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I'm a driver for Uber and Lyft — here are the top things riders should know for getting to their cruise ship

04 Jul 2023
Elizabeth Wright

With over 4 million passengers sailing from Port Canaveral each year, there is no wonder that it was recently designated as the busiest cruise port in the world, effectively stealing the title from Miami. 

Uber driver

Unlike the latter, though, Port Canaveral is not located close to a major international airport. Orlando International Airport (MCO) is located about 45 miles from the cruise port, whereas Miami International Airport (MIA) is less than 10 miles away. 

This means that transportation to Port Canaveral requires a little bit more time and money. 

RelatedHow to get to Port Canaveral for your Royal Caribbean cruise

Currently, Royal Caribbean has three ships deployed out of Port Canaveral: Independence, Mariner, and Wonder of the Seas. Between now and April 2025, though, a total of seven ships will call Port Canaveral their home, including the brand-new Utopia of the Seas, which will operate 3- and 4-night cruises to Nassau and Perfect Day at CocoCay

Utopia of the Seas concept art

Keith Grice is a retired Fire Chief and Paramedic who has lived in Brevard County for 35 years. During the summer of 2022, he began working as a ride share driver, focusing on transporting guests from MCO, as well as Melbourne Orlando International Airport (MLB), to Port Canaveral. He also does private rides since his vehicle meets the standards for Uber Black. 

When he and his wife cruise, they stick with Royal Caribbean and currently hold Emerald status through the Crown & Anchor loyalty program. He is looking forward to his European sailing on Odyssey of the Seas in 2024.  

Here is his advice for riders who are flying into the Orlando area and are weighing their transportation options. 

How to secure the best (i.e., least crowded and lowest priced) ride share from Port Canaveral


The earlier you get off of the ship, the lower your fare will be due to the abundance of ride share drivers waiting outside of the port. 

Grice gave the follow prices (keep in mind that they are an estimate) for rides that commence prior to 9:00am: 

  • Uber X - $74.00 for up to 4 people
  • Uber XL - $105.00 for up to 6 people
  • Uber Comfort - $90.00 minimum for 4 people

Note that Uber Black is not available for passengers leaving Port Canaveral, but you can order an Uber Black ride from MCO to the port for approximately $145.00.

Moreover, these prices are estimates for rides that begin at Terminal 1 in Port Canaveral and conclude at MCO's Terminal B. 


Another way to save money is to buddy up with other travelers. If, for instance, you have friends or family members heading to the airport at the same time, order an XL car and split the costs, rather than ordering two X rides. 

Related8 reasons to get off your ship as early as possible on disembarkation day

How to decide what to tip


Per Grice, if the driver is friendly and actively helps to load your luggage into the nicely maintained vehicle (i.e., clean, no smells, etc.), 15-20% is ideal. 

"Like every service job," he said, "it can go down easily from there and up if the situation dictates." 

Additionally, drivers prefer to be tipped in cash. If, however, that is not an option, you can easily leave a tip through the mobile app. 

Is there a way to make getting picked up easier?


It is no surprise that the pickup areas located near the terminal are subject to crowds during disembarkation. To help your driver, you should turn the location option on. This way, they will be able to see your exact location. 

Additionally, it is helpful when you text your driver a descriptive location of where you are standing. Are you located near a large concrete column or sign? Plus, you can let them know what you are wearing. Grice suggests wearing brightly colored clothing. It is easier for them to spot someone wearing a bright green t-shirt than someone wearing navy!

When you see that they are approaching, do not be afraid to wave them down to get their attention. This helps them single you out amongst a sea of other individuals trying to find their drivers. 


"With so many people in a tight area," said Grice, "the drivers need help." 

These are things that will help them locate you in as timely of a manner as possible. 

Are ride share apps safe methods of transportation? 


Absolutely! The Port Authority requires that all ride share drivers be registered with the port in order to be eligible to pick up passengers. 

They have enforcement officers that roam the waiting lots and pickup areas in search of unregistered drivers. 

"Routinely, these same drivers try and solicit cash rides in the middle of the pick up area's, and the authorities work hard at running them off and issuing trespass tickets," remarks Grice.


"We have seen, on occasion, the authorities...catch them and force passengers out of the vehicles and order the driver to cancel."

As always, before getting into a vehicle, make sure you check the license plate and have the driver confirm your name. 

Common mistakes cruisers make when getting to and from Port Canaveral


Shuttles are an inconvenient mode of transportation. While the cost is similar when it is a single couple traveling, you will be subject to making multiple stops before reaching your destination. A ride share is much more comfortable and will take you directly to your final destination, whether that is the airport or cruise terminal. 

GoPort is a popular company that provides shuttle transportation between MCO and Port Canaveral. Per their website, pricing starts at $29.99 per person.


This means that if you have a family of four, you will be paying close to $120 per way for a shuttle. You will also be subject to their terms and conditions, which state that all shared shuttles operate on a first-come, first-served basis and will depart when only they are filled.

Grice also suggests to price out flights to and from MLB. While this airport is not as large as MCO, they do have a decent number of daily flights. Plus, hotels in this area are cheaper than those found by MCO, and the airport is only a little over 25 miles from the port.

Since it is a smaller airport, you will not have to worry about dealing with MCO's security, either. 

RelatedBest hotels near Port Canaveral before the cruise

Elizabeth graduated from New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute with her M.A. in Journalism in May 2023. Growing up, she had the privilege of traveling frequently with her family and fell in love with cruising after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas her freshman year of high school. She wanted to pursue a career that highlighted her passion for travel and strengths as a writer. 

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