I will be utilizing Carnival's transfer service to get to the port so it is a matter of working out the appropriat flight. My arrival times in Fort Lauderdale are either 10:17 am or 11:24 am. Suggestions on which to pick?
Better early than late. If you end up at the pier earlier than the stated boarding time, they usually allow people to go ahead and get on the ship...just can't go to your cabin until they announce it, usually around 1 p.m. But, you can check out the buffet on deck and/or just walk around the ship. Keep carry on luggage to a minimum, though...it gets heavier by the minute.
More important, if your plane is late, you won't have to freak out. It happens...more often than it should.
As a cruiser of 17 cruises in 20 years, go for the earlier time. The plus side is that , of course you get there early without possible drama. PLUS Miami is always building hotels downtown (that's where the port of Miami is and the headquarters itself). Lot of detours and roadblocks which create traffic jams. You'll have to stand for awhile before embarkation starts, but at least you'll be there. The negative side is the long wait in the Miami sun. The lines inside do move quickly once they get started. Have fun and don't be surprised at anything you see!
Compared to where I live, a long wait in the Miami sun at the end of October is a positive thing. There isn't much that can shock me. I have went barhopping in New York City, and you see everything up there.
I think the best deal i could find gets us in to Miami at 9am. What is our best bet for transportation to the Port? Do i need to sign up for the shuttle in advance or is it a typical airport shuttle that will allow us to show up and pay?
The Miami airport has taxis specifically that take you straight to the port. Nowhere else. I use those because it's cheaper than the Carnival transfer. The transfer is more comfortable(a bus with air conditioning). But what the heck a taxi will get you there just as fast and it's cheaper. You may,however, want to check out the taxi rates as they may have changed. I think my brother and I payed a total of $26.00 ($13 pp) to get to the port of Miami. Here's another tip:
When you return from your trip, take the rental car shuttle(free) back to the rental car place. Then take another rental car shuttle back to the airport(free). If they ask you if you have a rental reservation tell" I better have one" or simply "yes". They really don't know if you do or don't and they don't ask for a printout of your reservation. Just get on like you do and save that taxi money. I did this last year on a whim just to see if it would work and it did. It's doesn't work GOING to the port, though.
just recently cruised out of Miami - well folks seems like everyone is now boarding early; not like it was a couple of years ago... from here on out I am going to get to the port after 12:30 pm; as it is really congested prior to that and dropping off the luggage; then parking is a nightmare... we were at the port at 11:30 am and didn't board until 1:00 pm; .....
Carnival Victory March 9, 2013
*carnival dream *
Glory 2/28/2010: Dina & Marty
Valor Feb 2009: Dina & Marty - again
Grandeur Feb 2008: DTW, Dina & Marty
Inspiration May 26, 2007
Fascination: Feb 2007
Enchantment of Seas: Sept 2006
Radiance of the Seas
Majesty of the Seas
The Big Red Boat
For some reason I just hate being at the mercy of someone else's schedule and their plan.
I agree, letting someone else dictate when I am leaving for the port bugs me, sure I can not control what time they let me in the terminal, but, I want to say when I leave to go to the port.
Yes, I am one of those that get there early. As in, I am there when they unlock the doors and allow arriving passengers to enter the termimal. I hate sitting at the hotel or in a resturant when I can sit in the terminal just as easily and feel that much closer to the ship and my cruise I am so impatiently waiting to start.
Just my opinion, neither right nor wrong, just mine.