Alt Text!

Guide to cruises from Miami

In:
05 Jan 2022
By: 
Jenna DeLaurentis

Miami is the busiest cruise port in the world and is home to some of Royal Caribbean’s newest and most popular ships. As the hub of the cruising industry, Miami is a convenient port option for those looking for various options of ships and itineraries.

Royal Caribbean sails year round from the Port of Miami, officially known as PortMiami, and offers primarily Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean cruises. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or are planning your first cruise vacation, here is what you need to know when sailing from PortMiami.

How to get to the Port of Miami

Royal Caribbean opened Terminal A, a brand new, 170,000 square foot terminal at the Port of Miami, in 2018. Nicknamed the “Crown of Miami” due to its unique shape, Terminal A is where all Royal Caribbean cruise passengers will depart from when sailing out of Miami.

PortMiami is located on its own island, Dodge Island, just east of downtown Miami. The address of Terminal A at PortMiami is Dodge Island, 1015 N. America Way, Miami, FL 33132.

Whether you fly or drive to Miami, make sure to arrive the day before your cruise (or earlier if you plan to explore the area). 

Flying to Miami

Passengers arriving by air have two main airport options.

Miami International Airport (MIA) is the closest airport to the Port of Miami. This is the most convenient option for travelers, as the airport is located just a fifteen minute drive away from the port.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is another airport option if you are sailing out of Miami. The airport is around a 45 minute drive away from the port, but could be longer depending on traffic conditions.
We recommend choosing Miami International Airport due to its proximity to the port. Whether upon arrival or catching your return flight after the cruise, flying out of MIA is less of a hassle than traveling to and from Fort Lauderdale.

As the terminal is located on an island, the simplest way to get from the airport or a hotel to the port is through a ride sharing app, such as Uber or Lyft, or a taxi.

Driving Directions

If you are driving to PortMiami, there are a few different options to choose from.

From the north, via I-95:

  • Take I-95 South to Exit 2D toward I-395 E/Miami Beach. 
  • Merge onto MacArthur Causeway. 
  • Use the left 2 lanes to take the exit towards Port of Miami Tunnel and follow the signs for your pier terminal.

From Miami International Airport (7 miles):

  • Via Port Tunnel: Take 836 East through the toll. 
  • Continue onto FL836 E/I-395 E, then keep right to merge onto MacArthur Causeway.  
  • Use the left 2 lanes to take the exit towards Port of Miami Tunnel and follow the signs to your pier terminal. 
  • Via Port Bridge: Take 836 East through the toll.    
  • Exit at US1 N.E. 2nd Avenue/Biscayne Boulevard, proceed straight through one light, and then turn right at the second light onto Biscayne Boulevard (US1). 
  • Stay in your left-hand lane and turn left into the Port of Miami on N.E. 5th Street. 
  • Drive across the bridge and follow signs to your pier terminal. 

 

From Ft. Lauderdale International (26 miles):

  • Via Port Tunnel: Take I-95 South to Exit 2D toward I-395 E/Miami Beach. 
  • Merge onto MacArthur Causeway. 
  • Use the left 2 lanes to take the exit towards Port of Miami Tunnel and follow the signs for your pier terminal.
  • Via Port Bridge: Take I-95 South to Exit 3B, N.W. 8th Street. 
  • Turn left onto 5th Street and continue straight until you reach the Port of Miami entrance. 
  • Drive across the bridge and follow signs to your pier terminal. 
  • Get on FL-836 E in Miami from Departures, NW 21st St and Exists 2-3-4

Parking

For those driving, parking is available at the Port of Miami at a rate of $25.00 per day for regular sized vehicles. There are both multi-level parking garages or open-air parking lots available. Oversized vehicles will incur an additional fee and are only able to park in Lot #2, which is adjacent to Terminal E.

There are independently-owned lots with lower daily rates located a few miles away. However, the official parking at PortMiami is the most convenient parking option as it is located adjacent to the terminal. No taxis or rideshares are needed when parking in the official lots, and there are free shuttles available to quickly take you from the parking area to the cruise terminal.

Parking rates are payable by cash, credit card, or traveler’s check. It is important to note that debit cards are not accepted as a form of payment.

Where to stay the night before your cruise

One of our most important pieces of advice when planning a cruise is to fly in the night before your cruise departs. This gives a time buffer in case of any travel delays that may occur as you make your way to Miami.

There are no shortages of hotels and places to stay in Miami the night before your cruise. Most passengers will opt to book a room in downtown Miami, many of which offer views of the ocean and cruise terminal.

We have written several detailed reviews of hotels in the Miami area, and RoyalCaribbeanBlog readers have also offered their hotel recommendations. Keep in mind that these are recommendations, so we cannot guarantee that your experience will be the same as someone else’s.

Hotel Recommendations:

Intercontinental Miami

Holiday Inn Port of Miami-Downtown

DoubleTree by Hilton-Grand Biscayne Bay

Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Midtown

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Miami Airport East (near Miami International Airport)

You can find more hotel recommendations and other tips for your next cruise from our readers on the RoyalCaribbeanBlog message boards.

Several hotels offer shuttle service to the cruise terminal. However, we recommend against using a shuttle service and instead opting for a taxi or rideshare. Using a shuttle service means that you are tied down to the shuttle’s schedule instead of your own. Taking an Uber, Lyft, or taxi gives you complete flexibility on the time you travel to the terminal.

Which Royal Caribbean ships sail from the Port of Miami

Freedom of the Seas calls PortMiami home and offers 2, 3, and 4-night Caribbean sailings. Her 2-night sailings visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, while the 3 and 4-night sailings visit both Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau. The 4-night sailings also include a sea day.

Jewel of the Seas will sail from Miami until April 2022, offering 5, 6, and 8-night Western and Eastern Caribbean sailings, visiting ports including Cozumel, Puerto Costa Maya, Bimini, Nassau, Belize City, Antigua, Puerto Plata, and San Juan.

Oasis of the Seas will sail from Miami until June 2022, offering 3, 4, and 7-night sailings visiting ports in the Western and Eastern Caribbean, including Perfect Day at CocoCay. After the summer season sailing from Cape Liberty, she will return to Miami to restart cruises in November 2022.

Oasis of the Seas will also offer a 10-night Eastern Caribbean Holiday sailing in January 2023, visiting St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten.

Grandeur of the Seas will begin sailing from PortMiami in November 2022, offering 9-night Southern Caribbean sailings visiting destinations including Puerto Plata, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee. 

Grandeur of the Seas will also offer shorter, 5-night Western Caribbean cruises, with most sailings visiting Key West and Labadee.

Explorer of the Seas will begin sailing from Miami in late April 2022 and will offer primarily 6 and 8-night Western and Southern Caribbean cruises, along with one 5-night and one 9-night sailing. There are two options for 6-night sailings. The first will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, Jamaica, and Labadee. The second will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay, Jamaica, and George Town, Grand Cayman.

There are also two options for 8-night Southern Caribbean sailings, visiting Labadee, La Romana, Willemstad, Curacao, Oranjestad, Aruba, and Kralendijk, Bonaire.

Symphony of the Seas has called Miami home since its inaugural sailing in 2018, and she will continue to sail from Miami in 2022 and 2023. While Symphony of the Seas will offer two 8-night cruises, the majority of her sailings are 7-night Eastern or Western Caribbean cruises with a stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Depending on the sailing, Symphony of the Seas will visit Puerto Costa Maya, Roatan, Cozumel, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Labadee, and San Juan. Each sailing will visit Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Harmony of the Seas will be sailing from Miami starting in March 2023, offering 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises that include a stop at Perfect Day at CocoCay. Other than CocoCay, Harmony of the Seas will visit St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Costa Maya, Roatan, and Cozumel, depending on the sailing.

What time should I schedule my flight home after my cruise from Miami?

One mistake some cruise passengers make is scheduling their flight home too early or too late on disembarkation day. Rushing to the airport to catch an early flight can be stressful, whereas waiting at the airport all day for a late flight is also not ideal.

Here are some things to consider when selecting a flight home:

  • Are you flying from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale?
  • What time will the ship arrive in port, and what time will disembarkation begin?
  • What time of day will you be traveling to the airport?

It can be tempting to select an early flight on disembarkation day. After all, you may look at your itinerary and see that you arrive in Miami at 6AM. However, the time that a ship arrives in port and the time that passengers actually begin disembarking is not the same. A good estimate is to assume you will get off the ship around two hours after the ship’s scheduled arrival time.

Therefore, when cruising from Miami, we recommend booking a flight no earlier than 11:30AM for flights out of Miami International Airport and no earlier than 12PM for flights leaving Ft. Lauderdale. Doing so will give you a little wiggle room in case of any unexpected delays.