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Car Rental Shuttles to and from Terminal A, Miami


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Since this topic seems to come up every so often, I thought I would provide a little insight with a recent example.

We are currently on a B2B on NAV (3 night + 4 night).  On turnaround day we had some business to conduct and since there were going to be a few stops along the way, we decided that rather than Uber or taxi (as we had done in the past), we would use a “free” rental day from National.  This gave us the latitude to conduct multiple stops without the time, pain and expense of hiring numerous rides.

Let me offer some sage advice for anyone who wants to try this.  MAKE ARRANGEMENTS BEFORE YOU LEAVE.  This brilliant plan only occurred to me on day 2 of the 3 day cruise and I have to admit that trying to research this onboard was a grand PITA. It would have taken maybe all of 5 minutes to do from home but was a major ordeal using the fabulous NAV Voom.  The primary problem for me was that, while I felt very confident that I could get a shuttle to take me back to the ship once I was done running around Miami, I had no confidence whatsoever that I would be able to get one from the port at 9:00 to take me TO the rental agency. Trust me when I say that nothing online was helpful in the least to getting my question answered.  In the end, we figured that the worst that could happen would be that we would have to Uber from the port over to the airport so we moved forward with our plan.

Online, I was able to log into my National account and reserve a midsize car using one of my (many) free days.  I received multiple confirmations on this reservation so I was confident that all was well at least with the reservation.

Once turnaround day came, we went by Guest Services to relieve our new Sea Pass cards, disembarked, went through the facial recognition scan and made our way towards the Terminal pick up area.  I held my breath as I asked one of the agents standing about, “can you direct me to the rental car shuttle bus area ?”  The agent directed me to cross the street and go all the way “left”.  To our amazement and relief, there was the National, Enterprise and Alamo bus just waiting for us !  Yippee !!!  As we stepped onto the bus the driver asked to see our reservation, which I had readily visible on my phone.  I am assuming they are precluding scoundrels who would try and cop a free ride to the airport.  After a very short wait we were off to the airport.  At this point I felt all would be ok...this was the part of the plan that was tenuous, for me. While I did not stop and take notice, I assume that other rental car agencies had shuttle busses at the terminal as well.

We were able to find a vehicle we were happy with (my only requirement was for an integrated GPS which was fairly easy to accommodate), a brand new red Range Rover.  First time in one, ever !  We easily found our way to the stops we needed to make (I had research addresses that we needed to find while still onboard)  and were back with the rental car in less than 1 hour.  Shortest car rental in history !  The total cost for this entire adventure was $28.47 with $10 of that being for bus driver tips !  There were some taxes and whatnot associated with the “free” rental day.

We were back on board by 11:45, just in time for our turnaround day lunch at Jamie’s.

So...bottom line...yes, there are free rental car shuttles at a Terminal A in Miami that will take you round trip, if necessary. NOTE:  I assume, but do not know for sure, that once the ships sail out of port for the day (e.g., around 5:00 ?) that these shuttles stop running.  If there are no more customers to pick up/deliver then there would be no point.

 

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When I rented from Alamo in December we shuttled from the port to the rental car center at MIA but they didn't offer the service from the airport to the ship (I asked).  We debarked, rented a car and went to Key West for a few days.  

We weren't going back to the ship but I asked about the shuttle to the ship for future reference.  I guess they figure there aren't a lot of people renting cars, returning them and heading to the ship versus folks trying to use them as a free shuttle to reach the ship.

Debarking passengers wind down starting at 11am for most cruises so there would be little point with shuttles running past noon.

On one hand the busses actually go that way to pickup passengers so it seemed to be a policy thing.  Maybe they've updated their policy.  Or maybe you got lucky since the shuttles were still running.

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The location to get the shuttle to the port is up on the 4th level.  They will want to see a receipt from you car rental but the driver barely glanced at it.  I asked if he was going to the PoM just make sure.   He was.  They stop at all of the port terminals but they start at Terminal A so we were the first stop,  yippee !

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