Free Disabled Parking for Florida Cruises

We’re all for saving money on cruises. And if you are a disabled passenger with a handicap, you should know that you could save a lot of money on parking.

All of the cruise ports in Florida — Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Tampa, and Jacksonville — have very convenient on-site cruise parking lots. This parking puts you just steps away from you ship, but it comes at a high price. These lots charge between $15-20 per day! A 7-day cruise can run a bill of $140 for parking alone.

However, thanks to a Florida law parking for disabled guests can be free.

It is our understanding of the law that if one of the following criteria are met, then you are entitled to free parking:

  • Display a Florida Toll Exemption Permit
  • Vehicle is modified with specialized equipment such as ramps, lifts, or foot and hand controls for use by a disabled person
  • Display the “DV” license plate – Disabled Veteran

That said, there have been some questions and mix-ups regarding the law. For that reason, we HIGHLY suggest you contact the port ahead of time to discuss your situation and confirm you can park for free. We’ve listed contact information below.

One thing to note is that these rules require you to have modifications to your car, not just a disabled parking hangtag.

Port of Miami Free Disabled Parking

The Port of Miami has updated its rules as of November 2013. Now disabled parking is charged, unless the following requirement is met:

“In accordance with Florida Statute 316.1964, ONLY vehicles with specialized equipment such as ramps, lifts, foot or hand controls, for use by a person with a disability, or any vehicle that is displaying the “DV” license plate issued under s. 320.084 or the Florida Toll Exemption permit, is exempt from parking charges.”

To inquire if you will receive free parking, you can call the port at 305-347-5515.

Port Everglades Free Disabled Parking

At Port Everglades, cars must have one of the following criteria met in order to qualify for free parking:

  • Display a Florida Toll Exemption Permit as explained in Florida Statute 316.1964
  • Vehicle is modified with specialized equipment such as ramps, lifts, or foot and hand controls for use by a disabled person
  • Display the “DV” license plate – Disabled Veteran – issued under Florida Statue 320.084

Meanwhile, the process for parking is very detailed. This is from the port’s website:

“At the entry to the parking garage or surface lot, pull a parking ticket from the automated machine and get the attention of one of the parking agents in an adjacent exit booth. Advise that parking agent that you would like a disability waiver of parking. The parking agent will call for a parking supervisor to determine if the vehicle qualifies.

“Once the supervisor verifies that a waiver is allowable, the driver’s name, address and the registration number on the sticker, license plate or hanging tag will be recorded on the parking ticket and signed by the supervisor. The driver will be given the parking ticket and directed to enter the garage.

“Upon exit, the parking ticket will be surrendered to the parking attendant with all parking fees waived.”

You can contact the port directly at 954-468-3680

Port Canaveral Free Disabled Parking

Port Canaveral also follows the guideline that cars must be modified for disabled persons to be eligible for free parking. From its website:

“DISABLED PARKING spaces are available and the fee is waived for vehicles transporting
certain persons who have disabilities that:

  • Have special equipment, such as ramps, lifts, foot or hand controls for use by a disabled person;
  • Display a Florida Toll Exemption Permit as explained in s. 316.1964, Florida Statutes; and
  • Display a Disabled Veteran (DV) license plate issued under s. 320.084; s. 320.0842; or s. 320.0845, Florida Statutes.

“Parking agents will not grant parking waivers for any other reason than the ones listed above.”

You can reach the port for more details at 321-783-7831, ext. 327

Port of Tampa Free Disabled Parking

As with Port Canaveral and Port Everglades, handicapped guests must have some sort of modification to their vehicles. We called the port and confirmed that modifications are necessary.

Here’s what the port’s website previously said, although it appears to have been taken down:

“Tampa Port Authority follows the Florida State Statute, 316.1964, relating to handicap parking as such all customers are required to pay for parking unless their vehicle has modified foot or hand controls, wheelchair lift or ramp or has been issued a “Toll Exempt” sticker from the state of Florida. Vehicles utilizing our valet parking service do not receive any discounts.

“Should your vehicle meet the above noted criteria and is the vehicle being parked you will need to advise the parking staff on-site 24 hours a day, 7 days a week prior to making payment for parking.”

To call the Port of Tampa and ask about your status, dial 813-905-5072

Port of Jacksonville Free Disabled Parking

Just as with most other ports, a hangtag on your mirror isn’t enough to earn an exemption at the Jacksonville cruise port.

Here is what the cruise port’s website previously said, although it has since been removed.

“Exception to parking fee: Florida Statute allows cruise terminals to charge for handicapped parking, “except any vehicle with specialized equipment, such as ramps, lifts, or foot or hand controls, for use by a person who has a disability, or any vehicle that is displaying the Florida Toll Exemption permit, is exempt from parking fees”. (Per Florida Statute 316.1964)”

We recommend calling the port to ask about your specific parking at 904-357-3006

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