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NorCalJL

Best Port to Sail out of for Caribbean & Bahamas itineraries

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Hi RCLBlog group! 

 

I recently sailed on Independence of The Seas to the Eastern Caribbean (Aug 2nd), which sailed out of Port Lauderdale, Port Everglades. 

Wow, I feel like we were spoiled,we had a great experience sailing from that port! 

 

We live in San Francisco so flying is required for cruises to the Caribbean & Bahamas. I prefer flying in 1 day in advanced and staying at a nearby hotel before the cruise. 

 

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on 17th ave, and man the logistics for getting on the cruise were great. The hotel has a free shuttle from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood as well. The hotels partners with a 3rd party company who will pick you up at the hotel and drive you to the port, a 10-15 minute drive, and $8/per person. 

 

We booked a cruise on Freedom of the Seas, July 2016, which will depart from Port Canaveral. However, I am considering re-booking on another cruise that departs from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) because the experience was so great and easy.

 

Can you tell me your experiences with sailing out of Miami and Port Canaveral?

 

Thanks!

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Miami is a busy port and a bit farther from the airport, but I've never had any troubles getting from my airport hotel to the port or back. And once you're in the port, all ships have their own terminal building anyways.

 

Port Canaceral is about 45-60 minutes from the airport, but getting on and off the ship is quite easy. I've heard raves about the new terminal. Personally, I like the Orlando airport and rental cars are cheap there as are hotels. It's also a great place for a pre or post cruise visit.

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Port Canaveral is a great port to cruise from - easier than many and they have just expanded it to house

more RCI ships and will have Oasis there next year which would be a great ship to choose for a sailing

Very close by hotels in Cape Canaveral and some fun places to eat and a nice beach area as well.

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We had a real easy time in Canaveral. Stayed at the Radisson (affordable), lots of stuff around with a shuttle included, descent pool too. Good eats in the area.

If you have the time to go another day earlier, the Kennedy Space Center is amazing. It took us a full day to do some launch pad tours and check out the exhibits, Atlantis was super cool. Even if your not that into space it's a must IMO. We rented a car for cheap a short walk from the hotel but there may be easier ways to get there.

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Canaveral is my favorite port out of the Florida ones so far.

 

We live in Tampa so we have tried all but Miami.

 

Tampa is obviously the most convenient and is pretty easy in and out, but limited to the smaller ships :(

Canaveral is very easy to get in and out of, not a lot of other things there except hotels and restaurants on the beach front and then Kennedy Space Center nearby.

Lauderdale is also pretty good, longer drive for us (not relevant to you) and it is in a much busier "area". More traffic but generally still an easy in and out. Have had to do shuttle buses between terminal and parking on occasion as well.

Miami from all I have heard is the "worst" port in Florida, will be trying it out at Springbreak.

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I have done P.C. many times. While it is a bit of a drive from the airport to the port, there are lots of shuttles and hotel/shuttle packages. And based on my research, its cheaper option than Fort Lauderdale or Miami for the hotels. 

 

Its a very quick and easy process in and out of the Terminal there as well.

 

I like Tampa as its just a short cab ride from the airport or hotel to the port which is a bonus.

 

I am doing Miami in Nov and FLL in Jan, so I will have first hand experience of all the ports in Florida that RCI cruises out of and will be able to decide from there.

 

The hotel prices out of FLL are just absurd from what I have seen and would make me not want to book out of that area unless I absolutely had to.

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The new terminal at Canaveral is very nice. There are some nice restaurants near the terminal and it is a very easy in and out.

 

The only complaint I have about that new terminal is that the new traffic area where the busses drop off is so narrow that the busses stick out into the traffic lane and cause congestion. I don't know why they didn't make that lane just a little bit wider so that the busses do not stick out into the driving lane. It isn't a big problem it just seems like a design flaw that could have been easily avoided.

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Airfare also tends to be cheaper into Orlando than FLL or MIA, at least from the west coast.

 

I've sailed out of Miami a handful of times using the rental car bus to get there or other shuttle service and taxi on return. I haven't had any major issues except at the airport. If you aren't one of the first off, expect long lines. Remember, Miami is the busiest cruise port in the world, but they've also made improvements to minimize that impact. Also, the cruise lines would abandon the port of the port satisfaction surveys showed guests had bad experiences or didn't like it.

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