How to Get Free Parking For Your Cruise

When it comes to cruising, it can seem like there are extra charges everywhere you turn. From taxes and port fees, to cabin upgrades, to gratuities, to excursions, what you pay for get on the ship is just the start of what you’ll spend.

If you’re driving to the port, then one of those extra charges is parking. For most passengers, the parking charges they’ll face aren’t even on their radar, but these fees can be significant. The Port of Miami, for example, charges $20 per day to park. A week-long cruise costs you $140 for parking alone, before you even get on the ship.

There are some ways, however, that you can avoid these parking fees. We’ve rounded up some tips and information about getting free parking for your cruise so you can save some serious cash on your vacation.

Hotels With Free Cruise Parking

By far the most widely available method of getting free parking is to stay at a hotel offering the perk. Most people don’t realize it, but hotels desperate for tourist business will often throw in the benefit as a way to lure you to stay with them.

Hotels with free cruise parking are widely available in smaller cities that have cruise ports, such as Galveston, New Orleans, or Mobile. For larger cities like Miami or Seattle, there are still a few hotels with free parking, but it’s more common to just find discounted parking packages instead. Still, even a discount is better than paying full price to park your car on your vacation.

Now, if you don’t plan to stay the night before your cruise, then staying at a hotel just for the free parking usually isn’t going to be worth it. After all, you’ll have to pay for your night’s stay. But if you are planning to arrive early, then definitely look into hotels offering a parking package.

You can find hotels with parking packages at the links below. If you plan to stay somewhere else, simply give them a call and see if you can park your car during your stay.

Hotels with cruise parking:

Baltimore | Boston | Charleston | Ft. Lauderdale | Galveston | Jacksonville | Los Angeles | Miami | Mobile | New Orleans | New York | Port Canaveral | San Diego | Seattle | Tampa |

Free Cruise Parking For People With Disabilities

Have a disability? Then you could be eligible for free cruise parking. Several ports around the country offer free parking as a benefit to those with a disability.

Port of Charleston
If you are sailing from Charleston, cruise parking normally costs $17 per day, or $119 for a 7-day cruise. The port offers completely free parking if you are disabled, with a valid placard or license plate tag and your ID.

Ports of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Port Canaveral, & Jacksonville
Sailing from any port in Florida? Then your cruise parking can be free. A statute gives free parking to disabled passengers, but only if their vehicle is modified for use by someone with a disability — such as a ramp or hand controls. Simply having a handicapped placard or license plate is not enough to qualify for free parking. In Florida, you can also park for free at the official port lots if you have a Toll Exemption permit.

Free Cruise Parking for Disabled Veterans

Have you served our country and are now disabled? If you qualify as a disabled veteran, then many ports around the country will let you park for free.

Port of Galveston
The official Port of Galveston cruise parking lots provides one free parking space to those with “Disabled Veteran” status or Purple Heart recipients, as long as you show proof. Proof includes DD Form 214, award letter, or vehicle registration receipt showing the designation.

Ports of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Port Canaveral, & Jacksonville
Along with providing free parking to those who are disabled and drive modified vehicles, those driving cars with “DV” designation are also given free parking. Considering that rates can be as high as $20 per day, this is a huge discount on your trip.

If you plan to take advantage of free parking due to a disability or disabled veteran status, we highly recommend contacting the specific port ahead of time. They can answer any specific questions you might have while also laying out any requirements they have for getting your free parking.

Know of other ways to get free parking on your cruise? Let us know in the comments below.

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