Port Canaveral is not the most conveniently located cruise port for those flying into Florida. Despite being located about 45 miles from Orlando International Airport, several options do exist to ensure you arrive to the ship on time for your cruise. If you are not sure which mode of transportation is best for your next vacation, we compare all of the options in this post. See which transportation service tops our list of the best ways to get from Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral.
Best Ways to Get From Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral
Cruise Line Transfers
Perhaps the easiest way to get from the Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral is to book a cruise line transfer. You can purchase the transfer pre-cruise either online or through a travel agent. Once at the airport, a cruise line representative will greet you at baggage claim and escort you and your luggage to the check-in area. After checking-in, you will board the next bus to the ship. One downside of taking the cruise line transfer is having to wait around the airport as the buses run on a set schedule. We have been stuck waiting for 40 minutes or more on past occasions.
Disney Cruise Line Has Its Own Fleet of Motorcoaches
Also, these transfers are not exactly cheap, running between $35-$40 a person, one-way. So, for a family of four, it can cost over $150 to take the cruise line transfer. However, if you prefer convenience, the cruise line shuttle is not a bad option. Once you arrive at the pier, your luggage will be taken care of for you, so all you need to do is head in to the terminal for the check-in process.
Independent Shuttle Services
There are several shuttle services that run from the Orlando Airport that will take you to the Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal. These services tend to be cheaper. For example, Contrans Shuttle Service charges only $20 a person, one-way. Another popular shuttle service is Cocoa Beach Shuttle which offers transport for around $20 a person for a family of four. Shuttles from Go Port Canaveral cost about $15 a person and run hourly from 9am to 1pm. Of course, there are a variety of other providers as well, including Stylus Transportation and Super Shuttle. Most of these shuttle services offer smaller vehicles than a large bus, and they are located right at the airport and cruise terminal for arrivals and departures. Still, they are a shared service and also run on a set schedule.
Courtesy of SuperShuttle International
Large groups can often get a group rate or reserve a private shuttle. If you have issues with a reservation or a problem getting to the port, you will have to deal directly with the shuttle service. This is especially true if you come in late and are worried about getting to the ship on time. If there are any delays that cause you to miss the embarkation, then it is up to you to get to the ship’s next port.
If sharing is not your idea of being on vacation, we understand. There are several reputable companies from which you can reserve a private vehicle that will pick you up at the airport. The drivers will assist with your bags, make sure the A/C is pumping, and whisk you away to the cruise terminal. Several companies offer such services, including Mears Transportation and VIP Express Limo.
Your Private Car Awaits
When reserving one of these private services, be sure to get a price quote that includes all tolls, airport fees and charges, and gratuities. Some companies will quote a very low price but then tack on all of these additional costs once you arrive. All said and done, depending on the type of car you reserve, it will probably cost you between $125 and $200 each way. For a family of four, this is around the same cost as the cruise line’s transfers. For a couple, these costs are probably not worth itt when compared to other options.
Shared Ride Services
Shared ride services are popping up everywhere. We have been using them for the past few years when cruising from all ports in Florida. Popular apps like Uber and Lyft are allowed to pick-up/drop-off passengers at both the airport and the cruise port. The cost of using these services varies base on the type of vehicle you choose. An UberX, which should have enough room for two people and all your luggage, will run between $50-$65 from Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral. A family of four and all your luggage will probably need a larger vehicle. One of these UberXLs will costs between $77-$97.
Uber Has Become a Popular Mode of Transportation From Major Airports
The upside to using Uber is that your private car will pull right up to the airport and drop you off right in front of the cruise terminal. But, the one issue with this mode of transportation is quality control. We have had some great and some not so great Uber drivers. Depending on the driver, you might have to load your own luggage into the vehicle. Also, you can’t reserve a car in advance, so you might have to wait a few minutes for the vehicle to arrive. Our experience has been less than 10 minutes though.
Renting a Car
Technically, you can also rent a car and drive to Port Canaveral. You can usually get a great deal on a car from the airport. Using your automobile club or similar association, you can often reserve a midsize car, which will seat four and your luggage, for about $50. The benefit here is that you can make a pit stop at a local grocery store to grab some bottled water or anything else you may have forgotten. There is a car rental office only a few miles from the cruise terminal with shuttles running back and forth to Port Canaveral throughout the day.
Renting a Car at the Airport Might Be the Best Option (Courtesy of MCO)
When you factor in gas and cost for the car, it still works out to be cheaper than a private car, especially for a family of four. There is also the added bonus of being able to travel at your own pace. If you are arriving to Florida the day before your cruise, renting a car at the airport might be the best option, as you can explore the local area before hopping on your cruise ship.
Choosing The Right Mode of Transportation to the Cruise Port
Deciding which form of transportation to take from Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral depends on several factors. Couples or those who don’t like to wait will probably find a shared ride service to be the best option. Small parties or those looking to save money will probably opt for a transfer from a third party company or a rental car. Those travelers looking for shear convenience might be best just sticking with the cruise line’s offered transportation; whereas, luxury travelers might be best served with a private car. If you are traveling with a large party, you might want to reserve a private shuttle. Either way, knowing your options can help you can make an informed decision for your next cruise from Port Canaveral.
What is your preferred method of transportation from the Orlando Airport to Port Canaveral? Which of these services have you used in the past? Drop us an anchor below with your suggestions and tips for this long haul to the cruise terminal.