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Florida Cruise FAQ

Sailing from Florida? Still have a thousand and one questions? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out the FAQ below for answers on everything from passports to alcohol to parking.

How do I get to the port?

We’ve put together information on port locations for every major cruise terminal in Florida. This includes addresses and directions for each. Simply click the link below to learn more.

Port of Miami | Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) | Port Canaveral |Port of TampaJacksonville Cruise Port

Where do I park for my cruise?

Each port in Florida offers many different parking options. The most expensive lots are typically those operated by the ports themselves, but which also offer the most convenience. For every cruise point we’ve rounded up your choices for parking. Just click on the links below to read more about parking for each.

Port of Miami Parking | Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) Parking | Port Canaveral ParkingPort of Tampa ParkingJacksonville Cruise Parking

Where can I stay near the cruise terminal?

If possible, we recommend spending an extra day or two in your departure city. This allows you more time to explore the cities themselves (which have much to offer) while also giving you a little extra time to avoid feeling rushed. We’ve rounded up the best options for hotels near the port across all budget levels.

Port of Miami Hotels | Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) Hotels | Port Canaveral HotelsPort of Tampa HotelsJacksonville Cruise Hotels

Do I need a passport to cruise?

passport

Although technically you may not need it, we highly recommend anyone cruising from Florida and visiting a foreign port have a valid passport no matter their age or circumstances. It will simply make things much easier.

That said, if you can’t (or won’t) get a passport for some reason, there is a possibility for you to still cruise. The United Stats is part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WTHI). Passengers leaving from and returning to the same port — called a “closed-loop cruise” can usually travel with only a birth certificate and government-issued photo ID. Here are the specifics from the government’s website on the topic:

“U.S. citizens who board a cruise ship at a port within the United States, travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship may present a government issued photo identification, along with proof of citizenship (an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization). Please be aware that you may still be required to present a passport to enter the foreign countries your cruise ship is visiting. Check with your cruise line to ensure you have the appropriate documents.”

We think that sounds like a lot of trouble. Get a passport and make sure it’s valid for at least six months after your departure date. You can’t put a price on peace of mind.

Can I bring alcohol on my cruise?

The easy answer is that it depends on your cruise line. Just about all lines allow some small amount of alcohol to be brought on board. So while that bottle of wine or champagne is usually ok, the fifth of Jack Daniels is almost always a no-go.

For more information, we encourage you to check out our page on alcohol policies for cruise lines here.

Can I smoke while on the ship?

Cruise lines allow you to smoke, but usually only in designated areas. Smoking is almost never allowed inside the ship, except for casinos and some bars. Smoking is also prohibited in cabins, although sometimes allow on balconies. For more on specific cruise lines smoking policies, click this link.

What are the rules on luggage? How much can I bring?

luggage

One thing to make clear — cruise lines are not the same as airlines. You won’t be charged for the amount of luggage that you bring. There are also no real restrictions on the amount of bags that you can bring (within reason).

That said, the cruise lines do encourage people to pack reasonably — meaning two bags or fewer. Meanwhile, common sense dictates that you don’t want to bring more luggage than you can easily handle yourself as you will have to carry it to and from the ship.

For more specifics on luggage rules and restrictions, visit this page.

When should I arrive for my cruise?

Cruise lines will give you an “embarkation window” — a time period for you to board. Usually this time period is three or four hours. While it’s important to board well before the cruise departs, we actually suggest waiting until about an hour before the close of the embarkation window to board the ship. By then the majority of people will have already boarded, meaning a much smoother boarding process with less waiting.

For more details, visit this link.

How can I stay in touch while on my cruise? (Internet/Phone)

Staying in touch while at sea is easy… but it’s not always cheap. Internet is available on all ships, and most also offer wireless service. Meanwhile, your cell phone will work while on the cruise, but expect to be charged $2.50 or more per minute.

For more on using Internet at sea, click here. For more on using your cell phone on a cruise, click here.