Complete guide to cruising from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades

Jun 24, 2020

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Editor’s note: As the travel industry reopens following COVID-19 shutdowns, TPG suggests that you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions before booking that next trip. We will be here to help you prepare, whether you’re traveling next month or next year.

Port Everglades, in Florida’s Fort Lauderdale, is one of the country’s major gateways to cruise vacations — only Port of Miami and Port Canaveral are busier. Some 3.86 million cruisers passed through Port Everglades in 2018. The port is conveniently located near both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Miami International (MIA), making it easy to fly in, stay a night or two in any of the many points hotels in the area and then board a cruise ship to the Bahamas, Caribbean and beyond.

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In This Post

Port Everglades

1850 Eller Drive
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316

Port Everglades Fort Lauderdale cruise terminal
(Photo courtesy of Port Everglades)

Tip: Download the CruiseSchedule Port Everglades App for searchable cruise schedules, port-of-call itinerary lists with maps and turn-by-turn GPS navigation for terminals and parking.

Click the square on the upper-right edge of the map to zoom in and see points of interest in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Who sails from Port Everglades?

Port Everglades is a home port for ships from many of the industry’s major cruise lines. In 2021, lines with a presence at the port will include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Royal Caribbean and Silversea Cruises. (Note that the coronavirus pandemic continues to shake up the industry with cruise cancellations, and home ports, ships and itineraries may shift as sailings resume.)

What kind of itineraries will you find from Port Everglades? Look for three-, four- and five-night cruises to the Bahamas and plenty of Caribbean sailings ranging from five to 21 nights on some of the world’s hottest ships such as Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Apex; Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam; Sky Princess; Carnival Sunrise; Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas; and Silversea’s Silver Moon. There’s also a wide range of sailings to Mexico and the Panama Canal from the port.

Celebrity Edge entering Port Everglades Fort Lauderdale Florida
Celebrity Edge entering Port Everglades (Photo courtesy of Celebrity Cruises)

In addition to the cruise lines that make Port Everglades home, the fast ferry Balearia Caribbean transports passengers from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island.

Note that Port Everglades does not offer wheelchair service. If you need a wheelchair from the curb to ship, or parking lot to ship, contact your cruise line to make arrangements.

Disembarking from Port Everglades is also a breeze since it participates in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Global Entry program. Be sure to pack your Global Entry card and you’ll zip through the immigration process so you can quickly make your way to the airport or your hotel.

Related: The 8 most exciting new cruise ships of 2020

Nearest airports

Port Everglades, the only U.S. cruise port adjacent to an international airport, is easily accessible and just 10 minutes from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest, Spirit and United all fly here from gateways across the U.S.

Farther away but still accessible are Miami International, just under 30 miles south, and Palm Beach International (PBI), which is 50 miles north. If you’re traveling to Miami, look for flights on American, Delta, Frontier, Sun Country and United. From Palm Beach, fly Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southern Airways Express, Southwest, Spirit and United.

No matter which airport you pick, you can leverage airline programs to save money on airfare. Headed to MIA? Two airlines — Alaska and Delta — offer companion certificates as perks of their cobranded credit cards. Get the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card and receive a companion certificate on the card’s anniversary. The certificate allows a companion to fly with you for $121 ($99 fare and the cost of taxes from $22). And, several Delta credit cards offer a similar companion certificate. Finally, you can bring a companion along for free (actually, just the cost of the ticket’s taxes) if you have the Southwest Companion Pass.

If you’re flying to MIA or PBI instead and are a member of Frontier’s Discount Den, look for Friends Fly Free and Kids Fly Free offers, which the airline sells periodically. You can also check American’s Reduced Mileage Awards to see if FLL, MIA or PBI are on the current list, and watch for JetBlue flash sales.

Related: Best airline credit cards

As your packing for your trip, don’t forget to bring any credit cards that confer lounge benefits. For example, while FLL doesn’t have a Priority Pass lounge, it does offer a credit at Kafe Kalik in Terminal 4. Your Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card come with a Priority Pass membership — as do many other credit cards.

If you carry The Platinum Card® from American Express, you have access to the Delta Sky Club at FLL, MIA and PBI.

Related: The ultimate guide to getting Delta Sky Club access

How to get to the port

Cruise line transfers

Many times, it makes sense to buy the cruise line’s bus transfer from the airport to port and vice versa. Flying into FLL isn’t one of those times. The airport is so close to Port Everglades — a 10-minute drive — that it makes sense to simply grab a taxi or Uber. It will cost less, and you won’t need to wait around as the cruise line fills the bus with passengers.

If you’re flying into MIA, however, which is about an hour’s drive to Port Everglades, you should price out the cruise line’s transfer option and see what’s a better deal.

Cruise line bus transfer
This is the type of bus most cruise lines use for airport-to-cruise-terminal transfers. (Photo by Oleksandr Filon/Getty Images)

Related: Best credit cards for booking a cruise

Hotel shuttles

If you plan to spend the night in Fort Lauderdale before your cruise, look for a hotel that offers a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel as well as a free or paid shuttle from the hotel to the cruise port the next morning. These three points properties fit that bill:

  • Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport/South Cruise Port has a free airport shuttle and paid shuttle to the cruise terminal. Rooms range from 26,000 to 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night.
  • SpringHill Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port has a free airport shuttle and a $10 one-way shuttle to the cruise terminal. Rates start at 25,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night on standard dates.
  • Ramada Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port has a free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel and from the hotel to Port Everglades. Rooms start from 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night.

Independent van and car services

There are several van services from FLL, too. GO Airport Shuttle costs $11 per person to Port Everglades, and vans hold a maximum of 10 people. Alternatively, you can book a luxury sedan seating up to four through GO Airport Shuttle for $40 per person.

Metro Shuttle Service costs $8 to $15 per person for the ride from FLL to Port Everglades, depending on the number of people in your group. The more people on your reservation, the lower your per person rate.

Related: The ultimate guide to GroundLink’s car service

Taxi and ride-hailing services

The average one-way metered taxi fare from FLL to Port Everglades is between $15 and $17. The fee jumps to $75 if you’re taking a taxi from MIA and it’s $130 to $160 for a taxi ride from PBI, which is about an hour from the port. Most cabs accept credit cards, but always ask before getting in.

Uber and Lyft also serve FLL, MIA and PBI. The average rate from FLL to Port Everglades is between $10 and $15.

Related: Best credit cards for Uber

Public transportation

While there are public buses in Fort Lauderdale, there’s no easy or convenient way to transit from the airport to the port.

Port parking

Port Everglades offers secure, well-lit parking in two garages and three gated surface lots with patrols. You can park your car within walking distance of nearly all the terminals. Cruise terminals 2 and 4 share the 2,500-space Northport Garage, though a new 1,888-space parking garage is under construction to serve both terminals. Terminals 18 and 19 each have their own surface lots named after them; the Terminal 19 Parking Lot is shared between the two. Four terminals — cruise terminals 19, 21, 25 and 29 — share the 2,000-space Midport Garage, but only cruise terminal 29 has a complimentary shuttle service between the parking spots and terminal.

Fort Lauderdale Port Everglades cruise terminal
(Photo courtesy of Port Everglades)

There’s a $15 daily maximum charge for standard vehicles, while oversized vehicles that exceed the width and/or height of a parking space (think: RVs) have a $19 daily maximum fee. 

Port Everglades also provides parking for people with disabilities with unimpeded access to crosswalks and elevators. Parking is free for anyone who:

  • has a Florida Toll Exemption Permit
  • drives a vehicle modified with specialized equipment, such as ramps, lifts or foot/hand controls
  • displays the Florida “DV” license plate — Disabled Veteran — or an equivalent license plate from another state
Terminal Address Parking
Cruise Terminal 2 1801 SE 20th St., Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Northport Garage
Cruise Terminal 4 1800 SE 20th St., Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316 Northport Garage
Cruise Terminal 18 1901 SE 32nd St., Hollywood, Florida 33316 Terminal 18 Parking Lot, Terminal 19 Parking Lot
Cruise Terminal 19 2019 Eller Dr., Hollywood, Florida 33316 Terminal 19 Parking Lot, Midport Garage
Cruise Terminal 21 2021 Eller Dr., Hollywood, Florida 33316 Midport Garage
Cruise Terminal 25 2025 Eller Dr., Hollywood, Florida 33316 Midport Garage
Cruise Terminal 26 2026 Eller Dr., Hollywood, Florida 33316 Midport Garage
Cruise Terminal 29 2200 SE 35th St., Hollywood, Florida 33316 Midport Garage

Where to stay near the port

Fort Lauderdale is a major vacation destination in its own right, so there are plenty of hotels from which to choose. There are a lot of points hotels — close to the port, near the beaches and at the airport — as well as other boutique-style and luxury resorts. Here are some of our favorite places to stay before after a cruise.

Hotels closest to the port

Several good points properties are less than a 10-minute drive from Port Everglades. They include:

Crowne Plaza Fort Lauderdale (455 FL-84): Book a room from 20,000 IHG Rewards Club points per night (1.9 miles from the port).

Holiday Inn Express Fort Lauderdale Cruise-Airport (1500 SE 17th Street Causeway): Rooms are available from 15,000 IHG points per night (1.9 miles from the port).

Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port (1851 SE 10th Avenue): This is one of the most popular pre-cruise hotels with travelers who often book cruise itineraries embarking from Port Everglades. Rooms are available from 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night. Don’t forget, you can also transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Hyatt account on a 1:1 basis. (2.3 miles from the port).

Stay on the cheap

These hotels are also less than 10 minutes from the port but are a great value — on both points and in cash — most nights of the year. Be sure to price out both the cash and points price to find the best value. During certain times of the year, the cash prices are so low, it simply doesn’t make sense to spend your hard-earned points.

Four Points by Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port (1800 South Federal Highway): Get a room from 35,000 points per night on standard dates or use a 35,000-point award night certificate like the one you’ll get on the anniversary of the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. Just note that, depending on the season, cash prices may be a better value. (2.4 miles from the port)

Embassy Suites by Hilton Fort Lauderdale 17th Street (1100 SE 17th Street): Spend between 33,000 and 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night (2.5 miles from the port).

Ramada by Wyndham Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port (2275 W SR 84, Marina Mile Boulevard): Rooms from 15,000 Wyndham Rewards points per night (4.1 miles from the port).

Related: How to get free hotel breakfast

Full-service hotels

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina (1881 SE 17th Street): Stay here for between 27,000 and 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port (1617 SE 17th Street): This Category 5 Marriott property that costs 35,000 points per night on standard dates (or use a 35,000-point award night certificate).

Luxury hotels

If you’d prefer staying at a luxury property, look to the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach (available from 66,000 to 95,0000 Hilton Honors points per night); The Pillars Hotel, which you can book with your Chase Ultimate Rewards points; or The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale (a Marriott Category 7 property available from 50,000 points per night on off-peak dates or using a 50,000-point award night certificate).

Screenshot courtesy of the Chase Travel portal
Screenshot courtesy of the Chase Travel portal

Where to shop near the port

Within Port Everglades, you’ll find Seafarers’ House. Its mission is simple: to be a “welcoming place where mariners can connect with their communities and families, seek guidance and get emergency help if needed.”

While the 4,200-square-foot facility is designed to provide services to crewmembers, cruisers are also welcome. You can shop at the on-site convenience shop, access free Wi-Fi and visit the chapel.

If Seafarers’ House doesn’t have what you need before embarkation, there’s a CVS at 1700 Federal Highway, about a 10-minute drive from port and close to the hotels we mentioned above. There’s also a Publix grocery store (1940 Cordova Road) and Total Wine (1906 Cordova Road) in that area in the Harbor Shops plaza.

Where to eat

Fort Lauderdale is a cosmopolitan city with all types of restaurants, from casual diners to fine dining. You can find everything from Southern comfort food and local seafood dishes to Caribbean and Latin American cuisines, Asian fusion and more.

If you arrive at FLL early in the morning and need breakfast before heading to the port, try The Floridian Diner (1410 East Las Olas Boulevard). Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, you can order your favorite egg dishes, pancakes, waffles, breakfast wraps and more. At dinnertime, they serve pork chops, country-fried steak, St. Louis ribs and fried chicken, among other hearty plates.

Lester’s Diner (250 FL-84), just 10 mins from Port Everglades, is another favorite spot for all-day and all-night dining. It’s been in business for more than 40 years and is a terrific place for a quintessential diner breakfast. Try the breakfast skillets, Belgian waffles and omelets. At lunch and dinner, order Greek and Italian specialties as well as burgers, deli-style sandwiches and roast chicken.

 

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Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant (128 S Federal Hwy, Dania Beach) makes its frozen dairy treats on-site every day from fresh ingredients. Pick your favorite flavor and then take a look at the largest collection of rural American memorabilia in the country. This local legend is about 15 minutes from the port.

Tom Jenkins’ Bar-B-Q (1236 S. Federal Highway, about 10 minutes from port) is a Southern-style restaurant known for its ribs and barbecue sauce. If you don’t have time to taste its classic soul food dishes, you can still take home a bottle of its famous barbecue sauce.

Seafood restaurants abound, leading among them is 15th Street Fisheries at the Lauderdale Marina (1900 SE 15th Street), with amazing waterfront views. Other popular spots include the Rustic Inn Crabhouse (4331 Anglers Avenue) and Islamorada Fish Company (220 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach). All of these restaurants are within a 20-minute drive from the port.

For brew fans, the Ale Trail awaits. Greater Fort Lauderdale’s thriving beer culture encompasses many nano- and micro-breweries that offer over 500 beers. How about a Hefeweizen made with Florida-grown mangos? New to the Ale Trail are 3 Sons Brewing Co. in Dania Beach as well as American Icon Brewery Kitchen and Taproom, Sistrunk Marketplace and Brewery and Dangerous Minds Brewing Company, all in Fort Lauderdale.

TPG also reached out to a local and cruise industry insider — Mark Conroy, managing director of the Americas for Silversea Cruises and a Broward County resident — to get his take on the best places to eat in Fort Lauderdale. He singled out Rainbow Palace (2787 E Oakland Park Boulevard) for “the best Chinese meal in South Florida.” He said it’s “not inexpensive” but serves “great food,” adding, “It tastes like you are in Hong Kong, not Fort Lauderdale.”

He also suggests Fort Lauderdale’s Greek Islands Taverna (3300 N Ocean Boulevard) with “amazing flavors” and “reasonable prices.” No reservations are taken, though, so visitors might have to go early and wait in line. “It’s definitely worth the wait,” Conroy promised.

Conroy also is a fan of Coconuts (429 Seabreeze Boulevard), on Route A1A adjacent to the Swimming Hall of Fame on Fort Lauderdale Beach. “It’s a typical beachy seafood hang-out,” he said, “with beautiful views of the Intracoastal Waterway with a casual, relaxed vibe.”

Sights to see

There are plenty of things to see and do when in Fort Lauderdale. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations for cruise passengers passing through town.

Las Olas Boulevard

We love shopping along this 2.5-mile avenue that stretches from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the ocean. It’s the city’s premier shopping venue and the ideal place to stroll and people-watch. Just a few miles from Port Everglades, the promenade along New River features high-fashion boutiques, sidewalk cafes and bars, along with multiple art and entertainment venues and nearby attractions. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, you’ll find a plethora of options here, including Greek, Peruvian, French, Italian, Mexican, Asian, Kosher and more.

The Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi, with multiple stops and commentary, provides easy access to the promenade. Other stops include the Hilton Marina and Convention Center, Beach Place and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Water Taxi tickets cost $28 for adults, $23 for seniors 65 and older and military personnel, and $14 for kids ages 5 to 11.

 

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Sawgrass Mills

In Sunrise (12801 W. Sunrise Boulevard), this mall offers 350 name-brand outlets and value shops — everything from Nike to Kate Spade to Gucci, Lululemon, Tory Burch and Tommy Hilfiger. There’s also a movie and IMAX theater as well as a variety of restaurants. Paul Maison de Qualite and SushiGami are two of our favorites. The mall is a 25- to 35-minute drive from Port Everglades.

Dania Beach Ocean Park and Pier

Locals adore Dania Beach, a 20-minute drive from FLL or Port Everglades, because it’s one of the least-crowded stretches of sand in the area. Yet, it even has a marina and pier from which you can fish. If you just want to enjoy the views, grab a bite to eat at Quarterdeck Restaurant (300 N. Beach Road, Dania Beach), which is right on the pier itself. At the beach, there’s a playground, restrooms with showers and lifeguards on duty. You can also rent kayaks from area vendors.

Dania Beach Pier Fort Lauderdale Florida
Dania Beach Pier (Photo courtesy of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center)

Jungle Queen riverboat tours

A visit to the “Venice of America“ won’t be complete without taking a trip down its beautiful waterways lined with landmark homes. A local institution since 1938, Jungle Queen Riverboats (Bahia Mar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Boulevard) takes you on a 90-minute guided sightseeing tour up and down Fort Lauderdale’s Intracoastal Waterway. The ship also offers a tour with dinner and show on a private island. (Tour tickets are about $24 for adults, $21 for seniors, $14 for children and free for infants.)

Museums and gardens

Historic home fans might tour Bonnet House Museum & Gardens (900 N. Birch Road; $20 for adults and $16 for kids ages 6 to 12) on Fort Lauderdale Beach or Historic Stranahan House Museum (335 SE 6th Avenue; $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and $7 for students), particularly lovely when it’s decorated Victorian-style for the winter holidays.

Offering a robust “look back” into Fort Lauderdale’s early days are several museum buildings of History Fort Lauderdale (231 Southwest Second Avenue; access to all three museums is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $7 for students). Located in the former 1905-era New River Inn is the History Museum with exhibits covering prehistoric times through the modern era. The 1907-era Pioneer House Museum is set up with period furnishings, antique dolls and toys, much as it was back in the day, while the 1899 Schoolhouse Museum has period wooden desks and textbooks.

Hollywood Beach Boardwalk

This 2.5-mile promenade (101 S. Broadwalk) along the Atlantic Ocean is a wonderful place to stroll. The boardwalk connects three parks, 50 restaurants and dozens of shops. You can walk the boardwalk or rent a bike, and there are benches and public restrooms along the way.

Hollywood Beach Fort Lauderdale Florida
Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood Beach (Photo courtesy of Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center)

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Clocking in at 180 acres, the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (3109 E, Sunrise Boulevard, between the Intracoastal Waterway and SR A1A) lets people leave the crowds of Fort Lauderdale behind for a more relaxed experience. Within the park, there’s a concession stand where you can rent bikes, kayaks and book Segway tours. Or, just enjoy the walking trails at a leisurely pace. As you walk along the Intracoastal, keep your eyes peeled and you may spy manatees. There’s also a Water Taxi stop here.

Related: The 12 state parks that will make you fall in love with Florida

Bottom line

Fort Lauderdale is a vibrant vacation destination on its own, but it’s also one of the easiest home ports for embarking on a cruise. Port Everglades is so close to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport; it’s a breeze to make your way from your flight to ship. The array of cruise ships and itineraries available out of Port Everglades is also impressive, which is one reason why it’s one of the most popular home ports in the state for Floridians driving to their cruise vacation. Check out upcoming cruise itineraries and see if it’s the right embarkation port for you.

With additional reporting by Susan Young

Featured image courtesy of Port Everglades

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