Port of Departure Miami, Florida
The Port of Miami - 'Liberty of the Seas' at berth. In the foreground runs the MacArthur Causeway.
Miami, Cruise Capital of the World
Miami is situated on the mainland of Florida. To the east offshore, there is a chain of barrier islands. The most southerly of the islands is Key Biscayne. Traveling north the next is Virginia Key, followed by Fisher Island, and finally comes Miami Beach. The bay between the islands and the mainland is named Biscayne Bay. Miami was founded as a tiny citrus fruit farming community. But when a railway was extended to the settlement, its pleasant climate and coastal position were a popular draw to incomers, and as a consequence the town grew quickly.
In the early part of the twentieth century hotel magnates saw the possibilities in the Atlantic Ocean beaches of Miami Beach, and so began the construction of the iconic Art Deco hotels in South Beach. The storms of 1929 resulted in huge damage to the area, but after a pause of repair and reconstruction new developments sprung up as quickly as before.
In the 1960s there was a huge migration into Miami of Cuban refugees who were fleeing the government of Fidel Castro. Slowly Miami assumed the feel of a Caribbean city, with cheerful energy mixed with a laid-back vibe.
Today Miami is an international hub for entertainment, business, tourism and culture. The port is a huge center and Miami is often described as the Cruise Capital of the World. The port hosts several major cruiselines, with cruises to the beautiful Caribbean or sometimes beyond. Today the number of cruises from Miami on offer each year is well over seven hundred and fifty.
Miami Cruise Ship Terminals
Miami Cruise Port is sited at Dodge Island, a piece of reclaimed land in Biscayne Bay created by the joining of 3 islands, Sam’s, Lummus and Dodge. Dodge Island is just 2 miles from downtown Miami. Port Boulevard, a bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, links Dodge island to the city.
The port operates 8 cruise terminals. Terminals B/C, D, E , F , G are positioned at the north side of Dodge island, terminal H on the west, and terminal J on the south. Container vessels berth along the south of Dodge island. The combined distance end-to-end of all cruise ship docks is around 2200 meters, and eight big cruiseliners can dock simultaneously.
Every cruise terminal has the basic amenities, such as shops, cab ranks, bars, check in and cafes.
Cruise terminals D and E, which began operations in 2007, are the most modern. They are able to host the new breed of mega cruise ships. A wider range of services is available at cruise terminals D and E including airline like check-in desks, conveyor-belt style luggage processing, and an all-in-one Multi-Agency Facility, with US Customs and Border Protection, US Department of Agriculture and Immigration Office.
Cruise Terminal J has been upgraded into a 'boutique' facility to service the mid-size ships operating in the luxury market.
Parking is convenient at facilities situated in front of individual cruise terminals. Reservations are not required.
Cruises From Miami
Miami is home to some of the world's most distinguished cruiselines, including Azamara Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, and Oceania Cruises.
Between them, these companies offer a great choice of cruises from Miami including the Eastern Caribbean (Tortola, St Thomas, St Maarten and San Juan), the Western Caribbean (Roatan, Belize, Cozumel and Grand Cayman), the Bahamas (Nassau and Freeport), and the Southern Caribbean (St Johns, St Kitts and Barbados). More extended trips are also availalbe like trans-Panama canal to the west coast of the US, or voyages further south to South America and the Amazon.
Out and About in Miami
South Beach (widely known as SoBe)
South Beach, a well-known Art Deco era seafront district has everything, laid-back cafes, boutique shops, fine eateries, wonderful people-watching, gorgeous historic hotels, a long, wide beach and funky shops. SoBe is just a 20 minutes cab ride from the cruise port.
Coral Gables was built in the 1920s, and here there’s a mix of cool bars, classy eateries, fashionable shops and modern art galleries. Take swimsuit and make for Venetian Pool, a unique public pool hewn from a rock quarry.
Coconut Grove, dating from the 1870s, is Miami’s oldest district. It is a neighborhood of fashionable shops, lively bars, eateries and chic galleries. Venture into Vizcaya Gardens and Museum, a superb estate commissioned by a businessman with the aim of reconstructing an Italian Renaissance-era property.
Fairchild Tropical Garden
Garden enthusiasts should make time to see Fairchild Tropical Garden, where a series of large ponds wind through verdant fauna and flora.
For a sample of today’s Cuban lifestyle, venture into Little Havana, the district where lots of migrant Cubans fled to after getting away from their homeland. Saunter the length of the main street Calle Ocho, check out cigars being rolled at the El Credito Cigar factory, tour the Cuban Museum and visit a bar for a taste of real Cuban coffee.
It’s a short walk from the port to Bayside Marketplace, a popular shopping mall. The mall is open air, so can be very hot in summer. It has lots of cafes, fashion stores, tourist stalls and eateries.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is located at the southern end of Key Biscayne barrier island. It is the home of a historic lighthouse originally constructed in 1825 then rebuilt in 1846. There's lots to do at the park including surfing, sunbathing, picnicing, swimming and hiking along over a mile of sandy Atlantic coastline.
Traveling To Miami's Port
Cruises from Miami are easily accessible, thanks to its good air and road links.
From the North
Follow I-95 south and leave at 3B Bayside. Make south and turn left at 5th Street. 5th Street crosses Port Boulevard bridge. Keep going over the bridge and follow signs to designated terminal.
From the South
Take I-95 in a northerly direction and exit at NW 2nd Street. Carry on to NW 5th Street and make a right. 5th Street crosses Port Boulevard bridge. Continue across the bridge and follow the signage to the required terminal.
A courtesy minibus is in operation to ferry you from the car park to your cruise terminal.
The port of Miami is 6 miles of Miami International Airport. To travel from airport to cruise port, catch a taxi or catch the shared-ride blue supershuttle bus.
Cruise Port Map (click on image for larger image)
Port Authority Miami Dade County
Port Website Port of Miami
Current Marine Traffic Miami Marine Traffic
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Cruises From Miami, Florida