The Port of Miami - Orlando / Florida Guide
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Miami is often called the 'Cruise Capital of the World' and rightly so, as it is ranked 8th in the USA's leading seaports. At least 18 cruise ships and nearly 4 million passengers used the port in 2005, and it is expanding all the time. Many people now combine a stay in Orlando with a Caribbean cruise from Florida, and you are more than likely to embark from the Port of Miami.
The Port of Miami is home to many cruise lines, including Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Crystal, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, Oceania Cruises and Windjammer Barefoot Cruises. It has the largest state-of-the-art passenger terminals in Florida, and it is preparing for the next, and even larger, generation of cruise ships. Already home to huge ships such as Explorer of the Seas, it will soon welcome the arrival of Royal Caribbean International’s newest mega liner, the 160,000 ton, Freedom of the Seas, which enters service in June, 2006.
The new mega liners are so large that they have necessitated the remodeling of two existing buildings, and the building of two new huge terminals for embarkation and disembarkation. You cannot miss these new terminals, which dominate the skyline as you approach the dockside. These terminals have three level facilities, which include airline style check in desks, covered walkways which lead directly into the ships, airport style conveyor baggage systems and state of the art security. All baggage is scanned, and security is a priority. For those of us who are not US citizens, part of the embarkation process will be to have your finger prints scanned, and your photograph taken.
Another ‘first’ for the Port of Miami is the introduction of a Customs and Border Protection Facility. This combines the former functions of the US Customs, US Immigration and the US Department of Agriculture and provides disembarking passengers with all these functions in a single location. Every effort has been made to provide facilities which will speed up embarkation and disembarkation, and make the process as quick and efficient as possible for the passengers.
There are many ways to get to the port. If you have hired a car then you can return it whilst you are on your cruise, and save the cost of rental. The major car hire depots are situated close to Miami International Airport, and many offer a free shuttle to the port, once you have dropped off your car. If you fly in, then you can pick up a taxi to speed you to the port for approximately $20. However, if you drive down to Miami then you can park your car for the duration of your cruise vacation. Parking has been catered for, with additional parking facilities at the port. A new 1,100 vehicle garage has been completed near Terminal 5, and 1,350 parking spaces have been provided near Terminals 8 and 9. AS well as this 1,000 ground-level parking spaces have been added at the two new cruise terminals. If you wish to leave your car during your cruise the daily cost is $12.
However, we find it a good idea to overnight in a hotel, to ensure that you do not ‘miss the boat!’ Some airport hotels provide a free shuttle to the port, or you can get a taxi for roughly $20-25. There are many hotels in the vicinity of the airport, and if you arrive a day early, then you can relax in the knowledge that you can arrive at the port the next day with plenty of time to spare.
The Port of Miami is a vibrant port which provides a stunning start to any cruise. Its facilities are second to none, and in 2005 it was awarded the Dream World Cruise Destinations Award for ‘Best Turnaround Port Operations and Most Efficient Terminal Operator. If you should decide to take a cruise out of Miami, you cannot help but be impressed with the passenger facilities offered.
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