Miami Cruise Port
Miami is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. With its warm climate, even warmer beaches and sizzling nightlife, Miami can turn up the heat on any vacation. Home to diverse ethnicities, a vibrant culture and celebrities such as Shakira, Lenny Kravitz, Micky Rourke, Ricky Martin and Enrique Iglesias, Miami lives up to its moniker as The Magic City.
The strong Hispanic influence, especially Cuban, can be seen throughout the city and particularly in what is known as Little Havana, located just west of Downtown Miami. Known as the gateway to Latin America, Miami is one of the most important ports for both commerce and tourism in the United States. It is the also home to the busiest cruise port in the world, which after a planned renovation will have the largest cruise terminal in the world, including cruise berths large enough to have two Oasis of the Seas-size ships in port at the same time. Major cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Lines are headquartered in Miami and have many of their sailings originating from there.↑ Back to Top
Where is the cruise port of Miami?
Cruise ships dock at the Port of Miami, which is located on Dodge Island in Biscayne Bay, adjacent to Downtown Miami (see map).↑ Back to Top
What language is spoken at this cruise port? Do they speak English?
English is the official language, but because of the high population of Latin American immigrants, Spanish is widely spoken. Creole is also heard frequently, as a result of the large Haitian community.↑ Back to Top
What is the time zone in Miami?
Miami is on Eastern Standard Time (-5 GMT).
Current Time - Miami, FL, USA↑ Back to Top
What is the national currency?
The US Dollar (USD).
Where can I get or exchange money?
If you are exchanging international currency, such as Euros or Canadian Dollars, Miami International Airport, Bayside Marketplace (located just outside of the Port area, see map) and some downtown hotels are the most accessible locations to the Port of Miami.
- Banks closest to Port of Miami:
There are many banks within a couple of miles of the Port of Miami, below are a few:
- Bank United, located at 601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132, is a little over a mile west of the port (see map), in front of the American Airlines Arena
- Wachovia Bank, located at 200 S. Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33131, is less than 2 miles west of the port (see map).
- Bank of America, located at 1 SE 3rd Ave # 170, Miami, FL 33131, is less than 2 miles west of the port (see map.)
- ATMs closest to Port of Miami:
There are many ATMs located throughout the city, Bayside Marketplace and also in the cruise terminal.
How can I stay in touch with home? (Ex. Email, phone, etc.)
Most cell phone plans in the US now offer free nationwide roaming. Contact your cell phone provider for information regarding roaming rates. Also, public phones are available throughout the city. If US is not home, you can purchase calling cards at most any gas station or convenience store to make international calls affordably.
Where are the Internet cafes?
Free WiFi is available at all Starbucks and most McDonald’s locations in the area. There are also several Internet Cafes located in Downtown and Miami Beach in case you did not bring your own computer. Below are a few locations in the area:
- Triton Internet Cafe, located about 8 miles from the port at 2745b Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL (see map), offers several computers with Internet access at rates of $3 for 15 mins, $4 for 30 mins and $6 for 1 hour.
- Cybr Cafe, located about 6 miles west of the port at 1574 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (see map), offers several computers, Internet access, printing services, coffee and snacks for purchase.
What are the cell phone rates?
Most cell phone plans in the US now offer free nationwide roaming. Contact your cell phone provider for information regarding roaming rates.↑ Back to Top
Miami has a tropical climate with long, hot, humid summers and short, warm, dry winters. Summer days (months between late May and early November) will often include an afternoon shower in the middle of a steamy day and night. Winter days warm in between cold fronts that can bring lows in the 40's and 50's.
Average Monthly Temperatures and Rainfall in Miami↑ Back to Top
While walking around the immediate area nearby the Port of Miami is feasible, it’s not truly recommended if you want to get to know Miami. However, within walking distance are the many shops and restaurants at Bayside Marketplace and Downtown Miami. Stores in Downtown close early, so there is no need to walk around after dark (also, not recommended.)
Taxis are available and plentiful in the downtown Miami area. Taxis are metered and they will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. Be mindful that locations in Miami tend to be spread out and traffic during rush hours can be quite heavy. If Miami Beach is the destination, taxis are the best means of transportation, as parking can be quite difficult.
Miami’s public transportation system is a bit under-developed due to its small downtown area and large metro area. However, buses can be used to get to attractions, shopping and even South Beach. Make sure to check the bus route prior to boarding one. The Metrorail is also a part of the public transportation system in Miami, although its routes do not go in the direction of normal tourist locations. The Miami Metromover runs routes within Downtown Miami and can be quite useful to get around, but only use during the day.
All major rental car companies are represented in Miami. Best bet it is to reserve your vehicle before you leave home. You will get better rates online and a shuttle will be able to take your car from the airport. There are rental car companies, such as Thrifty , that even offer to pick you up at the Miami cruise port when you get back from your cruise.↑ Back to Top
What is the best way to travel between the port and the airport
Miami International Airport is 9 miles west of the Port of Miami (see map.) Taxis ($24 flat fee) and Super Shuttle ($14 flat fee) services are both available for transportation to and from the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport. No reservation is needed for either from Miami International Airport, but a reservation, at least two days in advance, is needed for the Super Shuttle from the Port of Miami. Other transportation options include public transportation and limousine service.
Which hotels are convenient to get to/from the port?
There are several hotels in the Downtown Miami, Miami International Airport and Miami Beach areas that are more than adequate for one, two or several nights stay before and after your cruise. Below are a few different options depending on your needs:
- If you are driving from out of town to Miami for your cruise:
Hilton Miami Airport is 9 miles west of the Port of Miami(see map). The Hilton Miami Airport offers free parking for up to 7 days (which can save you the cost of parking at the port of $20/day) for cruise passengers that reserve a hotel room for at least one night. Contact the reservations desk at (305)262-1000 for more details regarding parking for cruise guests.
Note: Free shuttle service is offered to and from the hotel and Miami International Airport. Free shuttle service is also offered one way to the Port of Miami.
- If you are flying to Miami for your cruise:
Embassy Suites Miami - International Airport is 2 mile northeast Miami International Airport and 8 miles northwest of the Port of Miami(see map). The Embassy Suites Miami - International Airport offers free shuttle service to and from the hotel and Miami International Airport. Free shuttle service is also offered one way to the Port of Miami from the hotel. Contact the reservations desk at (305)634-5000 for more details regarding shuttle service for cruise guests.
Note: Free parking is also available for up to 7 days (which can save you the cost of parking at the port of $20/day) for cruise passengers that reserve a hotel room for at least one night.
- For a hotel close to major Miami attractions:
Beacon Hotel South Beach, located literally across the street from South Beach on 720 Ocean Drive, has cruise packages that offer transportation to the Port of Miami for 2 guests. This hotel is in a perfect location for those that want to get the fun started before the cruise or keep it going after. Most any South Beach attraction is within walking distance of this hotel.
Note: If you are looking for a quiet hotel to get some rest before or after your cruise, this hotel, because of its location, may not be the best choice.
A Medianoche (midnight in Spanish) sandwich is among many Cuban specialties that are a must if you are in Miami. This sandwich made with ham, roasted pork, swiss cheese and pickles, on a sweet yellow egg bread, pressed in a cooking iron is not only good – it is distinctly Miami.
Other Cuban food such as croquetas, ropa vieja (translates as old clothes, but this shredded beef in tomato sauce dish tastes like anything but) arroz con frijoles (rice and black beans) and many others Cuban dishes are also very popular.
Where are the best places to get them?
- Versailles Restaurant, located on Miami’s famous Calle Ocho, 3555 SW 8th Street, is one of the best places in town for Cuban food. Open late, it is also a good spot for late arriving travelers and those ending there long night with some good food.
- La Carreta, with many locations throughout Miami (including Miami International Airport), is an easily accessible and great choice for Cuban food.
- Bongos Cuban Cafe, located near the port in the American Airlines Arena, across from Bayside Marketplace, is a great option for a more upscale Cuban food experience. Also, a great place for dancing to latin rhythms on weekend nights.
- Joe's Stone Crabs, located in South Beach, is a Miami institution. Open since 1913, Joe's is a seasonal restaurant open from mid-October through the end of July and is probably the most famous restaurant in Miami. Leave room for the Key Lime Pie.
What are the must-drinks in Miami?
- A cafecito Cubano (espresso Cuban coffee) is a must in the morning and after a nice meal.
- Mojito, which is a rum cocktail made with lime, mint leaves, soda water and sugar, is also a very "Miami" drink.
Where is the best place to get one?
- For a cafecito Cubano you can go to pretty much any Cuban cafeteria around town - and there are plenty of them. Have one after a good meal at Bongos, Versailles or La Carreta.
- Mango's Tropical Cafe on Ocean Drive in South Beach. The music, live show and people watching will enhance your mojito experience. Try the mango mojito and enjoy the show.
Which are the best souvenirs to buy in Miami? Where can I get them?
Beach wear and beach towels make a good souvenir and can also prove useful for your cruise. There are several beach apparel stores on the Lincoln Road Mall and on Ocean Drivein South Beach.
Guayaberas are very much "Miami" whether you are having a cafecito at Domino Park or at a wedding. Guayaberas are a man’s shirt popular in Latin America. You can find guayaberas at many stores on Calle Ocho, South Beach and also the Dolphin Mall.
A couple of bottles of fine wine or champagne may be a smart purchase in Miami before you embark on your cruise. Many cruise lines allow you to bring a bottle or two of wine and/or champagne per person and can either be consumed in your stateroom or in the restaurants for a corkage fee (for more information regarding your cruise line's policy on bringing aboard wine at embarkation read this blog post.)↑ Back to Top
What are the top attractions and must-sees in Miami? How long will it take me to get there and to explore?
South Beach has a little something for everybody. Of course there is the beach, but there are also restaurants lining Ocean Drive, shopping up and down Lincoln Road, nightclubs all the way down Washington Ave. and bars... everywhere. From Art Deco boutique style hotels like the Colony Hotel to opulent hotels like the Setai, South Beach marries the new with the old, the luxurious with the historic.
During the day take a stroll down Ocean Drive and in the early evening Lincoln Road is a great place to people watch and have a nice meal in one of the many restaurants with outdoor seating. You can also do that the other way around and still have a wonderful time.
- Calle Ocho, located on SW 8th Street from 27th Ave to 12th Ave, is the heart of Little Havana. To properly experience Calle Ocho you will need to stop and have some authentic Cuban cuisine in one of the local "cafeterias" and follow that with a "cafecito" (Cuban-style espresso coffee). You may also want to stop in one of several shops that sell hand rolled cigars, such as La Gloria Cubana, which is rolled in Miami. Then take your newly purchased cigar over to "Domino Park" on 15th Ave. and watch the domino masters at work while discussing politics and baseball.
- Vizcaya is the former residence of James Deering, millionaire industrialist. The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, as it is now known, is now owned by Miami-Dade County. This Mediterranean Revival style mansion has lavish fountains and lush gardens that make it a favorite for wedding receptions and visitors alike.
- Miami Seaquarium, which opened in 1955, was once the home of "Flipper" and "Lolita" the killer whale. The Miami Seaquarium offers year round, daily trained dolphin and killer whale shows. There are also exhibits of sea turtles, seals, sea lions, and the Florida Manatee. The Seaquarium is located on Key Biscayne at 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway Miami, FL 33149, about 6 miles from the Port of Miami (see map.)
Below are some of the best and most famous beaches near Miami:
- South Beach (also known as Lummus Park Beach), located 5 miles east of the Port of Miami (see map), is Miami's most famous beach and an international tourist destination. This beach is great for catching some rays and for people watching. Just across the street (Ocean Drive) from the beach are many restaurants, bars and hotels, which can be just as much fun to walk down as the beach itself.
- Crandon Park Beach, located 9 miles south of the port (see map) on Key Biscayne, is a family-friendly beach with very good facilities and swimmable beach area.
- Bill Baggs State Park Beach, located 12 miles from the port (see map) on the southern tip of Key Biscayne, is consistently voted among the 10 best beaches in the United States. The park has much to offer its visitors, such as: bicycle rentals, beach umbrella and chair/lounger rentals, nature trails, picnic tables and barbeque grills, restaurants, and lighthouse tours. Be aware that the beach often has a strong current that runs just off shore and can be challenging for weaker swimmers.
- Haulover Beach is located 13 miles north of the port (see map.) The north end of this beach is what makes it famous, as it is the only stretch of beach in Florida that is "clothing optional" (nude beach.) The rest of the beach is like any other you will find in the area with good facilities and tan lines in the making. ↑ Back to Top
- Bayside Marketplace is located just down the street from the Port of Miami in Downtown Miami and adjacent to Bayfront Park. Bayside offers rows of boutiques, restaurants, outdoor entertainment and even Miami's Hard Rock Cafe.
- Coral Gables is a small city within Greater Miami that has a couple of excellent shopping options: Its half-mile stretch known as Miracle Mile is home to luxury boutiques, many chic stores, and you can’t throw a rock without hitting a bridal shop. Also in Coral Gables is the Village of Merrick Park. An upscale shopping experience for sure. Merrick Park houses Jimmy Choo, Gucci, and Prada outlets amongst others.
- Lincoln Road Mall, located between 16th and 17th street in South Beach, is an outdoor stretch of boutiques, restaurants and cafes leading to the beach. It offers shops like Anthropologie and Victoria's Secret, and even a movie theater.
- Dolphin Mall, located 9 miles west of Miami International Airport (see map), is a large outlet mall which is very popular with tourists and residents alike. There is everything from restaurants to entertainment to some of the best shopping in Miami. There is shuttle service available to and from Miami International Airport; perfect for some last minute shopping, if you couldn’t find good souvenirs on your cruise.
Miami has several good golf courses in the area, below are a few of them:
- Doral Golf Resort, located 15 miles west of the port in Doral, offers five courses, one of which is the famed Blue Monster. The TPC Blue Monster at Doral is home to the WGC Championship a regular stop on the PGA Tour and one of the best golf courses in Florida. Its 18th hole is roundly regarded as one of the best holes in golf. This is a 7,125 yard, par 72 course. Contact the pro shop for more information and tee times at 800-71-DORAL or for tee times online click here.
- Biltmore Golf Club, located in Coral Gables is a great place to spot celebrities, especially if you consider Al Capone’s ghost to be a celebrity (Capone’s ghost has been said to walk the halls of the Biltmore Hotel on occasion.) Draped in the lush Coral Gables foliage and with the historic Biltmore Hotel in the backdrop, this 18-hole, 6,800 yard, par 71 course is playable at almost any skill level. Contact the pro shop for more information and tee times at (305)669-9500 or online.
Below are a few Scuba diving companies that operate out of Miami and the Florida Keys:
- Grove Scuba operates out of Coconut Grove and is located at 3310-A Mary Street Miami, FL 33133. Contact them by phone at (305)443-1313 or email for more information.
- Captain Slate's Atlantis Dive Center operates out of Key Largo and is located 51 Garden Cove Drive, Key Largo, FL 33037. Contact them by phone at (305)451-3020 or email for more information.
- South Beach Divers operates out of South Beach and is located at 850 Washington Av., Miami Beach, FL 33139. Contact them by phone at (305)531-6110 or email for more information.
- The Miami Everglades Airboat Adventure with Biscayne Bay Cruise gives you the chance to see the Everglades up close and personal. Your tour guide will fully narrate the entire trip. If you're around for the second part of the day, enjoy a 90-minute cruise around Miami's waterways, and take a look at the houses of local celebrities like Gloria Estefan, Shaquille O’Neal and Sylvester "Sly" Stallone.
- Duck Tours South Beach, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, offers an amphibious vehicle which carries you from land into water and back again for a tour of Miami. This 90 minute tour will take you through the streets of South Beach and the waters of Biscayne Bay. Contact them by phone at (305)673-2217 or email.