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Port Miami Pre-Cruise Planning

When planning to take a cruise, it is essential that everything lines up right, and that includes making sure you can be where you need to be when you need to be. Thus, comes in your pre-cruise planning. In the case of this particular blog, I am speaking specifically of Port Miami pre-cruise planning.

Pre-Cruise Planning

There are several topics I will cover here to give you the knowledge you need to plan your cruise. That being said, I want to mention that these are things I consider when planning a vacation for my clients, so whether you come to the conclusion by the end of this read that you would rather have someone do the planning for you (i.e. me) and save you the trouble but you now know what you want your travel advisor to do for you, or you decide I have given you the tools to plan for yourself, I have accomplished my goal. So, let's dive in (yes, pun intended).

Driving into Miami

The first thing is, you want to make sure you arrive at your port destination the day before your cruise is scheduled to sail. There are so many things that can go wrong which could potentially cause you to miss your cruise such as car accidents, flight delays, illness, etc. Sure, you might have travel insurance to cover your cost if you miss it, but do you really want to have to do that? Best to plan to get there the day before to allow yourself plenty of time in case any of these catastrophes do happen, you have the time to deal with it and get back on track with your vacation.

Map of Miami to Port Miami

The first thing you want to consider is distance from the port. While it may be tempting to secure a booking that is farther away because of a price difference, don't do it. Miami is a big, busy city which means it also comes with the heavy traffic. So, whether you have driven to Miami or flew in and plan on using a transportation service to get to the port, it still requires driving from your hotel to the port. We stayed at the Atwell Suites, just 3 miles from the port, and it took us approximately twenty minutes to get to the port. This isn't counting the time it took to drop our bags, park, and get to the terminal entrance.

Atwell Suites

The next thing is picking out a great hotel to stay in. There are so many reasons why this is important. For one, guess what? You are on vacation. Splurge a little and stay in a nice hotel that starts your vacation off right. Luxuriate a little and enjoy it. Plus, the nicer the hotel, the more perks you are likely to enjoy. This doesn't mean you have to break the bank for a single night of a hotel stay, but it also means you can stay somewhere that doesn't make you worry about what goes creeping in the night and might try to come on vacation with you. You know what I am talking about.

Atwell Suite - Kitchen

I am diligent in finding the best places to stay and getting the most value out of where I stay. In this case, I found a suite for the same price as a standard room up on the 22nd floor which even boasted a kitchen. Now, I realize we didn't cook, but the extra space to spread out when we ate dinner in was really, really nice. Plus, I was able to pull out my laptop and do what I needed to do without balancing my laptop on my lap on the couch or something.

Atwell Suite - Living Room

Being that there was 3 of us, the living room space was much appreciated as we actually had a real place to sit, as in a couch, not just sitting on a bed like we would in a normal standard hotel room. Then again, if we really wanted to, there was a TV in both the living room and the bedroom as well. It was also really nice because I didn't have to worry about disrupting my husband sleeping when I wanted to stay up and work on some things on the computer before our cruise started full swing (my teen didn't really care what was going on and can sleep through anything).

Atwell Suite - Bedroom

The bedroom space had plenty of room, and while I know this is a "small" thing, that it had a nightstand on both sides of the bed was super nice. My poor husband always gets the short end of the stick when it comes to nightstands in our hotel room. I am always the one with the alarm clock to get everyone up, hence I need a table so I can set my phone nearby and hear the alarm in the morning.

Atwell Suites - Food

Another convenience to this location was the onsite food options. Because we were in a suite, the next morning, breakfast on the top floor of the hotel was included in our stay. Also, for dinner, we were able to order food from the restaurant downstairs. We opted to eat in our room so ordered it to go so we could enjoy the view from the room on the 22nd floor while we feasted on our tasty meal. Oh, and the view... did I mention the view?

Atwell Suites Balcony Ocean View

Our room also had a balcony, so we were able to step out and see this amazing view of the city and the ocean beyond, which went a long way to getting us even more excited about our cruise. While we weren't directly on the beach, we also weren't paying the premium prices that come along with that, but still got this amazing view and all the other perks that came with staying at the Atwell Suites.

Atwell Suites Balcony Ocean View at Night

Not only did we have the daytime view of the city and the ocean, but the nighttime view was spectacular with the city lights and the moon glowing in the distance. I just couldn't get enough of it and spent much time standing out on the balcony, soaking in all the sights and sounds. I live in a small town, but I have also lived in the big city, so it's a nice change once in a while to get to experience this.

Atwell Suites Valet Service

Yet another perk, and something you will want to consider when picking your stay in Miami, was having the option of a valet. This saved us from having to fight traffic and finding a parking spot, plus it kept our car off the busy street, and let's face it, from being tampered with or broken into on the street. Plus, it was just really cool using a valet. I should mention, this was an extra cost of about twenty dollars that I prepaid, but in my book, well worth it. And don't forget to tip your valet. That is not included in the cost of the valet.

Port Miami Signs

From there, it's straight to the port. Because we had our car valeted, we simply loaded our luggage back into the car and then headed right out without any trouble. As I mentioned earlier, it took us about twenty minutes to get to the port even though google indicated about eleven minutes. So that means give yourself plenty of time to get to the port due to traffic. You'll also want to pay attention to the signs directing you to the port if you are driving.

Port Miami Carnival Cruise Ship

You'll start to see the ships as you pull into the main area of the terminal, and this is where it can get a little tricky because you are both watching all the other cars and also for your terminal. Remember, you will want to make sure you know the terminal you are assigned to for your cruise ship.

Port Miami Baggage Drop Off

Once you arrive to your terminal area, you'll want to check your luggage, so allow time for this, too. Doing this will save you a lot of trouble maneuvering around your cruise ship because you do not get to go to your room right away. Instead, you get to board the ship and are able to explore and eat right away. Not to mention, you'll have muster to report to. You don't want to have to be hauling around your luggage this entire time. And to note, your luggage should be waiting right by your cabin door when you are allowed to go to your cabin. I should also mention, it's a good idea to also tip your baggage check person. One last thing on this topic, make sure you keep your passport on you and not in your luggage. You'll need it to check in for your cruise.

Port Miami Parking Garage

Next, you will head over to your garage that is across from the terminal where you will enter for your cruise. Keep in mind, this may not be the cruise terminal you come back into when returning from your cruise. Ours didn't. We opted to walk, though there was the option of a shuttle. You'll grab your ticket, put it in your dashboard, and then when you come back from your cruise, pay for your parking on your way out of the garage.

Port Miami Terminal Entrance

All that's left then is to grab your carry ons and walk across the street, complete the check in process, and get on your ship. Overall, from start to finish, it took us about an hour to get from our hotel, bags dropped, parked, into the terminal, and checked in. We ended up being about ninety minutes early for our check in time, which is okay, because should something have happened to delay, we would have had time since we planned everything out ahead of time keeping our distance from the port short, so less distance for something to occur, and our stay easy and enjoyable, so less stress and rushing to get where we needed to be, which as we all know, is when we make mistakes.

Port Miami Carnival Gangway

I hope that you have found the information I have provided here to be helpful, and remember, whether you choose to book yourself or you decide you would like the benefit of my experience and expertise, saving you the time and trouble, it's a win. I am here to provide you with information and my services if needed. If you would like my help, you can submit your information here. Until next time, Bon Voyage and happy cruising!

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