How to get to South Florida cruise ports, where to park

“I appreciated your article about parking at the airports. I cut it out and will keep it in my travel papers. Could you please send me the same info for PortMiami, Port of Palm Beach and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale?” — Martin Rudnick, Delray Beach

We South Floridians are lucky to be able to get to cruise ships without having to fly. However, we do face the problem of what to do with our cars if we drive to the port, and alternatively, how to get there hassle-free if we want to avoid driving.

Parking at the ports is expensive. PortMiami charges $22 a day, and the Royal Caribbean Terminal A garage is even more: $25 per day for cruises of six days or more, and $28 per day for cruises of five nights or fewer.

The Port of Palm Beach also charges $22 a day, although they do valet park for you.

At Port Everglades, it’s $15 a day to park on site, or $19 a day for oversized vehicles.

If you’re headed to Port Everglades, here are some on-site parking tips from Ellen Kennedy, the port’s director of external affairs and cruise services.

  • Drop off luggage and passengers at the cruise terminal before parking the car.
  • Take your parking ticket on your cruise so you can pay at the pay station before returning to your car.
  • The port installed automated pay stations this past year. Pay stations are located on the first and third floors of the Palm Garage and the first and fifth floors of the Heron Garage.

There are private lots not far from Port Everglades that charge less than it costs to park on site, and these lots provide shuttle service to the port. Park ‘N Go, 1101 Eller Drive, Fort Lauderdale, charges $13 a day; Park by the Ports, 100 Fronton Blvd., Dania Beach, $7.99 a day; and parking lot, 110 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale, may be the best bet at only $6.50 a day.

There are no nearby off-site options for parking at the Port of Palm Beach.

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For Port Miami, off-site possibilities include Safe Cruise Parking, 90 SW First St., at $11 a day; and Premier Cruise Parking, 250 SE Third Ave., $9.50 a day. These daily prices don’t include other fees, including “access fees” and “service fees,” not to mention taxes, so check their websites for details.

You could take Tri-Rail to the ports’ closest cities, but the trains don’t stop right at the ports. You’ll need a taxi or Uber or Lyft. A Lyft from the Fort Lauderdale Tri-Rail station to Port Everglades costs about $15 and takes about 15 minutes.

You could also try the Brightline high-speed train, which has stops in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Brightline has an extension called Brightline+ that allows you to pre-book a Tesla ride from your station of arrival or take a shuttle within five miles of the station, which includes the ports.

A Brightline train from Fort Lauderdale to Miami costs $14 or $17, depending on time of day, or $27 for premium. Private rides from the station to the port are complimentary with premium fares, $5 with regular fares, and the walk-up shuttle is free for all passengers, although it takes stops along a fixed route that may lengthen your trip.

Brightline and its connectors are growing in popularity for Port of Palm Beach cruisers, port spokeswoman Yaremi Farinas said.

“The nearest Brightline station is in downtown West Palm Beach,” she said. “That’s about a 15 minute drive from the port. We have seen numerous cruise passengers use Brightline’s door-to-door ride-share service.”

There are also car and limousine services that can get you to the ports. The best way to get there, though, is to find a friend or relative to take you; that way you don’t have to worry about these added costs and transfers. Promise them you’ll get them to their next cruise in return.

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