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Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port vs Miami Cruise Port

Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port vs Miami Cruise Port

PortMiami and Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale are two of the most prominent cruise ports in the United States. As the largest and busiest cruise ports in the country, they cater to a vast array of ships from all major cruise lines. These ports are convenient for both local Florida residents and out-of-towners who arrive through the region’s two major airports.

But does it really matter which homeport you choose for your next cruise? Both ports are only 30 miles apart. Let’s explore some key factors to consider when choosing between Miami and Fort Lauderdale for your cruise departure.

Miami and Fort Lauderdale Cruise Lines

Cruise Lines

Miami and Fort Lauderdale are the two busiest cruise ports in the United States and, together, host all major cruise lines. Some lines, like Carnival, operate from both ports, but others are exclusive to one.

Choose Miami for the Most Cruise Variety

PortMiami, known as the “cruise capital of the world,” is home to 42 ships and five leading cruise lines: Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. With 18 cruise brands in total, including Azamara, Crystal, Celebrity, Disney, and MSC, nearly 5 million passengers pass through PortMiami each year. Additionally, Virgin Cruises, a new cruise line by Richard Branson, is set to launch from Miami.

Choose Fort Lauderdale for Princess or Holland America

Port Everglades hosts nine cruise lines and 34 cruise ships, including Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Silversea, and Seabourn. While it sees fewer passengers than Miami (just under 4 million a year), it holds the world record for most cruise passengers in a single day.

Miami and Fort Lauderdale Itineraries


Given their proximity, both ports offer similar itineraries to popular destinations such as the Caribbean and the Bahamas. However, there are some key differences.

Choose Fort Lauderdale for European or Transatlantic Cruises

Fort Lauderdale offers itinerary options not available from Miami. Holland America, for instance, offers cruises from Fort Lauderdale to Europe (Canary Islands, Spain, and Rome) and to Canada and New England. Miami does offer transatlantic journeys, but options are limited compared to Fort Lauderdale’s offerings.

Choose Miami for Warm Weather Destinations

PortMiami is a top departure port for cruises to warm-weather destinations such as the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Central America, and the Panama Canal. Unless embarking on a world cruise, you’ll likely avoid cold weather on cruises departing from Miami.

Miami and Fort Lauderdale Airport

Getting There

Both ports are accessible via Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport. The travel time from either airport to the respective port is relatively short.

Choose Miami for More Airline Options

Miami International Airport is served by approximately 50 airlines, compared to just over 30 at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport. International passengers will find more options flying into Miami, with services from airlines like Air France, Alitalia, Qatar, and Turkish Airlines. Additionally, Miami Airport offers numerous dining and drinking venues.

Choose Fort Lauderdale for Easier Transportation

Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood Airport is less hectic than Miami, with shorter wait times and cheaper transportation options. The Go Airport shuttle provides convenient and affordable rides to the port, and rideshare services like Lyft and Uber are readily available. Driving from Fort Lauderdale Airport to Port Everglades is just a short 5-mile trip.

Miami vs Fort Lauderdale Parking Lot


Both Miami and Fort Lauderdale cruise ports offer secure, accessible parking with patrol services. However, the cost varies between the two.

Choose Fort Lauderdale for Cheaper Parking

Parking at Port Everglades costs $15 per day, compared to $20 per day at PortMiami. For oversized vehicles, Fort Lauderdale is significantly cheaper. Additionally, many nearby hotels offer park-and-cruise packages.

Choose Miami for Shuttle Services

PortMiami offers free shuttle service between all parking areas and cruise terminals, which can be helpful for passengers with mobility issues. Port Everglades only offers shuttle service to Terminal 29 from the Midport parking garage.

Miami vs Fort Lauderdale Port Facilities

Port Facilities

Both ports provide ample seating, bathrooms, porter service, air conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. However, there are some differences in additional facilities and services.

Choose Miami for Food Options at the Port

PortMiami has multiple locations to buy food, including the Seaman’s Center, cafes, and food trucks specializing in local Cuban cuisine. This can be handy for travelers needing a quick bite before boarding.

Choose Fort Lauderdale for Shopping Needs

The Seafarer’s House near Terminal 18 offers a range of items such as socks, shampoo, sunglasses, aspirin, and electronics. This is particularly useful for last-minute necessities.


Both Miami and Fort Lauderdale offer a variety of accommodation options close to the cruise ports.

Choose Miami for Luxury or Boutique Hotels

Miami has numerous luxury and boutique hotel options, along with major hotel chains. Options like Habitat Residences and Hotel Urbano provide unique atmospheres close to the port.

Choose Fort Lauderdale for Convenient Chain Hotels

Fort Lauderdale offers many major hotel chains near the port, providing convenient and stress-free embarkation options.

Things To Do In Miami and Fort Lauderdale

Things to Do

Both cities offer a wealth of attractions, including beaches, shopping, and family activities.

Choose Fort Lauderdale for Family-Friendly Activities

Fort Lauderdale offers a range of family-friendly activities, including the Museum of Discovery and Science, swamp safaris, and butterfly gardens. It also has affordable dining and shopping options.

Choose Miami for Art and Design Enthusiasts

Miami is renowned for its vibrant art scene, with world-class galleries and museums. The city hosts the annual Art Basel, attracting artists, dealers, and collectors from around the globe.


Choosing between Fort Lauderdale and Miami cruise ports ultimately depends on your preferences and travel needs. Miami offers a wider variety of cruises, more airline options, and a vibrant city atmosphere with numerous luxury accommodations and food options. On the other hand, Fort Lauderdale provides easier transportation, cheaper parking, and a family-friendly environment with plenty of affordable activities and shopping options. Whether you prioritize convenience, cost, or the variety of experiences, both ports have something unique to offer, ensuring a memorable cruise vacation.