The port of Miami is one of the most trafficked vacation departure points in Florida. If you’ve already booked your cruise departing from the Miami Cruise Port, then you’re probably looking for plane tickets to get you to the nearest airport as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, as many people discover, the Miami International Airport, conveniently located just 10 miles from the port, is also extremely expensive.
Many travelers will opt to fly into the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) instead. This places them some distance from their departure point at the Port of Miami. Knowing how to make the trek from Fort Lauderdale to Miami is essential to making it to your cruise on time and as cheaply as possible. First, you need to know how much time you have available to spend on this part of the venture and how much money you’re willing to shell out for transport.
This is a comprehensive guide on the types of transportation that are available to you to get you from your airport in Fort Lauderdale to Miami as quickly and cheaply as possible. Depending on the time and money you have to spend, the number of people you’re traveling with, and the accommodations available to you at the time of your vacation, you may need to look into multiple options.
Regardless, transportation between these frequented destinations is a huge industry with a diverse array of options, companies, and price ranges to choose from.
Introduction to Different Transportation Methods
There are many different transportation methods available to get you from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. If you’re coming in by the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), then you’re about 25 miles north of the Port of Miami. Regardless of which of these transportation methods you decide to use, you should plan for more than 45 minutes of commute time between leaving the airport and arriving at your cruise departure.
If you’ve never been to South Florida, you may not realize how its infamous traffic along the route you’ll be taking can slow up your journey. Don’t let a lack of planning make you and your family miss your cruise.
Transport companies recommend allowing at least a 2-hour gap between the time your plane is supposed to land and the time your cruise is supposed to leave.
The good news is that since your journey is an extremely well-traveled route between major tourist arrival and departure points, there are more than enough options in several industries and across many companies to get you to your cruise on time. Additionally, you’ll likely be leaving for your cruise on a weekend when the weekly workers are off the road and the route is much less congested.
Here is a comprehensive guide on each of the main available methods, how much they should cost you, which companies operate these methods along your intended route, and how long you should expect to spend in transit with each one.
Uber/Lyft Ridesharing Services
The number one method recommended by travel agencies to get from the airport in Fort Lauderdale to your departure point in the Port of Miami is by using an accredited ride-hailing service. These companies – such as Uber and Lyft – are your most readily available options for getting you and your family across town.
The airport in Fort Lauderdale has pickup points specifically designed for rideshare services to collect travelers and take them to their destinations. Knowing the frequency of travel between your two destinations, these rideshare companies specifically service that 45-minute route between the airport and the port.
The best thing is that you don’t have to know the area to call a rideshare service or know where to be picked up by one. Uber and Lyft both offer free downloadable apps that go right onto your phone and connect to your credit card. This means that you don’t have to do any calculating or rush to an ATM to get cash for the driver.
Both major ridesharing companies pride themselves on having enough drivers to get you a car in 5 minutes from the time that you “hail” them on the app. The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport offers designated areas for you to wait to be picked up by rideshare drivers as well.
You and your family will be able to just get your bags, pull up the app, and have the car waiting for you when you exit the airport. It couldn’t be easier.
The last major benefit of using a rideshare service is that you don’t have to buy individual transport tickets for every member of your party. Both Uber and Lyft charge you based on the car, not the number of people. This means that for up to 4 passengers, this service will get you from the airport to the port for about $40.
If you have more people than that, you can rent a roomier car for more money. Regardless, it’s tied directly into your credit card, right on your phone, and takes only one car to get you and your family to your departure point at a reasonable price.
There’s a reason that travel agencies recommend this as the transport of choice, for convenience, affordability, and unmatched efficiency.
The more old-fashioned alternative to the ridesharing companies is to call a traditional taxi to pick you up at the airport. For most people, this isn’t the ideal option. Not only are taxi companies out of the loop in terms of the classy efficiency of the rideshare apps, but they also cost more. Expect to pay about $75 each way for a taxi to the port (remember, at the end of all this, you’ll have to get back to the airport for your flight home as well).
Why would you choose a taxi over a rideshare company? There are a few reasons. One is that not everyone is comfortable using the rideshare apps, for various reasons. You may not prefer to use credit cards for purchases over your phone (you may not even have a card to begin with). It’s possible that no one in your party has a working smartphone. It’s also possible depending on the time of day and week that you can’t get ahold of Uber when you need to.
For those who prefer to pay for their vacations in cash and not deal with electronic transactions, traditional taxi services may be the way to go. I know for a fact that my own grandfather would not want to deal with the apps and credit card linking and would rather pay a little more for a cash transaction with a specific driver.
Taxis also may seat an additional person. Whereas rideshare companies offer a default car fit for four, taxis often list their maximum car capacity as five. In that case, your family of five might choose a taxi over the upgraded rideshare vehicle, depending on the cost.
Cruise Line Shuttles
Cruise lines don’t want you to miss your departure – in fact, they would love it if you paid them even more money to get you from your airport to the port. That’s why many of the major cruise lines offer their own shuttles to people who come in by typical airports near the ports that they service.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using a cruise line shuttle to get you and your family from Fort Lauderdale to Miami.
The first major disadvantage is quantifiable: the fact is that these shuttles simply cost way more than a rideshare service. Typical rates offered by cruise lines like Norwegian and Carnival are $25 to $35 a person, both directions. This means that instead of paying that for your whole family, you’ll be paying that per person.
The exact price for Carnival Cruise Line as of writing this is $31.99 per person one-way from Fort Lauderdale International Airport to PortMiami, the details are here.
Still, remember to check each cruise line’s services for their individual pricing: it will vary depending on the time of year and the cruise lines themselves.
Additionally, Uber drivers have the ability to stop along the way if you ask them and make extra stops if you have a ton of time and don’t mind paying a little extra. With a cruise line shuttle service, you don’t have that advantage: they’re a one-shot service from the airport to the port with no deviations.
You may be asking with all this information why anyone would ever use the cruise transfer shuttles over the rideshare services. There are a few possibilities.
One is that the cruise may include this in a package for you or offer you a discount. Check with your travel agent or cruise line representative to see if there’s a way to include this in your package.
The main reasons to choose a cruise line’s shuttle service are comfort and convenience. If you’re going on a cruise, you’re on vacation, or maybe on a honeymoon. You may want to be in luxury the entire time and not fret about paying a rideshare driver or fumbling over cash for a taxicab.
Your cruise shuttle will be serviced by representatives from your cruise line, so you can expect the same level of attention and comfort that you will get on your cruise. Additionally, these shuttles will be there for you when you get back as well, so you don’t have to worry at all about getting to your departure flight on time.
Most importantly, cruise line shuttles are offered by the cruise, which means that there’s no way your boat will leave without you. If you arrive a little late and are worried about the traffic, booking the last available cruise shuttle will allow you to make the transit in peace knowing that no matter how cluttered the roads look, you won’t miss your cruise.
Lastly, if you’re traveling alone, it makes perfect sense to use the cruise line’s shuttle to get from Fort Lauderdale to Miami since the rideshare companies charge you per car. At that point, a ticket on the cruise transfer might actually be the cheaper option.
Independent Shuttle Services
If you have a party that’s too large for the rideshare or taxi services, you’ll probably need a shuttle. Cruise line shuttles aren’t the only available option, however.
Many companies like GO Airport, Metro, and Florida Shuttle Transportation offer shuttles from the airport to the Port of Miami at a much more discounted rate compared to the cruise line transfer services. Expect to pay around $25 per person, though it depends on the service you use and the number of people in your party. Many companies offer discounted rates for more passengers as well.
GO Airport Shuttle is the one specifically used by the Fort Lauderdale airport, so they’ll probably be the one you use. For the discounted rate, you’ll probably end up riding with strangers, but if you don’t mind that then a shared shuttle is going to be a much cheaper alternative to a taxi.
You can also pay an additional fee if you want the car all to yourself. Choosing a company and booking a shuttle to the port shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. Its value just depends on how many people you’re traveling with and whether you’re willing to share the 45-minute ride with strangers.
Public Transportation Systems
Public transportation is offered between Fort Lauderdale and Miami by way of Tri-Rail, the Miami Trolley, and the Metrorail Transfer Station. This is definitely not the most decadent option. It will be a far cry from the comforts and service of the Carnival cruise line designated shuttle service.
However, the good news is that these options are the cheapest by far to get you from your airport to the port, costing around $6-7 per person for the Tri-Rail. Some of these options are even free.
You can take the commuter connector at the Fort Lauderdale Airport and board the train at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport Station at Dania Beach and you can do it for free.
If your party is too large for one taxi or rideshare service, you may want to opt for these commuter rails to take you to the Port of Miami. You’ll save a lot of money in the process.
The catch is that you won’t save any time – quite the opposite, in fact. Remember that two-hour grace period we recommended you give yourself between the time you expect your plane to arrive and the departure time of your cruise? You’ll need more than that if you plan on using the rails to get there.
At top efficiency, these routes will take you upwards to an hour-and-a-half to make the journey and that’s if you know what you’re doing. More than likely, you’ll need directions to the station, you’ll need to get boarding passes for everyone in your party, haul your luggage onto the line, and make the appropriate transfer at the next station.
If you’re familiar with the area or with public transportation, this is definitely the cheapest option. However, for a less stressful commute or one with a significantly shorter turnaround time, you may want to opt for the company services mentioned above.
Private Car Services
If you want to get across town in high style (maybe you’re on your honeymoon and want a little privacy), you can also hire a private car or limo through companies like Family Car & Limo Service and A1 Luxury Limousine.
Worth Reading: What to Know About Miami Cruise Port Car Rental
This will not be the cheapest option and quoted prices will be radically different depending on the service you hire and the accommodations you prefer. However, since you are paying by the car, this could be an option to look into you if you are traveling with friends who can each pitch into the cost of the ride (as opposed to traveling with family).
In that case, it may be relatively cheap to rent a private car and divide the cost of the ride by 4.
If you plan on entering Florida by way of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for your cruise at the Port of Miami or staying at a nearby hotel before your trip, then you’re probably on vacation and don’t want a lot of hassle when it comes to hiring transportation.
This is why knowing the options, price range, variable time schedules, and locations of each available transport service will help you make an informed decision as part of your vacation plan. You don’t want to land at the airport with an hour before your boat leaves and no idea how to get there in time.
The easiest and most recommendable options are those offered by ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. For a fee per car, they provide pickup services directly from the airport, on an efficient schedule and payment system tied directly to your smartphone.
To compete with them, cruise lines and private companies also offer their own shuttle services, which take a little longer and charge per person, but may be preferable options for those traveling in large parties or seeking a little luxury on the way.
Old-fashioned options like traditional taxi cabs and private car rentals are also available, as is a public rail transportation system that takes significantly longer but gives you an incredibly cheap alternative if you plan far enough ahead.
Regardless of how you plan on getting there, traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Miami is perfectly feasible on a budget and in your restricted timeframe. You just have to know the options available to you and the needs of you and your traveling companions on the day of your arrival.
Fort Lauderdale to Miami FAQ:
The Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is a cheaper option for the plane tickets themselves compared to Miami International. It is also near plenty of affordable hotels if you plan on laying over for a night before your cruise the following day.
However, if you fly into Fort Lauderdale, you will need some kind of transportation to get you from the airport to the Port of Miami and this will cost you extra depending on the number of people in your party and the method of transportation you use.
If you use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft to get from the Fort Lauderdale airport to the Port of Miami, you should expect to pay around $35 to $45 each way.
This pricing is based per car, which rideshare services offer for up to four people for one fee. Keep in mind that if you have to pay the upcharge to get the larger car to transport more than four people, it will cost more to hire the service.
Generally, this is considered the most reliable method of transportation from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, especially for the price.
There are several different kinds of shuttles that take passengers from the airport in Fort Lauderdale to the Port of Miami, including those run by private shuttle companies and those offered by the cruise lines themselves.
To get the rates and locations serviced for your particular cruise line, you will have to call them. In general, however, Norwegian and Carnival offer shuttles from Fort Lauderdale to Miami for $25 to $35 per person.
If you opt for a private shuttle company like Eagle Shuttle or Florida Shuttle Transportation, it will probably be a little cheaper. The Fort Lauderdale airport has partnered with one company in particular (GO Airport Shuttle) to provide this service to passengers who want to get from the airport to the port. The shared van has a designated loading area right at the airport and offers rides both ways.
The rate for this shuttle is around $25 a person.
The Fort Lauderdale Airport is around 25 miles north of the Port of Miami. Driving with a service like a private shuttle or Uber driver, you should expect to take at least 45 minutes to make the trip, depending on the traffic that day on South Florida’s infamously congested highways.