So you’re booked on a Disney cruise and ready to go! Almost ready? You need to figure out a way to get to the port! Well I have some things for you to consider. 10 of them of course!
1. Disney Transfers From the Airport – Disney offers transfers from at least one airport in every port city to the terminal. If you are planning on using Disney transfers, check which airport you are flying into! For Port Canaveral, for instance, Disney transfers run to and from the Orlando International Airport. The do not run from Sanford. Sometimes the money you save by flying into the smaller airport isn’t worth it when you look at the new transportation costs you’ve incurred! Several other cities have similar situations. The transfers vary in price depending on how far the airport is to the port. In Orlando they are $35 one way. In Miami they are only $20 one way. The port in Dover, England, is a very long way from Heathrow Airport, so the transfers are $75 one way there.
2. Disney Transfers From a Hotel – You can also get transfers from certain hotels to the port. In Orlando, you can get transfer from any Disney resort to the port for the same price as airport transfers, $35 one way. You can also stay at the Hyatt in the Orlando International Airport and take the airport transfers. That’s one of my favorite places to stay because Disney will pick up your luggage from your room and deliver it right to your ship’s stateroom. In other ports, transfers from a hotel are always available if you book a pre- or post-night stay through Disney Cruise Line. You could also book a hotel near the airport, and just get back to the airport and take a transfer from there.
3. Rental Car – Rental cars are another option to get to the port. While renting cars abroad is a little trickier, it’s often a great option stateside. Depending on how many people are in your family, rental cars can sometimes save you money over a Disney transfer and often give you more flexibility. In Port Canaveral, there are several major car rental companies within a couple miles of the port. They run shuttles back and forth to the cruise terminal continuously on mornings there are ships in port. If you’re staying at Walt Disney World and would like to rent a car, you could pick one up at the airport and drive to the resorts before your stay begins, or pick one up during your stay on property at the National/Alamo facility onsite.
4. Private Transfers – Private transfers may not save you money, but they do give you flexibility. Disney transfers from a Disney hotel occur at a set time and you have no say in that time. They often get you to port a lot later than you would like. With a private transfer, you set that time. Private transfers can also take you somewhere non-airport or non-Disney. Like Universal! Gasp! Private transfers offer many choices for car type. You can get something as simple as a utilitarian mini-van, as comfortable as a nice town car, or as luxurious as a stretch limo. Make it a super stretch! In foreign ports especially, if you’re staying at a hotel you booked on your own, a private transfer is often the way to go. We’ve had great experiences abroad, and stateside, with private transfers, and not-so-great experiences as well. One particularly bad experience in Barcelona comes to mind! Do your research and make sure you have all contact information for the company you book.
5. Taxi – Taxis are everywhere, in every city. Are they the most economical choice? Maybe. To Port Canaveral from Orlando, almost certainly not. A taxi there will run you around $150 plus tip. In other cities it sometimes is! In Miami it’s around $25 from airport to port. A taxi from the Vancouver airport to the port is only around $30. Not bad at all! Taxis are also incredibly flexible and convenient. Don’t worry about a transfer time, you go when you want. You’re only worried about whether all of your bags will fit in the car!
6. Lyft and Uber – I would be remiss if I didn’t list these taxi alternatives. Transportation services like Lyft and Uber offer you the flexibility of a taxi, often at a fraction of the price. They work in some international cities as well, with Uber having more options there. All you’ll need is a smartphone. Login to the app and request a ride. You’ll get a price, car type, driver name and arrival time. Your account is charged with the payment method you selected when you set up an account. The app tracks you driver as they approach, so you’ll know exactly when they arrive. It’s amazingly easy. The pricing is dynamic based on current demand, so it’s hard to predict an exact price. You can always check a price and arrival time, and decline the ride if it doesn’t work. There are often restrictions with using them at airports, but there are usually workarounds as well if this is the best option for you.
7. Fly, Snooze and Cruise – Some hotels in the Port Canaveral area, and other cities, offer a “Fly, Snooze and Cruise” rate. This rate includes pick up from the airport, a night’s stay, and transfers to the terminal. It’s a great option if you’d like to get close to the terminal a day or more before you cruise and don’t want to work on multiple transfer options.
8. Park at the Port – If you’re driving, parking at Port Canaveral is super convenient. Their website has the current list of prices. Parking at the port isn’t cheap, but the parking garage is adjacent to the terminal so you’re in and out quickly. There are also some nearby lots with discounts and shuttles if you really want to drive and don’t want to pay the terminal prices. Waiting for a shuttle at an offsite location with all of your luggage to take you to the cruise terminal on a hot Florida day isn’t fun, but the price is definitely better! If you are driving to another port, just check the port website for their rates.
9. Park at a hotel – Hotels near most ports offer a parking package. Often you’ll find it’s not more than the room rate, sometimes the exact same. They run shuttles back and forth to the port all morning. Come in the day before and relax for the night! Some hotels in Port Canaveral even have 40% discounts on parking at the cruise terminal.
10. Mooch Off Friends – If you have friends near a port, you may have a ride to the port. Depends on how good the friends are! We have sweet friends in Houston who are picking us up for our Galveston cruise on the Wonder next month. If you have friends near a port, maybe it’s time to check in with them. Especially after you see how expensive some of the above options are. Am I right?
Have you found any other good options to get to the port? What’s your favorite?
Tammy Whiting is the owner of Storybook Destinations. Did you know Storybook Destinations offers a complimentary subscription to TouringPlans with qualified Disney and Universal bookings? Click here for a no-obiligation quote on your next vacation.