When it comes to the popularity of a starting point for a cruise, it’s hard to beat Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
With about 4 million cruise passengers each year, Port Everglades comes in as the third-busiest port in Florida (behind Miami and Port Canaveral), which also means its the third-busiest cruise port in the world.
Spread out a bit more than the Port of Miami, it can be a bit confusing to navigate the port if you’re a first-timer or if you simply haven’t sailed from there in a while. Not to worry, our guide below will give you all the details you need to know to sail from the South Florida port.
- Distance from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport: 3 miles | 10 minutes
- Distance from Miami Airport: 30 miles | 35-55 minutes
- Number of Terminals: 9
- Passengers Carried Each Year: 4 million
- Cruise Ship Dockings Each Year: 650+
Port Everglades Location
When it comes to convenience, it’s hard to beat the location of Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Sitting right at the edge of the Atlantic, ships can leave from the port and be in the open water in a matter of minutes.
Meanwhile, the port is also extremely close to the Fort Lauderdale airport. The airport is just 3 miles away, or about 10 minutes. In other words you can fly in and be at your ship within an hour — even accounting for getting off the plane and getting to your ride.
If you are driving to the port, the address is:
1850 Eller Drive
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316
Of course, while many people fly in and head directly to the cruise port, the entire South Florida region is a tourist destination. Therefore, you may be coming to the port from somewhere other than the airport. In that case, here’s the distance and mileage from several points of interest in the area:
- Fort Lauderdale Airport: 3 miles | 10 minutes
- Miami Airport: 30 miles | 35-55 minutes
- South Beach: 30 miles | 40-60 minutes
- Las Olas: 4.5 miles | 15 minutes
- Seminole Hard Rock Casino: 8 miles | 15-20 minutes
- Hollywood: 7 miles | 20 minutes
- Boca Raton: 25 miles | 30 minutes
Things to Do Near the Port
As we mentioned, South Florida and Fort Lauderdale are known for their tourism. That means there’s quite a lot to do within a short drive of the cruise terminals. Here is just a sample of things going on in the area…
Seminole Hard Rock Casino
Gambling on a cruise ship is always a popular pastime, but you don’t have to wait until you get to the ship in order to try your luck. The Seminole Hard Rock Casino is about 20 minutes from Port Everglades and is the largest and nicest casino in the area. Try your hand at any number of games in the massive gaming area. Also, there’s no missing the casino. They’ve recently built a massive guitar-shaped hotel as an addition that can be seen for miles around.
Las Olas Beach
Fort Lauderdale’s beaches are some of the nicest in the world and the heart of the beach is Las Olas. Just north of the port, it’s a large, wide white-sand beach with lots of facilities and lined with restaurants and shops. Even if you don’t go to the beach, it’s a good idea to at least take a stroll on the waterfront to get a feel for what Fort Lauderdale has to offer.
Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi
This area is unique due to the number of canals and waterways that run inland. In fact, there are so many that water taxis run circuits around Fort Lauderdale. It’s more than just a unique way to get around the city. For about $30 a person, you can hop on and hop off as you please as you get a chance to see huge houses, even larger yachts, and learn about the area. It’s a great way to get a tour of the city in a memorable way.
Port Everglades Cruise Terminals
The cruise terminals at Port Everglades are spread out compared to many other ports like Miami. There are two distinct regions — Northport and Midport. Northport is comprised of Terminals 1, 2, & 4. Midport consists of Terminals 18,19, 21, 25, 26, & 29. Given the higher number of terminals, most people cruise from Midport facilities.
If you’re headed out on a traditional cruise, then you likely won’t be at Terminal 1. Located at the most northern end of the cruise port, it’s usually used for ferry service to the Bahamas.
Recently renovated, Terminal 2 is home to Princess Cruises. One of the unique features of the terminal is that it’s setup for Princess’ Ocean Medallion service, which is a wearable device that can replace your room keycard. The terminal offers 85,000 square feet of space, including about 20,000 square feet for passenger waiting, so you should never feel cramped.
The last cruise terminal in the Northport area right next to the Convention Center, Terminal 4 can accommodate ships up to about 900 feet. The terminal was updated in 2015 with a $24 million renovation. It often serves Carnival ships.
Sailing on Royal Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale? There’s a good chance you’ll sail from Terminal 18. It’s the main Royal Caribbean terminal and serves the largest ships in the cruise line’s fleet (Oasis-class vessels). As with all the terminals, there are parking options right nearby.
Sitting on the south edge of Midport, Terminal 19 offers 1,300′ of berth and a cruise terminal that’s nearly 100,000 square feet. There’s tons of parking within walking distance. Given the location right next to Terminal 18, there’s also a good chance that one of the world’s largest cruise ships will be right next to your ship on cruise day.
In the “U”-shaped cove in the port with Terminals 18 & 19, Terminal 21 is on the eastern edge of the port. Like other terminals in the port, it offers a huge amount of space, including nearly 1,500′ of berth space and 50 check-in stations to make things as quick as possible to get on the ship.
There’s been a recent trend toward cruise lines building spectacular modern terminals and Terminal 25 fits the bill for Celebrity Cruises. As home to Celebrity Edge — the fleet’s most modern ship — Port Everglades has a sleek terminal to go along with that ship.
Toward the southern end of the port, Terminal 26 is perhaps the easiest terminal to get to. It’s right along the entrance road at the port. Parking is available at the Midport Garage, right across the street from the cruise terminal.
Terminal 29 is a bit out of the way from the other terminals at the southernmost end of the cruise port facilities. It’s a bit older terminal, but still perfect for getting on the ship. One issue is that the official port parking garage is a bit of a trek from here. You’ll want to park and then take the free shuttle to the terminal.
Hotels Near the Port
Once again, the location of Port Everglades offers a big advantage for cruise passengers. Sitting right near the airport and near A1A that runs along the beach, there are a number of hotels that are within just minutes of the port.
Even better news is that given the popularity of cruising from Fort Lauderdale, the hotels in the area cater to cruise passengers. A number of them offer up perks like cruise parking or shuttles to the cruise port.
As a rule of thumb, the hotels that are away from the beach typically have better prices and more benefits to attract cruisers. Those mega hotels right on the water usually make you pay dearly to park and often have resort fees as well. Look for hotels near the airport or those within walking distance of the port for the best deals.
Hotels near the port:
- Crowne Plaza Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise
- Four Points by Sheraton Airport/Cruise Port
- Hyatt Place 17th Street Convention Center
Hotels near the airport (usually less expensive):
- Best Western Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruise Port
- SpringHill Suites Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port
- Hampton Inn & Suites Ft. Lauderdale Airport/South Cruise Port
Getting to Port Everglades (Transportation)
Given the location of the port, getting there is a breeze, especially if you are flying in. But even if you live in the area and plan on driving, you can still easily get to your ship and park at the port. We’ve covered all the ways to get to your cruise with our port transportation article. Below we have the highlights on the most popular ways to get to Port Everglades.
Driving to Port Everglades
If you are already in South Florida, then you can simply drive to the port. One thing that you’ll need to keep in mind is if you are sailing from Northport (Terminals 1, 2, or 4) or from Midport (Terminals 18-29). Depending on your cruise terminal, you want to use a different entrance to get into the port so that you can get to your ship faster.
The good news is that parking at any cruise terminal in Port Everglades is convenient and easy. Each terminal has a nearby parking area, typically a garage. Compared to other ports, parking is also relatively cheap. It costs $15 per day to park at Port Everglades. Compare that to the $22 you’ll pay at the Port of Miami.
Flying into Fort Lauderdale or Miami? Or maybe you just don’t want to deal with driving? Uber and Lyft are convenient options to the port. They offer service in both Miami or Fort Lauderdale (including airports), so no matter where you are, you can get a ride. We’ve estimated the cost of a ride from certain points of interest below. Keep in mind that these rates are for the entire car, not per person.
- Fort Lauderdale Airport: $15
- Miami Airport: $41
- South Beach: $40
- Las Olas: $13
- Seminole Hard Rock Casino: $15
- Hollywood: $13
- Boca Raton: $34
Are you more “old school”? Cabs are abundant all throughout South Florida to get you to Port Everglades. In general the estimated fares are higher than you’ll find with Uber and Lyft. Still, some people prefer to take a cab to the port. Here are the estimated fares from points around the area.
- Fort Lauderdale Airport: $17
- Miami Airport: $73
- South Beach: $73
- Las Olas: $11
- Seminole Hard Rock Casino: $27
- Hollywood: $23
- Boca Raton: $65
If you plan to stay in a hotel the night before your cruise, then look for a hotel that offers a shuttle to the cruise port. It’s an extra perk that’s great to have on cruise day. While some hotels offer rides for free, usually you will pay a nominal fee for the service. Even with a charge, it’s an affordable way to the port. See our full list of Port Everglades hotels with cruise shuttles.
Want to know more details about all your transportation options to Port Everglades? See our complete article on getting to the port.
Parking For Your Cruise
If you’re driving into Fort Lauderdale to cruise, then you’re going to need a spot to park your car. Fortunately there’s an entire industry surrounding cruise parking in Fort Lauderdale. We have all your options on our Port Everglades cruise parking page here. Below, we have general information regarding your parking options.
Parking at the Port
By far the easiest and most convenient spot to park is at the port. Port Everglades has multiple parking facilities near the cruise terminals, giving you the ability to park right at your cruise ship. That means you can drive and arrive when you want, and then head home the second you get off the ship. Given the number of parking spots at the port, you don’t have to reserve a spot ahead of time. Simply show up on cruise day and park.
Parking at the port runs $15 per day for most vehicles. Have an oversized vehicle that doesn’t fit in a normal parking space? In that case, you’ll pay $19 per day.
Frankly, the official parking at Port Everglades is relatively cheap. For instance, Port Canaveral charges $17 per day to cruise passengers and Miami charges $22 per day.
If you are a disabled cruise passenger, then you might be able to park for free at the port. Florida laws allow for free parking if you meet requirements such as having a Florida Toll Exemption Permit, car modifications such as hand or foot controls, ramps, and lifts, and/or a Florida Disabled Veteran license plate. If you think you might meet one of these requirements, contact the port at 954-523-3404 to learn how to park for free. It’s a great way to save some cash.
Independent Parking Lots
As is the case in most port cities, there are independent lots near the cruise port. While these lots aren’t as convenient as parking right at the ship, they have the advantage of being cheaper. Plus, the lots will have shuttles to take you right to the ship. So if you don’t need to park right at the ship and don’t mind an extra 10 minutes to get to the ship, you can save significantly. Rates for independent lots run $7 to $12 per day.
Hotels with Cruise Parking
As we mentioned earlier, there is no shortage of hotels in the area offering perks to cruise passengers. Hotels range from those that are literally walking distance to the port to the popular “Marina Mile” (which is a straight shot to the terminals) to spots around the airport. No matter where you want to stay and how much you want to spend, you’ll find a hotel that caters to cruise passengers by offering cruise parking.
Sometimes this parking is included with a one night’s stay, other times you will need to book a parking package. Still other hotels charge a few bucks a day to park. For full details and a list of hotels, see our Fort Lauderdale hotels with cruise parking page.
Dropping Off/Picking Up Passengers
If you’re a cruise passenger, it doesn’t get any easier than letting someone else worry about the driving and simply being dropped off or picked up after your cruise.
Unlike some other ports, Port Everglades has security checkpoints where those 18 years or older need to show identification to get into the terminal area. Just be ready as you approach the checkpoint at the entrance to the port to make the line go faster.
Once inside the port, you’ll want to follow the signage to the appropriate cruise terminal for the ship. Keep in mind that there are a number of twists and turns in order to get around with so many terminals in a relatively small space. Meanwhile if there are lots of ships in port, navigating can be stressful. It might be helpful to have one person navigate so the driver can focus on the road.
As you approach the port, you’ll see the signs for the passenger drop-off and pick-up areas. Pull up to the appropriate spot and you’ll be able to unload and load passengers.
Before you can get onto the ship, you have to check in and pass through security. The good news is that it’s no big deal and in most cases can be done in 15 minutes or less.
When to Arrive
These days there are two different ways that cruise lines approach the check-in process, and that has an impact on when you should arrive to the port on embarkation day.
First, many cruise lines (including Carnival) have moved to “staggered check-in.” This type of check-in gives you a 30-minute assigned window on when to arrive. While the ship might board from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., you might be asked to arrive between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Staggered check-in reduces crowds right at the start time of boarding, making the whole process smoother.
If you are assigned a check-in time, then you should aim to arrive at that time. Don’t arrive early.
The second method is the classic boarding window. So the ship will board between hours such as 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Passengers can arrive at any time in this window. If this is how your ship boards, we suggest actually arriving later in the boarding window. There is often a rush of passengers right at the start of boarding — and the ship may not be ready to accept passengers. In other words, if you don’t want the possibility of having to wait around to board, then arrive later in the window.
Cruise security is somewhat similar to that of an airport, but much less stressful. As you arrive, you’ll show your ID and boarding documents to make sure you are supposed to be on the ship. Then, you’ll put your bag through an x-ray machine as you walk through a metal detector. There’s no need to remove things like liquids from your luggage, nor do you need to remove shoes, belts, or laptops.
From there, you’ll head to check-in.
Some cruise lines have moved to allow passengers to check in online ahead of time. If you choose to do this, you’ll board with your boarding documents but be able to skip the traditional check-in lines. Your cabin keycard will be in a sealed envelope at your cabin door.
If you check-in the traditional way, you’ll stand in line and wait for an open check-in agent. Many terminals at Port Everglades have 50 check-in stations, so the line moves quickly. Here you will assign a payment method for your onboard account, get your room key, and then board the ship. Your time with an agent will only take a few minutes and then you’ll be ready to start your cruise.
One of oddest things you’ll notice on your cruise is that everyone can’t wait to board the ship when you depart, but are just as eager to get off the ship when it gets back home.
When you debark, you can have the option of setting large bags outside the cabin the night before. The crew will pick them up and deliver the bags to the terminal for you. In this case you’ll need to wait until your debarkation group is told it’s time to get off the ship.
Instead, many people choose to carry all of their bags with them. The advantage is that this “self debarkation” group is the first group allowed off the ship. But since so many people choose the option, it can still be some time before you get off the vessel.
Once off the ship, you will be steered to the arrival hall where you will pick up your luggage (if you have it) and then head through customs to be admitted back into the United States. Port Everglades has both Global Entry and the Mobile Passport app, which can help you get through the lines more quickly.
Once through the CBP checkpoint, you’ll exit the terminal and find your transportation back to your hotel, airport, or home.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Time Should I Schedule My Flight Home?
Fort Lauderdale has a big advantage over many other cruise ports in that it’s literally just a few minutes from the airport. If you are flying from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, you can get from the port to the airport in 10 minutes. If you are flying from Miami, however, expect the ride to take at least 35 minutes, and upwards of an hour in heavy traffic.
Cruise ships arrive back to port early in the morning (6-7 a.m.) and debarking can take 2-3 hours from then. That gets you off the ship anywhere from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. in most cases. For that reason, we’d suggest the earliest to schedule your flight is 11 a.m. if flying from Fort Lauderdale. Flying out at noon gives you even more breathing room.
If departing Miami, then we’d suggest noon at the very earliest, but that would be cutting it close. Flying out after 1 p.m. would be ideal to give you enough time to get off the ship, get to the airport, and get through security.
What Ships Will Be in Port of Cruise Day?
It’s always neat to see the other ships in port. Curious what other liners you will see when you sail away or get back? Check out Crew-Center.com. They have schedules for all the ports and you can see what mega ships you’ll see while docked in Fort Lauderdale.
Are Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale the Same Thing?
While we’ve used Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale interchangeably, they are not actually one in the same. Fort Lauderdale is the city where Port Everglades is located. Meanwhile, the port itself is named Port Everglades. Don’t worry, many people use the names to mean the same thing.