinations such as Little Havana, South Beach, Coral Gables, and Bayside Marketplace. The latter is an outdoor market with over 100 eateries and just as many shops. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the weather while tasting all the cultural influences of Cuban to Peruvian food. Each of these points of interest are within 10 miles of port, and your hotel will likely offer shuttle service to and from these areas.
For all my fellow map nerds – check out the official visual info on the Port of Miami from Miami Dade.